Soil Amendments for Your Arizona Lawn

July 20th, 2017

Struggling to keep your Arizona lawn looking healthy and green? You’re not alone. Desert soil can be tricky when it comes to maintaining a beautiful yard year-round. Learn when and why you should consider a fertilizer to promote healthy growth.

Struggling to keep your Arizona lawn looking healthy and green? Desert soil can be tricky when it comes to maintaining a beautiful yard. Learn when and why you should use fertilizer

Signs you should fertilize your lawn

  1. You live in Arizona! The truth is, certain regions in the southwest are problematic due to harsh weather and a lack of abundant nutrients in the soil.
  2. Your backyard contains high levels of clay. Clay soil can be rock hard to the touch as you might imagine, making it difficult for new vegetation to penetrate through caliche, its upper layer. When clay contracts and expands between extremely dry heat and moisture from monsoon rains, respectively, it can be difficult to maintain the kind of consistency needed for seasonal growth. Further, the alkaline in clay is largely responsible for iron deficiencies that lead to discolored lawns.
  3. The weather is colder or wetter than usual. Always follow the instructions for your specific fertilizer type, but know that certain factors such as heavy rainfall can affect the timing of your application. Save money by fertilizing just before a light rain (as it saves on your water bill) and not fertilizing before heavy rains as the fertilizer will just run off the yard.

Types of fertilizer

The three main types of fertilizer are:

  • Organic
  • Water-soluble
  • Synthetic

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the main nutrients found in fertilizers and marked by their percentage to the overall composition. Nitrogen is what gives the grass its vibrant green color while phosphorous and potassium are responsible for early establishment and growth and the ability to use nitrogen, respectively.

Check out our Nutrition page for more information on fertilization.

Alternative Soil Amendments

Consider organic fertilizer such as composted turkey litter, chicken litter, or steer manure as all provide a great source of organic nitrogen, phosphorus, and microbial stimulants. These can be found in most garden stores as well as local chicken and egg family farms that sell organic litter products.

When to fertilize

Generally, complete fertilizers are best any time of year; however, you should consult a professional landscaper for an analysis if there’s any doubt as to what materials are required for your lawn. You can also conduct a personal pH test of the soil to determine what nutrients are needed.

When transitioning your lawn from winter into a spring or summer yard, apply fertilizer at a half-rate around the first part of May. Less is often more so as not to burn your lawn. If you apply full-rate fertilizer, the rye grass will grow too much causing an unhealthy and unsightly yard. Use full-rate fertilizer in June when Bermuda grass is really growing strong.

For more information on how to properly care for your Arizona sod, contact Evergreen Turf today at 480.456.1199.

Working With Arizona Soil For A Healthy Lawn

June 30th, 2017

Clay is common in Arizona and has high alkaline levels which cause iron deficiency in home lawns.

Clay Soil 101

If you’re trying to build a landscape of beautiful grass, you must first know the foundation that will support it. Clay is common in Arizona and not particularly easy to work with as high alkaline levels create an iron deficiency. Battling discoloration without knowing the cause will lead to continuous cycles of yellow grass and a lot of frustration that can be easily avoided. On top of that, the density of the soil leads to a soggy lawn during the monsoon season and rock hard dirt in the dry summer sun. This environment leads to stressed grass conducive to weeds and disease. To prepare the soil for optimal grass growth, implement the following practice:

  • Use compost, lawn clippings, and organic fertilizer as a top dressing. Over time, it will decompose and change the natural composition of the soil, improving upon the troublesome qualities of clay. Understand this is not a quick fix and can take multiple seasons—even years.

Five Tips for Fertilizing an Arizona Lawn

  1. Because Arizona soil tends to have a high pH and calcium level, there are certain nutrients that will always carry a deficiency. Iron and phosphorous will need to be supplemented through the application of organic or synthetic fertilizer.
  2. Try adding sulfur to stimulate the activation of amino acids. Spreading sulfur twice a year (using five pounds per one thousand square feet) can lower the pH level of your soil and foster faster, healthier growth.
  3. Know that yellowing is typically a lack of nitrogen or other nutrients. Balancing your soil with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer can turn things around quickly.
  4. Fertilizing doesn’t have to equate to hours of meticulous care. Offset nutrient deficiencies with a lawn spray—just make sure you test your soil and follow instructions to the letter as you would any other soil amendment.
  5. Try Ironite (the brand) to return your lawn to a healthy hue while controlling growth. It contains iron, sulfur, and other micronutrients needed for a strong bed of grass.

