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Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Posted by LawnObsessed Palm Springs (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 6, 12 at 22:27

Hello Fellow Gardeners!

I have a rental property in the Palm Springs area of California (The Desert).

Currently a gardner cares for the lawn. In the Spring and Summer, Bermuda grass fills in, and in the winter it is overseeded with perennial rye grass. I don't know what kind of grass is used, but the Bermuda grass is not the quality I want. Besides being full of weeds, it's not attractive or nice.

I want to convert the lawn to a new type of Bermuda Grass. I've selected a seed called "Princess 77". It has earlier green up times in the spring, is more dense and softer than what I have now.

I want to know what steps do I need to take to a) maintain an overseeded winter lawn, b) replace the bermuda grass for next year, and c) remove the weeds. What steps do I take, in what order, timing, herbicides etc is necessary for this process?

I also still want to have a winter lawn of perennial rye grass to maintain green color all year long. Do I kill the old bermuda grass, or just let the new seed take over? Is this all possible? Am I asking too much?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Is this all possible? Am I asking too much?

Yes and Yes.

The reason the Bermuda looks shabby is because it is over seeded with Rye in the Fall.

Second point knowing a little bit about the area and the types of Bermuda sod available there, P-77 aka Princess is a much lower quality than the sod you have now.

So here is what is going on. When you over seed Bermuda with Rye, you do not kill the Bermuda as it is impossible and the last thing you would want to do. You just wait until the summer heat breaks and then over seed at a heavy rate. It is usually done at the same time you aerate the lawn to increase germination rates.

OK once the seed is down, gets watered,the Rye grass seeds seed germinates and starts to grow. As the colder weather approaches, the Bermuda grass slows down and eventually goes dormant for its winter nap. On the flip side as the weather cools the Rye grass growth rate explodes because conditions are right.

Come Spring the Rye grass is in hog heaven getting everything it needs. As it warms a little the Bermuda wakes up, and finds out it has been invaded. It is having all its food, water, and sun stolen by the Rye Grass. The Bermuda is stunned, sluggish, and slow to respond because it is hungry and thirty.

As it gets warmer the Bermuda is starting to try to grow faster because it prefers the warm weather but still the invader is robbing it blind. Finally summer heat arrives in June or July and kills off the Rye grass. Now that it is gone the Bermuda can start to recover but it is now thin and weakened. However the thief is gone and the Bermuda starts to recover. By September it has finally recovered and just started to growing OK. Then the thief returns and robs the Bermuda all over again. It is a vicious cycle that never ends.

OK with that said you do live in an area where you can over seed Bermuda in fall successfully without doing a lot of damage to Bermuda. Every golf course in your area does it. The difference is they know exactly how to kill off the Rye grass in early spring and jump start the Bermuda. It is a 4 point attack.

Just before or immediately after you see the Bermuda starting to wake up you switch immediately to proper Bermuda lawn care practices.

1. Spray the area with a half strength dose of Atrazine. It will stun Bermuda, but extremely deadly poison to all cool season grasses especially Rye grass.

2. Give the Atrazene a day or two to work, and then scalp mow the lawn and bag up the clippings.

3. A day or two later apply a good quality balanced slow release fertilizer.

4. Immediately after applying fertilizer soak the yard.

From this point on follow proper maintenance for Bermuda lawns following the Bermuda Bible. That means keeping the Bermuda very short by mowing 2 to 3 times a week at 1-inch or less. Fertilize every 30 to 45 days during the growing season. And learn how to water properly only when the grass needs it. DO NOT OVER WATER.

Do these things and your yard will look as good as the golf courses around you do. Continue doing what you are doing and your lawn will look like crap all year long.

So in summary, and I mean no offense, but your problem is neither you or your gardener know what they are doing. Well your gardener might, but he is not getting paid to do all the work necessary.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Hi LawnObsessed, welcome to GardenWeb! You'll find lots of good information here and helpful people.

