When overnight low temperatures are consistently above 65 degrees (usually in May), you can begin transitioning your winter ryegrass back to Bermuda grass for the warm season. If you allow the ryegrass to grow unchecked, it will out compete the Bermuda grass. When June comes with its Arizona heat, the ryegrass will finally die and you’ll be left with nothing but bare spots. To avoid that, follow the below steps and you’ll have a summer lawn the whole neighborhood will envy!
- Reduce your watering to 70-80% of your normal usage. This will start stressing out the ryegrass but will continue to support the Bermuda grass.
- Lightly verticut your grass to open up its canopy. This allows more sunshine to reach the Bermuda grass below.
- Aerify your ground. This increases water penetration and nutrient uptake, breaks up soil compaction, and allows more oxygen to reach the root zone. Most home supply stores rent verticutting and aerifying equipment.
- Gradually lower your mower settings and increase your mowing intervals to twice a week so that the grass height does not exceed 1/2″ to 3/4.” Make sure to bag all clippings. If they remain on the ground, they’ll create a mat layer that will inhibit the growth of the Bermuda grass.
- Beware of shady areas in your lawn. The ryegrass will grow aggressively in these areas so you must maintain a low mowing height to allow the Bermuda grass to get its needed sunlight.
- Fertilize and increase your watering schedule. After about two weeks, you should notice that the Bermuda grass is overcoming the ryegrass. Finally, once your Bermuda grass is growing again, use a high nitrogen fertilizer such as 21-0-0 or 21-7-14 once a month to keep it green.