Still at a loss for how to work with your Arizona soil in a fool-proof way? The only substitute for hard work and experience is professional help! First, check out our frequently asked questions page for all the common questions we get from Arizona homeowners regarding their lawn.

Contact Evergreen Turf for Arizona sod installation quotes or for questions on various treatment options. Call 480.456.1199 for an estimate.

Best Time of Year to Aerate Bermuda Grass in Arizona

May 15th, 2017

When it comes to keeping a beautiful lawn, the timing and type of care you provide are often just as regional as the actual breed of grass you chose. The Midwest has different grass types than Arizona. As such, it’s important to be mindful of any tips and tricks you may find online if you’re trying to educate yourself about the aeration process.

In Arizona, it's best to wait until July 1st to aerate. You can do it earlier or later, but July tends to be optimal, as this is when we have long hot days with humidity.

As Arizona’s premier sod producer, our team at Evergreen Turf wanted to pass along some tips and tricks for aeration as they pertain to Arizona’s desert climate. Take a look!

Timing of Aeration

In Arizona, it’s best to wait until July 1st to aerate. You can do it earlier or later, but July tends to be optimal, as this is when we have long hot days with humidity. This combination of heat and moisture works well because it allows lawns to recover faster.

Type of Aerator

You’ll want to use a core aerator, rather than a spike aerator. A spike aerator will just further compress the soil. On the other hand, a core aerator brings the cores up to the surface, infiltrating the thatch. This method allows the biological elements in the thatch to break down better. Core aerators also allow for increased water penetration.

To Fertilize or Not to Fertilize?

If you’re going to fertilize, do so one week before you aerate. This will help your lawn recover more quickly. Additionally, the best time to apply gypsum is when you aerate your lawn.

Do you have more questions about Bermuda grass or any of the other types of Arizona sod? Our team at Evergreen Turf would love to help! Reach out to us at 480.456.1199 with your questions, or stop by and see us at 11407 E. Germann in Chandler, Arizona!

How to Transition Your Lawn From Winter to Spring and Summer

April 15th, 2017

Welcome to late spring in Arizona! The temperatures are quickly rising, and – if you haven’t already done so – it’s time to transition your lawn from winter to summer sod. Arizona’s climate is a special place, and the care your lawn needs is specific to our region. What works for other parts of the country simply isn’t applicable for a high-desert area, so to help you transition to your summer lawn, we’ve compiled a few tips.

Transitioning Your Lawn From Winter to Spring

Mid- to Late Spring: Proper Temperatures

In Arizona, transitioning from winter to summer sod usually starts when temperatures hit 95 to 100 degrees on a regular basis. When the thermometer begins to approach triple digits on a regular basis, rye wilts out, and Bermuda grass tries to grow.

At this phase, the first step is to lower the blades on your mower. By lowering your mowing height, you’ll give Bermuda the room it needs to grow.

Early to Mid-Summer: Dethatching

You should dethatch your lawn early to mid-summer. It’s important to wait until the Bermuda grass is ready to grow. If you dethatch too early, the process will discourage the rye grass from growing. Be mindful that dethatching can stress your lawn out a bit, so it’s important to take care of it throughout the process.

Alternatively, you can dethatch in mid-August when Bermuda grass is growing like crazy because it’s had all summer to become strong and healthy. If you wait until late summer, it will recover very quickly.

Early May: Fertilizing

You’ll want to use a complete fertilizer. Around May 1st, put your fertilizer out at half-rate. If you use full-rate fertilizer this early, the rye grass will grow too much. Although this may sound ideal, it’s not a good thing. You can use full-rate fertilizer in June when the Bermuda grass is really growing.

Throughout the Process: Watering

Your grass needs water throughout the transition process, but your lawn needs different amounts at distinct phases in the process. Be mindful that when it gets hot, your lawn will get spots as part of the transition process. Don’t overreact by over-watering. Instead, you simply need to hand-water your lawn just enough to nurture the brown spots away. If you water every two to three days, this should do the trick.