I'd think more than twice about using atrazine in your situation.

A New York Times article has this to say about atrazine:

[Atrazine] has become among the most common contaminants in American reservoirs and other sources of drinking water.

Now, new research suggests that atrazine may be dangerous at lower concentrations than previously thought. Recent studies suggest that, even at concentrations meeting current federal standards, the chemical may be associated with birth defects, low birth weights and menstrual problems.

Laboratory experiments suggest that when animals are exposed to brief doses of atrazine BEFORE BIRTH, they may become more vulnerable to cancer LATER.

An investigation by The New York Times has found that in some towns, atrazine concentrations in drinking water have spiked, sometimes for longer than a month. But the reports produced by local water systems [local water companies] for residents often fail to reflect those higher concentrations.

Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] say Americans are not exposed to unsafe levels of atrazine. They say that current regulations are adequate to protect human health, and that the doses of atrazine coming through people's taps are safe - even when concentrations jump.

But some scientists and health advocates disagree. They argue that the recent studies offer enough concerns that the government should begin re-examining its regulations. They also say that local water systems - which have primary responsibility for the safety of drinking water - should be forced to monitor atrazine more frequently, in order to detect short-term increases and warn people when they occur.

The E.P.A. has not cautioned pregnant women about the potential risks of atrazine so that they can consider using inexpensive home filtration systems.

But the head of another government agency voiced apprehension. "I'm very concerned about the general population's exposure to atrazine," said Linda S. Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. "We don't really know what these chemicals do to fetuses or prepubescent children."

"At a minimum, pregnant women should have access to accurate information about what's in their drinking water," Dr. Birnbaum added.

In January, a Government Accountability Office report said that the E.P.A.'s system for assessing toxic chemicals was broken, and that the agency often failed to gather adequate information on whether chemicals posed health risks.

[The G.A.O. or Government Accountability Office works for the U.S. Congress, not for the executive branch like the E.P.A.]

Forty percent of the nation's community water systems violated the Safe Drinking Water Act at least once last year, according to a Times analysis of E.P.A. data, and dozens of chemicals have been detected at unsafe levels in drinking water.

"The E.P.A. is working with weak laws, basic research at the agency is often seriously underfunded, and in some cases there's institutional inertia against change," he added. "That's contributed to a sense that the agency is often slow to react to new science showing risks."

....some scientists and health advocates argue that the chemical deserves special scrutiny because it is so widely used. The European Union, for instance, has banned atrazine as part of a precautionary policy that prohibits pesticides that easily contaminate groundwater. (European regulators did not evaluate the chemical's health risks.)

Atrazine, which is sold under various brand names including AAtrex, is most commonly used on corn in farming states. But it can also be found on lawns, gardens, parks and golf courses. Sometimes, the only way to avoid atrazine during summer months, when concentrations tend to rise as cropland is sprayed, is by forgoing tap water and relying on bottled water or using a home filtration system.

E.P.A. officials note that anyone using atrazine must complete a short training course and is warned to wear long-sleeve shirts and pants, as well as chemical-resistant gloves and shoes, when spraying. The chemical cannot be applied near lakes, reservoirs or other bodies of water.

Recent studies suggest that when adults and fetuses are exposed to even small doses of atrazine, like those allowed under law, they may suffer serious health effects.

"There are short, critical times - like when a fetus's brain is developing - when chemicals can have disastrous impacts, even in very small concentrations," said Deborah A. Cory-Slechta, a professor at the University of Rochester in New York who has studied atrazine's effects on the brain and serves on the E.P.A.'s science advisory board. "The way the E.P.A. tests chemicals can vastly underestimate risks."

"There's still a huge amount we don't know about atrazine," she added.

In recent years, five epidemiological studies published in peer-reviewed journals have found evidence suggesting that small amounts of atrazine in drinking water, including levels considered safe by federal standards, may be associated with birth defects - including skull and facial malformations and misshapen limbs - as well as low birth weights in newborns and premature births.

