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Plant a Winter Lawn Over Your Summer One

by Alex Russel, All About Lawns Columnist

If you live in a desert region like Arizona, New Mexico, or parts of Southern California, there's virtually no chance that your lawn will look nearly as beautiful in the winter as in the summer. There isn't a grass type in existence that can handle that significant a change in climate.

The solution that many lawn owners in desert climates turn to is overseeding, the practice of planting a specific winter lawn right over the summer lawn.
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According to the Arizona Republic, many Arizona residents plant a rye grass lawn for the winter, right over a summer Bermuda grass lawn. As a notorious sun lover, Bermuda grass, one of the most popular grass types, goes brown when not in the summer sunshine.

Overseeding With Rye Grass

rye grass is a popular year round grass in more temperate zones further north. When overseeding, experts say you should use a perennial rye grass as the annual type grows less densely and has too light of a color.

The first crucial step is to "scalp" the summer Bermuda and to prepare it for its resurgence next spring. This is the time to aerate your lawn (getting rid of accumulated older grass known as thatch) and to fertilize and treat any diseases and brown spots that may have affected your Bermuda grass.

Maintain Summer Grass Before Seeding For Winter

Once Bermuda maintenance has been satisfied, leave your lawn alone for two weeks. This includes watering. Just let the shortly cut summer grass lie for a while.

Once that's over it's finally time to seed. Using a push or hand spreader, apply one to 1 1/2 pounds of seed for every 100 square feet of yard. Apply in a checkerboard pattern first, then diagonally to assure coverage. Add an extra layer for the birds.

Then, to keep the seeds moist, apply a layer of compost or fine mulch, spreading it out evenly with a rake.

Water Heavily After Grass Seeding

Now watering is key. For the first week after seeding, water the lawn for about seven minutes three times a day, but never after 4pm as nighttime watering invites fungus. When the lawn is nearly 2 inches high, mow about a half an inch off. Your winter lawn should be on its way.


About the Author
Alex Russel is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Since graduating from Syracuse University he has worked at many different media companies in fields as diverse as film, TV, advertising, and journalism. He holds a dual bachelor's degree in English and History.

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