Overseeding winter Ryegrass is underway

Green Grass

In Arizona, there are two primary varieties of turf grown throughout most landscapes, Ryegrass and Bermuda. While most of us find the desert summers to be less than hospitable, Bermuda turf feels right at home, flourishing with the scorching temperatures. In fact, Bermuda does not even begin to grow again until temperatures consistently reach the nineties. Ryegrass, on the other hand, cannot withstand the extreme summers and dies off each spring. The specific weather requirements for each turf create two periods of transition for Arizona turf areas, one in spring and the other in fall. The fall transition is right around the corner.

The overseeding process
As the temperatures steadily decrease, Bermuda turf will begin to slowly fade and enter dormancy for the winter. At this time, DLC crews begin the process of growing in new winter Ryegrass (overseeding) in select areas of the community.

When DLC starts to overseed, typically irrigation in turf areas is reduced by half, and mow heights are lowered to suppress the growth of the Bermuda and open up the soil for the Ryegrass. In addition, the turf is aerated to help the ground receive additional water and nutrients. After that, the Ryegrass seed is laid down. As the grass germinates, we will be watering frequently to keep the delicate seedbed moist. You may see signs in these turf areas around the community; we encourage you not to walk or play on these areas as the grass germinates and until the new grass receives its first mow, typically in three to four weeks. This allows uninterrupted growth for the turf and helps establish lush green parks and common areas.

Not all areas are overseeded
In Anthem, we follow a rotation schedule for several sports fields, switching the areas that are overseeded each year. Unlike Ryegrass, Bermuda does not die off each year, but instead falls dormant for the winter, like a hibernating animal gaining strength for spring. The rotation schedule gives turf areas that are not overseeded the chance to rest and regain strength, resulting in a stronger and faster-growing Bermuda crop the next spring.

The overseeding schedule is carefully selected in partnership with community management to ensure the best possible service and turf health.

Editor’s note: Community Park softball and little league fields were once overseeded. Since moving away from this practice in recent years, the fields have yielded sturdier, healthier turf. This year, DLC completed a “hard transition” on Soccer Fields 3 & 4, using a chemical kill-off method, applied in March with all Rye grass dying off by the end of April. Since that time, the Bermuda on those two fields has grown in more quickly and has maintained its green, healthy appearance. The next step of this transition involves moving away from overseeding Soccer Fields 3 & 4. These fields see heavy use by sports teams, and the challenge is to keep the fields healthy year-round without the maintenance and rest needed during the overseeding process.