Some of those studies suggest that as atrazine concentrations rise, the incidence of birth defects grows. One study - by researchers at Purdue University, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives - suggests that concentrations as small as 0.1 parts per billion may be associated with low birth weights.

The E.P.A. generally does not require water systems to notify residents unless the yearly average of atrazine in drinking water exceeds 3 parts per billion, and under a determination made earlier this decade, the agency considers one-day exposures of up to 297 parts per billion safe.

Another study suggests that concentrations of atrazine in drinking water below the E.P.A. thresholds may disrupt menstrual cycles.

Many of those studies examined large populations that are already exposed to atrazine...

....Six researchers asked by The Times to review the epidemiological studies said the results were troubling. "These suggest real reasons for concern," said Melissa Perry, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. "The results need to be replicated, but they suggest there are real questions for policy makers about what constitutes safe levels of atrazine."

Concerns have also been raised by researchers at the E.P.A. itself. Since 2003, for instance, research published by agency scientists in journals like Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology has shown that when rats are exposed to brief doses of atrazine as fetuses, some experience delayed puberty and their mammary glands change in ways that could make them more vulnerable to cancer later in life.

"The morphological changes we see look similar to those caused by other compounds that make tissue more susceptible to carcinogens," said Suzanne Fenton, an E.P.A. scientist who has written about atrazine.

Dr. Fenton says she is no longer working on atrazine. Other E.P.A. employees also said they had been encouraged to redirect their energies to other chemicals, because of insufficient resources and competing priorities.

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act was created, in part, with cities like Piqua, Ohio, in mind. A town of 20,500, it has its own water system, and thanks to federal right-to-know laws created to warn residents about chemicals in their drinking water, Piqua's officials must test for atrazine and other substances and inform people of the highest concentrations detected.

But when spikes in atrazine occur in Piqua and elsewhere, residents often do not learn of them, a review of E.P.A. and state data shows.

Since local water systems test for atrazine as infrequently as once a year, the E.P.A. has required that the companies manufacturing the chemical, primarily Syngenta, monitor the drinking water of a sample of towns - as many as 154 communities - as often as once a week. The companies submit that data to federal officials. The E.P.A. says those tests indicate that few towns have violated Safe Drinking Water limits for atrazine.

However, a Times review of Syngenta's data shows that some communities had large spikes of atrazine in their drinking water, sometimes for months at a time. But residents were not warned.

For instance, in April 2005, the drinking water in Piqua contained atrazine concentrations of 59.57 parts per billion. The residents of Piqua were also exposed to elevated concentrations of atrazine in 2004 and 2007. Data shows similar patterns in dozens of other cities, like Versailles, Ind., and Evansville, Ill.

But the people of Piqua never learned about those spikes from local water officials or the E.P.A. City officials test for atrazine only once a month in the spring, and the annual report sent to residents in 2005 said the highest level of atrazine detected was only 11.6 parts per billion - 80 percent lower than the peak measured by Syngenta. Residents were also not told when peaks had occurred or how long they lasted or whether there were multiple spikes.

Syngenta said the company regularly provided city officials with testing results. Piqua officials were largely unaware of or did not use those notifications.

"I didn't know that we got any information about atrazine besides our own testing," said Frederick E. Enderle, Piqua's city manager since 2005. "I'm not even sure what we would do with it."

Some residents are angry.

"This makes my blood boil," said Jeff Lange, a Piqua resident and environmental activist. "I have friends and family drinking this water. How are pregnant women or sick people supposed to know when to avoid it?"

Drinking water experts say atrazine spikes most likely occur in many other towns that are not monitored by Syngenta. In those areas, there is essentially no way for residents or officials to monitor how high levels go.

E.P.A. officials said that under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the data collected by third parties, like Syngenta, did not fall under right-to-know provisions and that Piqua was required only to notify residents based on the city's testing.

