The Q&A Archives: Desert Lawn care

Question: I live in Arizona and have a small area in my yard for grass. We grew some last year and it was green and lush. This year, however, it is thin, brown and hardly attractive. How do I get back that lush, green lawn we had last year?

Answer: It is essential to water, fertilize and mow properly for healthy grass. Without knowing what type of grass you installed, or how you cared for it over the winter, it's difficult to provide specifics. I'm assuming you installed a Bermuda grass and let it go dormant over the winter. At this point, you should be watering about every 3-5 days, or every 2-3 days if temperatures are over 90 degrees, with water soaking to a depth of 8-10 inches. Stick a long-handled screwdriver into the soil to determine how far water soaks. It will move easily through moist soil and stop at dry soil. Fertilize monthly, watering immediately after application. Mow at the maximum suggested height for the grass variety you planted. Your supplier should be able to tell you this. You may need to dethatch and/or aerify, although is usually not necessary after just one year. An excellent resource for low desert lawn care is "Desert Landscaping for Beginners" by Arizona Master Gardener Press, 2001. It has a complete chapter on lawn care, including maintenance charts. I hope this info helps.

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