BARE LAWN OVERSEED? - Knowledgebase Question

Phoenix, Ar
Question by rtgann
October 15, 2009
My HOA let our lawns die due to budget cuts. Now I have a large front yard of dirt. Now they are talking about overseeding with rye. Can rye be planted when there is nothing but dirt? If so, how do I best care for it? Thanks

Answer from NGA
October 15, 2009


Lawns in the Phoenix area are generally a mixture of warm season (bermuda) and cool season (rye) grasses. Bermuda dies down about this time of year and most gardeners overseed with perennial rye. The rye takes about a week to green up and will remain green all winter long. When the weather warms in April, the bermuda comes out of dormancy and greens up at just about the same time that the rye dies out. So there's nothing wrong with overseeding now. It's important that the seeds make good contact with the soil so they can root well. Whoever is overseeding the lawns should rake the area well to make grooves in the soil where the seeds can rest. If they are not planning to rake the old turf to make way for the new grass, you may want to rake the yard yourself. Once the seeds are broadcast you only need to keep the area consistently moist by watering several times a day. The seeds should sprout in about a week and your now brown yard will turn green. Water every day for the first week after it sprouts and every other day the following week. By the third week it should be ready to mow and you can reduce your watering to twice a week. After the second mowing the roots should be deep enough that you can reduce your watering to one deep soaking per week. This is just a general guideline. Weather and soil type can make a difference in the amount of water your new lawn needs so let the grass blades be your guide and water when it looks stressed or off color. Enjoy your new lawn!

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