Are you ready to transition your Arizona lawn from winter to summer grass, but you’re not sure where to start? Our team at Evergreen Turf is here to help! Look at our How to Install Sod page, and feel free to reach out to us at 480.456.1199 if you have any questions!

What Is The Best Low Maintenance Grass For Arizona

March 3rd, 2017

Arizona is known for its sunshine, but the Grand Canyon State’s extreme highs and dry heat can make for a troublesome lawn should you choose the wrong grass. Opt for a low-maintenance yard by choosing Midiron or Palmetto St. Augustine grass. Here’s why.

What Is The Best Low Maintenance Grass For Arizona

About Palmetto St. Augustine

Palmetto St. Augustine is by far the most popular turf grass in the United States for its rich color and fine texture. It has the ability to withstand extreme cold but also thrives under the sky high temperatures of the Arizona desert. In fact, it performs best in heat. What follows are the main characteristics of Palmetto St. Augustine.

Look and Feel

Color: Emerald/Green

Blade width: 8-9 mm

Function

Soil: Sand, Clay

Injury Recovery: Good

Insect Resistance: Average

Disease Resistance: Good

Maintenance

Mower: Standard

Blade height: 1.5 – 2.5 inches

Weed control: Good

About Midiron

Midiron is incredibly durable and drought-tolerant making it a popular choice among Arizona homeowners who don’t want to spend hours on weekly yard duties. It’s especially ideal for families as Midiron can withstand heavy foot traffic including that of the family pet or active child. It’s most commonly found on commercial properties but makes a great alternative to seed for residential lawns due to the following characteristics.

Look and Feel

Color: Green

Blade width: 3 mm

Function

Soil: Sand, Loam, Clay

Injury Recovery: Great

Insect Resistance: Great

Disease Resistance: Great

Maintenance

Mower: Rotary, Reel

Blade height: ¾ – 1.5 inch

Which Turf Grass is Better?

Because Midiron and Palmetto St. Augustine are both versatile and long lasting, the top pick for one’s lawn is mostly a matter of preference. Both grasses are soft to the touch for maximum comfort and resemblance to traditional grass types. There are few notable differences between the properties of these two low maintenance grasses.

  1. Midiron is not shade-tolerant meaning your Arizona lawn should not be hidden by large trees or covered patios. As the grass thrives under sunny conditions, desert landscaping is ideal. Think cacti and rock coverings around the lawn’s perimeter.
  2. Augustine prefers direct sunlight, but it will survive in shade just as well. Homeowners can expect slower growth in the cooler winter and spring seasons.
  3. Installing St. Augustine will necessitate more fertilizer than Midiron along with frequent mowing. Midiron typically needs fertilizer only one time per year—a blend of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
  4. Midiron will do well with a water soak every five days versus daily watering. St. Augustine does not need a lot of water either, though the maintenance schedule will vary slightly between the two.
  5. Midiron can withstand heavy wear while St. Augustine will require careful attention to extra foot traffic.

To determine which turf grass is right for you, check out our lawn selector tool.

How to Refresh Your Yard For Spring

March 2nd, 2017

Here are some tips and ideas on how to refresh your yard for spring.

  1. Update your welcome mats with bright colors
  2. Create sod-covered coasters
  3. Paint your planters bright colors
  4. Repair bare spots in your lawn
  5. Garnish Your Outdoor Space with DIY Garland

arizona sod spring refresh tips

Update Your Welcome Mats with Bright Colors

Out with the old, drab, gray mats that have greeted one too many pairs of dirty shoes. It’s time to freshen up your pad, starting with the space that greets guests just before they enter your doors. Need some inspiration? Shoot for fruit-inspired floor features that will liven up your entryways. A watermelon welcome mat at the front door, and a lemon one at the back, will instantly bring a bright and vibrant vibe to your home.

Create Sod-Covered Coasters

What’s a springtime cocktail without a great coaster? We’d be lying if we said we didn’t have a special affinity to these sod-covered coasters. After all, our Evergreen Turf team works hard to procure beautiful sod lawns everyday, so when we find an item that allows us to enjoy the fruits of our labor by way of an after-work cocktail, there’s no getting around the happiness!