But residents, including Mr. Lange, said Syngenta's findings should have at least prompted the city to test more frequently, or led the E.P.A. to tell the city to change its testing schedule.

E.P.A. officials also said they do not believe that atrazine spikes like those in Piqua are dangerous. "A one-time reading of 59 parts per billion in finished water does not pose a risk to human health," the agency wrote.

However, studies like the one at Purdue suggest there are health risks at much smaller concentrations, and other studies suggest those risks rise as exposures grow.

Critics contend that atrazine is just one of the many chemicals the E.P.A. has not regulated with sufficient caution.

But residents, including Mr. Lange, said Syngenta's findings should have at least prompted the city to test more frequently, or led the E.P.A. to tell the city to change its testing schedule.

E.P.A. officials also said they do not believe that atrazine spikes like those in Piqua are dangerous. "A one-time reading of 59 parts per billion in finished water does not pose a risk to human health," the agency wrote.

However, studies like the one at Purdue suggest there are health risks at much smaller concentrations, and other studies suggest those risks rise as exposures grow.

Critics contend that atrazine is just one of the many chemicals the E.P.A. has not regulated with sufficient caution.

"There's pretty broad consensus that the laws regarding toxic substances need to be modernized and overhauled, and that the E.P.A. needs more resources," said Mr. Olson of Pew, who added that the agency's new leadership had begun addressing many issues.

"But in the meantime, people are getting exposed to dangerous chemicals," Mr. Olson said. "And the E.P.A. isn't responding swiftly enough."

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Here's a link to the New York Times article if you want to read more. Best wishes for your bermuda lawn in sunny California :-)


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Hi TexasWeed:

Thanks for the feedback. This is good to know. You are correct, I have no idea what I'm doing but I'm ready to learn. My gardener may know proper maintenance but as I've experienced from many service folks in the desert from gardeners to handyman, desert time is like Island time: slow; and no one is going to go a single step further than necessary. So I need to put the pressure on. The gardeners job thus far has been to keep the grass cut and green. We pay extra for the winter lawn install and I generally put down the fertilizer when I'm down there, which is about four times per year. I don't even know if the gardener mulches or bags. I doubt we are able to cut more frequently than weekly as we have cost considerations on the rental. But I would like to give him better direction how to manage the lawn.

The green up time is weeks later than the surrounding homes. If Princess 77 is not recommended, what do you think I could use for an earlier green up time?

My take-away from your summary is that the rye grass should be killed at the start of spring to give the Bermudagrass a chance to thrive. Instead of Atrazine, can my gardener scalp the rye-grass as an alternative? Would I then over seed with a new bermuda grass at that time to introduce the new grass type? Then, what alternative weed control could I use if I skipped the Atrazine?

Based on your Bible, I won't be able to follow it to a "T" so I'm not expecting a 10 our of 10 for my lawn, but would be nice to get it up to a 7.

Thanks in advance for any further advice you can provide.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

LawnObsessed, I'm glad I helped you avoid the mistake of using atrazine. It's a very toxic chemical.

See the following GardenWeb thread for an important conversation about atrazine, including Texas-Weed's comments:

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/lawns/msg0408511718052.html


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

My take-away from your summary is that the rye grass should be killed at the start of spring to give the Bermudagrass a chance to thrive.

Correct.

Instead of Atrazine, can my gardener scalp the rye-grass as an alternative?

Well he could but it will not work worth a darn. The Rye would still continue to grow until the summer heat kills it off, which is what is happening now.

Would I then over seed with a new bermuda grass at that time to introduce the new grass type?

No sir. Honestly there is nothing wrong with the type of Bermuda grass you have now. The problem is the Rye grass competing with the Bermuda in Spring and Early Summer. Changing Bermuda type will not change that.

Then, what alternative weed control could I use if I skipped the Atrazine?

