The Q&A Archives: Sod

Question: How much care does sod need especially in Phoenix Arizona. Is Sod a good idea?

Maintenance----easy when maintained properly?

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. If you want year-round grass, you'd need to overseed from mid-Oct. to mid-Nov. It's essential to prepare the soil properly before planting to have a healthy lawn for many years, and there's quite a bit of information to know about maintenance to have a good looking lawn, whether started from sod, seed or stolons. Watering, fertilizing and mowing requirements are a bit different, depending on Bermuda or ryegrass. Because of our arid conditions and generally hard soil, aeration and dethatching are also required every two or three years. 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.

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