Fill a glass with fruit-infused water – or go for something a little stronger – as you sit on your patio and enjoy the welcoming post-winter Arizona weather.

Paint Your Planters Bright Colors

Ring in spring by saying, “Out with the drab, and in with the fab!”

Nobody said planters have to keep their boring, original colors. Pep up your plants, both inside and out, with neon paint. Appeal to the complementary colors on your flowers’ petals, or simply choose vibrant hues that work well for you. In any case, a brightened up planter will instantly set the springtime mood.

Repair Bare Spots in Your Lawn

Now that winter has begun to fade away, this is the perfect time to fix any trouble spots in your lawn and repair bare spots with new sod. Brown spots can easily become green again if you put the proper measures in place. First, try to understand what’s causing the barren spaces on your landscape. If pet urine or pests are the problem, seek measures to help eliminate ongoing brown patches. Otherwise, new sod won’t do much but mask the problem as a momentary fix.

If you’ve remedied the sources of your spotting, it’s time to lay down some new sod. Be sure to check out our Guide to Transitioning Your Arizona Sod Lawn in the Spring for helpful tips about fertilizing, watering, and maintaining your new sod.

Garnish Your Outdoor Space with DIY Garland

You can spruce up any space in your place with an easy-to-do DIY garland project. Simply gather the essential items, and set some time aside to work on your craft. If you have a garden, consider plucking some of your lovely flowers to incorporate into this piece. Alternatively, local florists – and even grocery stores – will be able to provide you with plenty of floral pickings.

Alas, not all spring cleaning is this much fun. To ensure a beautiful Arizona lawn all summer long, be sure to check out these 5 Lawn Care Tips for Spring brought to you by our Evergreen Turf team!

Best Time to Lay Warm-Season Grass In Phoenix

March 1st, 2017

Taking care of your lawn is an important part of home ownership, but it’s not always easy – especially in the arid desert climate of Arizona. Some grasses do better than others in this region, and sometimes, timing is everything. If you’re laying fresh sod, however, practically anytime is a good time to lay your summer grass. You just need to make sure you take care of your lawn from beginning to end to ensure the best results.

arizona sod

Here are some things you should take into consideration:

Prep Properly For New Sod

It’s important to make sure the ground is properly prepared to ensure the soil will welcome your warm-season grass willfully. Your new grass will need a good amount of water, so you don’t want to under water, but you certainly don’t want to over water, either. You also need to ensure that you’re fertilizing appropriately to optimize growth.

If you’re uncertain how to prepare your lawn for warm-season grass, check out our how to install page.

Stay Patient With Dormant Lawns

If you had a warm season sod lawn last year, and you did not install a winter lawn, your summer lawn should grow back naturally as it comes out of dormancy. In this case, you should not need to lay new sod. Just stay patient, and wait for your beautiful green grass to begin growing again.

Overseeded Lawn – Do Maintenance

If you overseeded your lawn, you just have to perform a few maintenance tasks to get your summer lawn to come back this year. Take a look at our Spring Transition Guide for more help on the following:

  • Mowing your lawn at the right height – You’ll want to lower your mower so you remove approximately ½ the grass leaf blades. With easier access to light, the roots of your grass will receive heat, allowing them to wake up and begin growing.
  • Aerating your lawn – By putting small holes all over your lawn, you’ll invite heat to its root system, which also encourages grass to come out of dormancy.
  • Watering at optimal frequencies – You don’t want to stop watering completely, but it is important to cut back on watering during the spring lawn process. Ultimately, you’re trying to discourage growth of your winter ryegrass while encouraging your warm-weather Bermuda grass to make its springtime appearance.
  • Fertilizing with balanced ingredients – There are several different types of fertilizers, each of which is formulated with various amounts of essential minerals. If you choose the wrong fertilizer, you could set your lawn up for failure. However, the right formula will enhance the growth of your summer grass while further weakening your winter grass. As the ryegrass dies out, be sure to rake your lawn, allowing the Bermudagrass to have a clean canvass.

Still not sure how to make the most of your grass? Our Evergreen Turf team of professionals are experts at helping Arizona homeowners get ready for hot summers and beautiful lawns. Contact us, and let us know what we can do to help!