None that is very effective other than rigorous frequent mowing several times a week and heavy fertilizer applications, and minimum watering to a Bermuda grass schedule. Rye needs lot of water.

Don't let the fear mongers propaganda blind you with BS. There are two very effective herbicides used to kill off Rye grass in Bermuda lawns; MSMA and Atrazine. MSMA has been banned by the Employment Prevention Agency (EPA).

Atrazine is widely available. If you have ever eaten corn or sugar, it was treated with Atrazine to combat weed control. Atrazin eis also used extensively in the South and Southeast on Saint Augustine and Centipede grass to control weeds. It is the only effective herbicide that be be used on on SA and Centipede without doing serious damage to them.

If you use Atrazine, you will only use it once a year to kill the Rye Grass and you would only use it at half strength.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Hello ZoysiaSod:

Yes, thank you. I would also like to acknowledge your alternate views on the chemical Atrazine and corresponding links in your post.

It's good to know available options and risks in order to make informed decisions. The property houses pets and small children, so I do want to take that into consideration. The lawn does not need to be organic, but I also don't want to go to far in the opposite direction either. I don't know if I would trust my current gardener service with heavy duty chemical usage. My hope is to supplement his services with fertilizer and pre-emergence schedule I can do on my own. I am fine to use products that can be found in local stores.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Hi TexasWeed

It sounds like this winter lawn is the root of my problems!

Is there a grass type available for my area that will provide year round green color?

I wanted to clarify that I have broad leaf weeds as well to contend with. So I am assuming Dimension will work on that?

I think I have your overall concept down otherwise: Start with bermudagrass program of water/fertilizer/mowing, then overseed ryegrass for winter, then in spring stop ryegrass with herbicde and kickstart bermuda grass with fertilizer.

I have a lot to consider. I may skip the winter lawn this year, paint the dormant grass green, and give the bermudagrass a chance to come in healthy and strong in spring 2013.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Funny you would include a comment about painting the dormant bermuda turf. Here in the southeastern U.S., there are several prominent golf courses and some sport turf fields that paint their dormant turf for winter color. If it is done correctly on your lawn, you may never consider the hassle of overseeding again.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Hello nearandwest:

You have opened the door to a new question. I don't see any threads on painting a lawn in these forums. I've heard of it done on TV home improvement shows. Any tips on links or resources how to do this the right way?


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Just about any good lawn care company can dye the Bermuda grass for you. Here is a link to one of the premier dyes used on sports fields and golf courses.

http://www.usspecialtycoatings.com/Products/GREEN-TURF-DYE.aspx


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

I would echo TW's comments and suggest that you do some research in your area and find out who has experience and positive references for providing such a service. The idea of painting turfgrass was actually started in southern California back in the 1950's. I feel sure that there are at least a couple of good companies in your area that will provide such a service.

I would recommend that you not try to do this yourself.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

I don't mind my zoysia lawn turning brown over the fall and winter. It's a pleasant color, and soothing on the eyes. There's nothing wrong with brown grass over fall and winter. It's something very natural. Obviously every person has their own preferences, but I just leave my grass alone and let it do what comes naturally for it.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Yes, there certainly is a difference in appearance between zoysia and bermuda during their dormant periods. The zoysia has a dormant gold appearance, while the bermuda is more of a dormant brown appearance.

However, for those who wish to have green color on bermudagrass during the winter without the hassles and transitions of overseeding, painting the turf is a viable option.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Hi, a couple yards in my neighborhood have bermuda lawns which go dormant in fall, and the color looks fine to me. I've also read the same opinion from one or two authors--I've forgotten who they are. I've read about 10 books on lawn care in the past year, so the authors sometimes get jumbled in my memory :-)

I guess I just prefer the natural way. I don't like messing with my grass if it's not necessary. One author even mentioned the coloring can go wrong and make the lawn look odd [chuckle]


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Hi All

Great feedback! My challenge is to keep the property attractive for tenants as outdoor living in the palm desert area is 365 days a year practically. If it were my now private yard, I would have no problem with brown.

