The Q&A Archives: Growing grass in Arizona ?

Question: I have a patio that needs grass really bad .
The only thing in the patio is dirt .
How would I start the process of trying to grow grass? seed,menuewer, turn over dirt? I do not know where to begin. Also is there a specific time to start grass growing in Phoenix, Arizona ?

Answer: There are two main types of grass grown here in the low desert: a warm-season grass, which is Bermuda; it is sometimes overseeded for the cool-season with ryegrass. There is no grass species that can survive both temperature extremes here. However, many people install the Bermuda grass for the warm months and then let it go dormant in the winter. It's usually brown from about Thanksgiving until temps. warm up in the spring. Now is not the time to plant grass. Ryegrass does not get seeded by itself; in other words, you overseed Bermuda with rye, but rye can't be the only base grass. Overseeding takes place in October by Nov. 15.

It's essential to prepare the soil properly before planting to have a healthy lawn for many years. There's quite a bit of information to know about maintenance to have a good looking lawn that is beyond the scope of answers we provide here. I recommend you read the chapter Growing a Healthy Lawn in the book Desert Landscaping for Beginners by Arizona Master Gardener Press, 0-9651987-3-1. It is the most complete and detailed information on the topic, also describing the different grass choices, how to install them and how to water, fertilize, mow, dethatch and aerify. The book is available at the Phoenix libraries, bookstores or through the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension. Finally, Bermuda isn't installed until after mid-May, so you have plenty of time to read up on the subject! Good luck!

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