Arizona Lawn Care Tips for March

February 28th, 2017

While it comes as no surprise to homeowners who have installed sod, lush lawns are a labor intensive project. Being mindful of the seasons and their respective maintenance plans will facilitate healthy growth and thwart widespread disease. March is a great time to revisit your lawn care processes and adjust for the weather.

Arizona sod lawn care tips for spring

March Forecast

On average, Phoenix, Arizona, sees .9 inches of rain during the month of March. The average high is 75 degrees with an average low of 49. Temperatures will vary depending on your location within the valley, but seasonal averages can successfully guide you toward the right maintenance plan.

Sod Maintenance Tips for Spring

When spring is in the air, overwatering becomes the number one culprit of fungal infections. You should avoid mowing wet grass for the same reason as a problem confined to one area of the yard will soon spread throughout the entire lawn. Other weather-sensitive issues include:

  • Weeding: Summer is the worst time to try and tackle your weed problem since the roots will be well established and tough. Pre-emergent herbicides will save you days of labor and allow you to tackle the issue when weeds are soft and just beginning to grow.
  • Fertilizing: A quick spring fertilizer will prime your lawn for optimal growth throughout the season. The fertilizer you use will depend upon your particular sod type as well as any problems you may have faced during the winter months. The most important factor is finding the correct balance of essential nutrients conducive to Arizona’s climate.
  • Mowing: As discussed in a previous blog, the frequency and method of mowing will depend on your grass species and how quickly it’s growing. Always keep grass blades at 2/3 their height. As for frequency:
    • A Tifgreen sod lawn mowed below 1/2 of an inch may have to be mowed every 2-3 days.
    • A Midiron hybrid Bermuda sod lawn mowed at 2 inches may only have to be mowed once every 7-10 days.

Spring Gardening Tips

Once you’ve mastered sod care, it’s time to take full advantage of the season and enhance your beautiful yard even more. Spring is a great time to start a vegetable garden or grow your favorite flowers.

  • Best seeds: carrots, cucumbers, green onion, squash, peppers, tomatoes, melons, beets.
  • Best flowers: desert marigold, sunflower, safflower, verbena, cosmos, hollyhock.
  • Best herbs: basil, chamomile, sage, oregano, thyme, lemon grass, parsley, mint.
  • If you have citrus trees, remember to fertilize with nitrogen when they sprout leaves. Transplant new trees during this time as they’ll take approximately three years to produce fruit. A young tree (2-5 years old) will be easier to manage and yield fruit at the same time as an older tree.
  • For other landscape plants, don’t forget to water at least once a month in the absence of rainfall. Remove weeds early and often and prune the plants that are sensitive to frost once they leaf out.

By taking the time to properly care for your lawn, you’ll get to enjoy its beauty for years to come. Follow the recommended maintenance for your sod grass and—when in doubt—consult a professional to ensure its vibrancy and longevity.

How To Prevent Ticks In Your Yard

January 26th, 2017

When it comes to keeping ticks off your dog, prevention is key. Since ticks often live in the pet’s own yard, it’s important to keep up with a regular lawn maintenance routine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide general information on ticks as well as tips for keeping these nasty nuisances away.

how to prevent ticks in your yard

Understanding Ticks

Ticks belong to the arachnid family and are classified as ectoparasites that feed on the blood of mammals. Aside from latching on to their “host” and causing the animal discomfort, they can also carry diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Anaplasmosis. Contrary to popular belief, ticks don’t jump or fly; rather, they attach themselves to other animals when they’re alerted to the host’s presence through smells, vibrations, etc. One of the ways they do this is by waiting on long blades of grass with their legs outstretched, waiting to latch on to an unsuspecting pup.

Life Cycle of a Tick

While ticks often die after their inability to find a host, they can survive for years as they cycle through each of the four stages of life: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Once a tick hatches from its egg, it requires blood for survival—be it from mammals, birds, or reptiles.

Lawn Care Tips for Avoiding Ticks

Not only will regular yard maintenance keep your lawn in pristine shape, upkeep will keep ticks away in every stage of their life cycle. Here’s how to protect your pet like a pro.

