We’re heading toward the end of summer which means our lawn care crews are preparing for winter overseeding in Phoenix, Arizona. The general rule is to start planting around October 1st (average nighttime temps of 60 degrees) and you want to have all overseeding done before the November 1st.
Doing the overseeding too soon can cause bermuda to grow with the rye seed and you will see more of the dormant grass mixed in with the beautiful rye grass of the winter months.
Late planting can cause the germination process to take much longer, especially when the night time temperature starts to hit 40-50 degrees at night. Here are some other keys and the actual process to planting.
Process of Overseeding
Start with a quality perennial rye blend at your local nursery or home improvement store. Annual rye seed is very inexpensive compared to the perennial but the annual seed produces a thicker blade of grass that holds more water and causes the lawn to clump up when mowing and also creates more green stains on the sidewalks that the thinner perennial rye blend of winter rye.
You will need 1 lb of seed per 100 square feet of lawn to cover your current yard and you should get a little extra for filling bare areas 2-3 weeks after planting. You can also get a few bags of mulch topper if you want to speed up the process of the lawn, but it is not required to get a nice looking winter lawn.
The first step is scalping and thatching the current lawn usually after turning your water off for about a week to start the dormant process and to make it easier to scalp the lawn.
Thatching is vital if you have a layer of thatch on the soil preventing the the new seed from the surface of the yard. This is important because the seed will not germinate on thatch (thatch is usually a layer of grass clippings that sometimes collect at the base of the lawn).
Using a broadcast spreader to evenly spread the seed over the lawn is very helpful and if you use mulch topper you will want to make the layer of mulch very thin not to make it difficult for the seed to pop up through the layer of topsoil.
The last step is the watering schedule. Depending on the type of sprinkler heads you have on your lawn you will need to water 5-15 minute cycles 3 times per day (during the day around 8am, noon, & 4pm) in order to keep the seed moist for at least 2 weeks during the germination process.
Most pop up stationary sprinkler heads will only require 5 minute run times so that you do not get too much puddling but still enough to keep seed moist during the daytime.
Rotor heads or heads that rotate to spread the watering around will require a longer run cycle like 15 minutes.
Sometimes full shade areas will start to collect water and not absorb in the soil. During these special circumstance you will want to decrease the water even more and just monitor it in these areas.
After the 2 weeks of watering you should start to see all the seed popping up, this is when I use the extra seed to fill in bare areas and water for another week 3 times daily. This helps fill in the bare areas and gives the new grass lots of water to grow quickly and fill in the yard.
Lawn mowing is usually needed 4 weeks after planting unless mulch was used, in which you will want to mow it after week 3. After mowing you can decrease the water to 3 times weekly for about 8-20 minutes depending on the type of sprinkler heads on the property.
These watering schedules are just an approximate and you can adjust them to your liking after you are pleased with the results.
Please feel free to contact AMS Landscaping at 602-944-0421 for any advice or if you wish to get an estimate to do this process for you.