With the warm March temperatures, the common area plant material at Verrado continues its spring transition from our Arizona winter. This month, the Verrado crew will continue seasonal rejuvenation pruning of your shrubs – the process that reduces plants to about half their size so that they can grow and flower in the spring and summer without being continuously pruned – with the ornamental grasses around the community. The crew is also performing rejuvenation pruning on the valentine bushes during their cycle work.
The crew continues to be on the lookout for those plants that grow into the walks or streets and prune those as needed. We also have been keeping an eye out for spring weeds as the temperatures warm up and seeds start germinating. About 3,200 plants and 32 trees were added to common areas community-wide over the past month. DLC’s Arbor crew will be finishing up the crown thinning of your large hardwood trees in April.
You may begin to notice seasonal changes in your turf more and more in the coming weeks as we are lowering mow heights to start pushing out the winter Ryegrass in the overseeded turf areas. This month we will aerate all the turf areas to help break up compaction in the soil and allow better penetration of water, nutrients and oxygen to the roots of the Bermuda grass as it emerges from dormancy. The irrigation is coming back on to promote the Bermuda and for your plants as daytime temperatures continue to climb. Continue reading about the upcoming turf transition, what you can expect, and for some tips on transitioning your own turf. We hope to see you at Founder’s Day!
It’s Transition Time
When nighttime temperatures in the Southwest are consistently into the 60s, the summer Bermuda grass, which has been dormant all winter, begins to wake up and grow. As daytime temperatures exceed 90 degrees, the winter Ryegrass should begin to recede. It is during this transition period where both types of grass compete for sunlight and water.
What to Expect
Transitioning from Ryegrass to Bermuda grass is, ideally, a gradual process that typically lasts from the beginning of April through the end of May. Subtle changes occur in turf areas throughout the transition period. DLC Water Management Experts will monitor watering times in the common areas to encourage Bermuda grass growth. Through this process, less water is used, not more. To suppress the Ryegrass growth, we gradually lower mower heights from 2 inches down to 1-1.25 inches.
As the Ryegrass dies off, turf may appear off-color or yellow and there may even be some areas that appear dry. This is a temporary condition that improves as the Bermuda grass fills in. Once the Bermuda grass is actively growing, Ammonium Sulfate fertilizer (21-0-0) is applied to enhance color and growth and promote healthy turf.
Aeration for Maintaining Healthy Turf
Turf areas that are utilized frequently often suffer from soil compaction. Prolonged physical compaction of the soil results in a hard surface that does not allow for an efficient amount of water and nutrients to be absorbed into the turf’s root system. These negative effects can be mitigated by aeration, a valuable practice that is an effective tool for maintaining healthy turf.
The aeration process is achieved by different methods; all of them involve creating holes (3 to 6 inches deep) in the turf soil. This opens new avenues for additional water and oxygen to reach the root system. We also use this time to apply fertilizer while the new holes are still fresh, which allows for increased absorption and leads to a healthier and lusher turf for all residents to enjoy.
To learn more tips and tricks to use with your own home turf, visit our Learning Center at dlclearningcenter.com and enter “turf” into our handy search box!