In reality a turf in the desert is not an ideal scenario for me. I would like to have more hard scape, rocks and desert plants, more water friendly, but the yard is 15k sq feet and expensive to convert over. That project will take years to save for. I've done this for other single family homes that I own, but not the big one yet.

In the meantime I would rather have a better quality lawn. I own another property with a 300 sq foot lawn that is a single home maintained by the same gardener and other than nutsedge, it is beautiful even with an over seeded winter lawn, and greens up much faster in spring. I'm assuming the private residence was maintained properly prior to my ownership hence the better quality, versus the multi unit rental im currently having problems with has been neglected up until my ownership.

Hopefully some modifications will go a long way to improving the situation. Once the winter lawn is established, I'll do a couple rounds of dimension to control weeds. Then in spring, cut the water for two weeks to kill/stress the winter lawn and heavily slow release fertilize the Bermuda with a deep water as Texas Weed suggests. Atrazine I understand will help create a perfect lawn, but there are safety and health concerns.

I will ask my gardener about Atrazine but based on my experience, I'm likely to hear "What's that?" from my gardener. I'm recalling a discussion now that he may cut the water in spring to kill the winter lawn. I'll need to verify that. I'm hoping that as an option B this will be an improvement, maybe in conjunction with a spring scalping as well. My mother in law lives in the desert, I'll ask what her gardener does too.

Atrazine means my gardener has to do more work, versus cutting the water for two weeks means he gets half a month vacation from maintaining my lawn yet collects full service payment for the month. Like I said, "desert time" is a way of life, a path of least amount of work possible.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Is this a Vacation Rental property?


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Hi Texasweed

This particular property is long term year round tenants. 3 units total on property. 5 adults, 1 child, two dogs. In addition to turf are lantanas, palm trees, fruit trees all within the turf field.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

LawnObsessed - There is no grass species that can stay green year-round in Palm Springs. Those that can survive the summers go dormant in the winters, and those that grow all winter die when it gets hot.

If you have a 15,000 square foot lawn, consider the cost savings in lawn care and water bills ... that goes a long way towards paying for the conversion.

You can convert section by section if you have in-ground sprinklers ... kill the grass (see link below) in one section, switch each one to drip, and do your planting.

If yo9u let the tenants know you are saving water and preventing their rent from going up, they will probably be understanding.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to kill Bermuda grass


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

LawnObsessed wrote:
> Then in spring, I'll cut the water for two weeks to kill/stress the winter lawn and heavily slow release fertilize the Bermuda with a deep water.... I'm recalling a discussion now that [my gardener] may cut the water in spring to kill the winter lawn. I'll need to verify that. I'm hoping that as an option B this will be an improvement, maybe in conjunction with a spring scalping as well....Atrazine means my gardener has to do more work, versus cutting the water for two weeks means he gets half a month vacation from maintaining my lawn yet collects full service payment for the month."
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Pennsylvania State professor A. J. Turgeon says don't cut the water to your Bermuda in spring in an attempt to stress the overseeded perennial rye winter lawn. Professor Turgeon writes in his 9th edition book Turfgrass Management (not to be confused with Iowa State Professor Nick Christian's 4th edition book Fundamentals of Turfgrass Management--the 2 books have similar titles):

Irrigate to maintain adequate moisture. While withholding irrigation can further stress the overseeded turfgrasses during the [spring] transition period, this is not an appropriate practice, as inadequate soil mositure can result in severe damage to the shallow-rooted bermudagrass.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Pennsylvania State professor A. J. Turgeon says don't cut the water to your Bermuda in spring in an attempt to stress the overseeded perennial rye winter lawn. Professor Turgeon writes in his 9th edition book Turfgrass Management (not to be confused with Iowa State Professor Nick Christian's 4th edition book Fundamentals of Turfgrass Management--the 2 books have similar titles):

Irrigate to maintain adequate moisture. While withholding irrigation can further stress the overseeded turfgrasses during the [spring] transition period, this is not an appropriate practice, as inadequate soil mositure can result in severe damage to the shallow-rooted bermudagrass.

