Its Spring! Time for Summer Turf Transition

summer turf transition

Spring has sprung! As temperatures continue to rise, you may begin to notice your lawn changing color, yet again. This color change is one of the toughest tasks for landscape contractors to do, as it can delay the transition to healthy, green grass. The reason for this delay is that when people see color change, they chalk it up to being a sign of water distress, thus increasing watering time or frequency – which can make it more difficult to transition back to your summer turf: Bermuda grass.

With Bermuda grass, like so many things in life, preparation is key if you want healthy and green grass! While many property and community managers understand the process of transition and scalping to ensure a great winter lawn, many others do not accept or understand the importance of a transition period from a winter lawn to your summer turf. It takes, on average, 4 to 8 weeks to see a lush lawn in the summer months, which is why it’s important to start the transition now.

These simple steps will help you transition your lawn smoothly and more effectively.

  • The transition typically occurs in May when soil temperatures consistently stay above 65 degrees. The transition to summer turf often occurs sooner than this for residents throughout the Phoenix Metropolitan area.
  • The turf area should be aerated prior to the transition. Aeration is fundamental in allowing water and air to penetrate the Bermuda root zone.
  • The most important part of this process is to reduce or eliminate competition for the Bermuda grass. This means getting rids of any weeds. It also means reducing the competitive winter rye, which is designed for longevity. By doing this, the soil temperatures can be increased and accelerate growth of the summer turf.

There are various ways to eliminate weeds and winter rye from your lawn. For this reason, it’s best to discuss these processes with your community or property manager, prior to initiation.

  • Reduce the amount of water when the temperatures begin to rise. This will kill the winter rye. However, this method is not effective at ensuring your summer turf gets enough water to penetrate its roots.
  • Scalp the winter rye. By lowering the mower and cutting the winter turf down, you increase the amount of sunlight that hits the soil to raise its temperature.
  • Kill off the winter rye by using chemical-based applications designed for just this very reason. Skilled landscapers can aid you in selecting an herbicide that won’t harm the Bermuda grass you’re transitioning to.
  • Once again, the most important part of this process is to reduce or eliminate the competition. Once the winter rye has been killed by whatever process you and your landscaper see fit, the turf will then need to be dethatched, which remove the dead rye. This restores the penetration of air and water.

By following these steps, you have increased your chances for a healthy and disease free summer turf area. Contact Elite Landscaping and Sprinkler Repair at (602) 390-4645 for more information on making the transition from winter grass to summer grass.

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