  • Mow regularly. The higher the blade, the easier it will be for ticks to reach your animal and latch on to start feeding.
  • Apply tick pesticides (called acaricides) to reduce the amount of ticks in your home’s vicinity. Double check to make the Environmental Protection Agency allows for pesticide application in your area.
  • Keep your yard free of debris and household items including things you’re waiting to donate or trash.
  • Remove fallen leaves immediately. Rake often since ticks will use leaves like blades of grass—perched and waiting to clasp on to the dog or cat.
  • If you don’t have a fenced backyard or there is a significant amount of brush along your property line, create a barrier to prevent ticks from crawling onto your lawn. Ensure the barrier is at least three feet wide and constructed from wood chips, rocks, or gravel.
  • Collect firewood? Make sure it stays neatly stacked in a cool, dry area to keep rodents away. Fewer rodents mean fewer hosts for ticks.
  • Plant Mother Nature’s tick repellent to keep ticks away from your home. Lavender and Peppermint are unappealing to ticks and, as an added bonus, are 100% non-toxic and safe for the family dog.
  • All exterior equipment including furniture, playground structures, even patios and decks should have ample distance from trees and bushes. Direct sunlight is best.

Keeping your lawn free of ticks is the best course of action for keeping them off your dog. By being proactive and looking after your yard, you’ll be saving your animal from blood-sucking ticks and yourself from the headache of treating them after a bite.

Winter Tips for Your Lawn

January 26th, 2017

Although Arizona isn’t subjected to the freezing temperatures most of the rest of the country endures around this time of year, winter weather still has an impact on Southwestern lawns and landscaping. As chilly temperatures begin to settle in for the coming weeks, here are a few winter tips to help keep your lawn healthy and happy until spring rolls back around.

Winter Tips for Your Lawn

Bermuda Grass in the Winter

Because of its hardy and drought-resistant nature, Bermuda grass has long been a favorite of Arizona homeowners. While it’s beautiful when it’s growing healthy and strong, colder temperatures can cause alarm for people who aren’t experienced in dealing with this type of lawn. Rest assured, this tough species doesn’t require much from you to get through the winter.

Here are some helpful hints:

  • Sod With No Overseed – If you didn’t overseed your sod, it’s probably gone dormant by now. There’s nothing to do now but sit back, relax, and let your lawn rest until the thermometer starts to rise again.
  • Overseeded Sod – If you overseeded your sod, it’s probably experiencing a little shock. As the bermuda grass begins to go dormant beneath the surface, small, quarter-sized yellow spots may begin to appear. These markings are nothing to fear. In fact, they’re an indication that your lawn was healthy when temperatures were warmer.

The spots occur because you probably overseeded during the warm season (late September to early October) when the bermuda grass was still flourishing and out-growing the ryegrass overseed. As it enters dormancy, it leaves behind evidence of the places where it was out-doing the overseeding.

To help your overseeded lawn heal these spots, switch from granular fertilizers, which are typically slow to get a reaction when the temperature drops, to foliar (spray) fertilizers during the winter months.

Winter Foliar Fertilizer 101

Many people fail to alter their lawn care routines when winter falls in Arizona. Although our state generally enjoys a mild climate between November and March, the temperatures can still drop below optimal levels if you’re using granular fertilizers. Foliar fertilizers’ formulas often withstand winter better than their granular counterparts, allowing your overseeded sod to perform at its best.

  • Heating Elements. Some foliar fertilizers heat the plants up, helping to facilitate growth. Ferrous sulfate and endurant turf paint will both provide heat to your overseeding.
  • Organic Options. There are certain organic fertilizers that work well in the winter. Seaweed extracts, kelp, and compost teas will help boost your roots while feeding the organisms within the soil that help your lawn grow. Ask our team about the best organic options for your particular species of grass.

Winter Watering 101

Your fertilizer isn’t the only element you should alter when winter comes – it’s also important to pay attention to the way you water your lawn. You should dramatically cut back on your watering schedule during the cold season. Your winter ryegrass requires a lot less water than your summer sod. You only need about 20 minutes of watering two to three times a week to keep your ryegrass properly hydrated from December through mid-February.

If you didn’t overseed, shoot for a monthly watering unless a good rainfall hits, in which case, you can wait to water until your lawn shows signs of stress.

Looking for a little more assistance? Be sure to check out our Evergreen Turf Fall Over-Seeking/ Winter Lawn Care Tips, and reach out to us if we can be of further service!