With the changing of the season from summer to fall, the time is right to start thinking about replacing that summer Bermuda with a winter rye, according to the professionals at Ace Hardware.
As part of a number of seminars the hardware store offers throughout the year, Ace sponsored a trio of seminars on Sept. 22 to give residents helpful hints on making a winter lawn both green and full.
While also giving away free bags of fertilizer during the event, the most important thing given away according to Ace co-owner Tom Bechtel was the advice to make the lawn a success.
“There is general confusion on what to do... which starts when people see work crews on the medians and on the golf courses,” Bechtel said of residents not knowing the right conditions when to switch grass types. “There are a lot of transplants living here... and a lot of people had already done the wrong thing. If (the lawn) is improperly done, you waste your time and waste your water.”
Bechtel brought in Cindy Schiemann to host the seminars and answer questions from customers. Schiemann has hosted a number of seminars on lawn care for more than four years. She said in her experience it is best to strategically use grass in the desert.
“You can utilize green grass in spots and still make it look beautiful without wasting a bunch of water,” Schiemann said. “There’s nothing worse than putting in the winter grass and having it not look good.”
Schiemann said the winter rye typically does not use much water and is a much nicer, more easily manicured grass than the summer Bermuda. She said especially in Arizona because of the temperatures remaining high well into fall, it was important to wait until that Bermuda died so that the rye would not be patchy.
“If you do it too early, it’s still too hot and it won’t germinate,” said Schiemann, who said the temperature needs to drop into the 60s at nights on a consistent basis before winter rye can handle proper seeding.
Schiemann gave tips on topping the seed to keep birds from eating it up while also warning against over-fertilizing the lawn, calling too much fertilizer on a growing lawn counter-productive.
“If you know what to do, it’s very simple,” Bechtel said of seeding and developing a lush lawn. “It’s very self-satisfying.”
Bechtel said residents with follow-up questions on lawn care maintenance can talk to one of the expert gardeners in the garden center at Ace or can call the store at (520) 494-7805. More seminars, such as an upcoming training session on epoxy coating for floors, are coming soon to Ace.