For those of us that chose to have a winter lawn, we now notice those pesky little dry areas popping up throughout our garden. While we frantically try to adjust our sprinklers, add more time on the controller or hand water these areas, most of the time our efforts are, pardon the pun, fruitless.
When the rye turf dies out, it is for good. It will not revive itself like our hearty bermuda lawns will, so all the water in the world won’t help. The best thing you can do at this time is de-thatch or rake out and remove the old, dead grass. For smaller areas, a leaf rake or steel bow rake will work just fine. By simply doing this, it opens up the area for sunlight and air to promote the growth of the emerging summer lawn. Your bermuda lawns can also be encouraged by mowing the grass about an inch shorter or one notch lower on your mower than you typically would mow. This method will also expose the dormant turf to more air and nutrients and give the grass the boost it needs. For those that have not planted a winter lawn, you should start seeing the turf greening up quickly at this time.
Remember, bermuda only needs water about every three days so be careful with how many days are programmed into the timer. A healthy lawn needs air, water, sunlight and nutrients to grow, but too much of a good thing can be harmful as well. Aeration is a practice that is overlooked much too often. Although golf courses and sports arenas use this practice religiously, it is seldom used by homeowners and private entities. It is a system that incorporates a mechanical device to penetrate the soil and withdraw plugs of earth to allow for better water and fertilizer diffusion. Along with this practice the use of gypsum also helps to further decompress the soil. If your lawn has been dormant all winter, try this out. It really works! The machine is a little tricky to handle, but the results are well worth the effort.
A good irrigation system is a must here in the valley, but it is not the only answer. If we notice our turf and plants looking a little “peaked,” don’t run for the water hose. Check the soil and other factors first. Usually the answer is a combination of sufficient air and sunlight, permeable soil and, lastly, enough water.