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Grass & Weeds in AZ

Good afternoon,

I live in Arizona with our extremely hot summers and mildly cool temperatures the rest of the year. I am a first timer who is in dire need of grass in my back yard, and after researching a ton online I am STILL stuck on where to begin. My back yard is not too large, but currently consists of mostly dry, hard dirt, some patches of grassy weeds, and several "goat's head" plants (that I cannot seem to eradicate so any advice here would be amazing!). Also, we have a sprinkler system but it is currently broken so I will be using a hose with sprinkler to water the lawn. What steps should I take to get started? What grass and fertilizer should I use and how often? In addition, any recommendations on the best watering system would be great.

Thank you so much!

Megann
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Posted 2015-07-02T20:04:57+0000  by Msmith4911 Msmith4911
 

Hi Megann.

 

Thank you for your question and welcome to our community. 

 

To get your yard into shape so that it will be able to withstand the very hot dry temperatures of your area, my suggestion will be that you amend you soil with a good soil conditioner.  Since you live out here in the western area, you will have access to Kelloggs, Eco Scraps and Dr Earth soils.


 

I am in Orange County, CA.  Although it is not nearly as hot and dry as your area is, we do have hot and dry conditions here, especially with our current drought.  I practice deep watering for my lawn and fruit trees and I have had great success.

 

That fastest way to have a backyard lawn will be to use sod.  Once laid down, you will have an instant lawn, but it will require regular watering.  This means it will be a good idea to get your sprinkler system up and running so that you can water when you are not home. 

 

For your first step- the soil will need to be tilled up and a good soil amendment added. 


If your soil is hard, a light watering several times a day or even in the evening may help to loosen up the soil.  You may need to use a cultivating tool to help scratch the surface enough to allow the water too seep into the soil.  How much work you have will depend on how hard the soil is.  I have had situations where I had to use a pick axe to break up the ground.  Hopefully you will not need to go to that level.


Once you have the ground broken up


I recommend that you cover the ground with a 2-3 inch layer of a good quality soil amendment and work it into the ground to a depth of about 4-6 inches.  This way, there will be good nutrients for the root system of your grass to grow deep into. A deep root system is more likely to be more drought tolerant than a shallow one.  The best tool to use to work the soil inot the ground is a Garden Fork.

 

Kellogg soils have a 3 cubic foot bag of Garden Soil that will do nicely for amending your soil.  Dr. Earth  & Eco Scraps also have a good quality Garden Soil.  These are my local favorites.  Check with your local Home Depot Garden Department for availability.

 

You will need your lawn sprinklers to provide deep watering but it can be done with a hose end sprinkler.  You can water your sod with a hose end sprinkler but, the first week for sod is very critical and it will need to be watered several times a day in order for it to survive.  The rule of thimb for sod is soggy wet for the first week.  Even if you use seed, you will still have to water several times a day to keep the seed damp, but it will be have to be done for the first 10-14 days.  I can go into more detail once you decide which route you choose to take - Seed or Sod.




The best grass for your area may be a fescue.  When planted right and deep watered to promote a deeper root growth, once established, this grass will stay green all year long.  The secret is soil prep and deep watering.  


Once established, your lawn can be deep watered 1-2 times a week for the first 6 months. Apply at least 2 inches of water initially for your lawn.  Ideally, you may only have to deep water once every 7 days, depending on the weather.  


Always water in the early morning and never at night.  Night time watering can cause a fungus in your lawn and kill everything you just worked so hard for.  Morning watering will hydrate your lawn and other plants for the heat of the day.

 

We get the SanTana winds here in Orange County which can dry your lawn and plants out in as little as 24 hours to a few days. A lawn with a deep established root system will be able to withstand this dry and hot weather.


Please let us know if you have any further questions.

 

Rick_HD_OC

Posted 2015-07-03T19:45:35+0000  by Rick_HD_OC
 
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