Let see what we have here. We have a Academic Yankee Professor in Pennsylvania who has likely never seen or grown any Bermuda grass (his location is strictly cool season grasses), or any grass for that matter as he is Acedemic which means he only knows theory and has never really ever done anything, telling folks in the South how to raise Bermuda grass? And this is the type of person you seek advice from and preach?

Now if this was a Professor of say the University of Georgia Tifton campus where they hold patents on dozens of varieties of Bermuda Grass, or Oklahoma State University would be a credible source. Now if he wants to speak to cool season grasses like Penncross Bent, Pennfine Rye, Pennstar Blue Grass, Pennlawn Fescue, or Penneagle Bent is fine, but he can take no credit for it because that was the work of Joe Duich. But no Yankee professor has expertise in southern warm season grasses as that is not what they grow.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Texas-Weeder, why do you always try to make it a South-North thing? You don't know Doctor Turgeon's experience. He may be from the north or the south. He very well could have worked on a bermuda sod farm for many years before becoming a professor. I had many professors at the Univesity of Missouri--Columbia who were in private enterprise for many years before studying to become methodical academic researchers. I'm sure Doctor Turgeon has read or is familiar with every single research study on bermuda that has been conducted over the past 90 years by researchers conducting studies in both the South and the North.

I'm sure his knowledge of grass is far vaster than yours. Maybe you and he ought to be quizzed with 100 questions about grass, and see who comes out on top? I know on whom I'll be betting my money, even at 100 to 1 odds - LOL.

By the way, every 7 years professors go on sabbattical to other institutions in other parts of the country and other parts of the world to increase their knowledge. Sabbatticals typically last a full year.

I just looked up Professor Turgeon's professional background. Once again, Texas-Weed, you speak from ignorance. A. J. Turgeon worked from 1980 to 1983 at the Texas A&M Center in Dallas as Professor and Resident Director of Research.

From 1983 to 1986 he was in private enterprise at Tru Green Corporation as Vice President for Research and Technical Services.

His long career has encompassed time in other parts of the country as well. By the way, from 1965 to 1968 he was in the United States Army as an Infantry Officer and Helicopter Pilot.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

I took a look at what the author of my other turfgrass textbook has to say about spring transition of a cool season grass overseeded into bermuda. Nowhere does Doctor Nick say to cut water during the spring transition. And he based his recommendations on research published by Beard in 2001 and McCarty and Miller in 2002.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

I just looked up Professor Turgeon's professional background. Once again, Texas-Weed, you speak from ignorance. A. J. Turgeon worked from 1980 to 1983 at the Texas A&M Center in Dallas as Professor and Resident Director of Research.

From 1983 to 1986 he was in private enterprise at Tru Green Corporation as Vice President for Research and Technical Services.

All administrative and no hands on, or application experience. Just an academic paper pusher.

As for me 30 plus years of commercial sod farming and now GCSSA certified Golf Course Superintendent so I will take your bet and money any day. And FWIW I never said watering had anything to do with it. All I am saying is cultural practices do not work as well as chemical.

Once great chemical treatment is burning the Rye grass out with over application of nitrogen fertilizer applied to wet turf at a application rate of 2-lbs per 1000/ft2. Good ole urea 46-0-0 will burn it up and boost the Bermuda. Just ask any golf course super in the south with Bermuda fairways and/or greens. That technique comes from UGA.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Texas-Weed wrote:
All administrative and no hands on, or application experience. Just an academic paper pusher.

Lol. You're a funny guy. Research is very hands-on. Extremely hands-on. I'm sure your sod farm has benefited many times and multiple fold from the decades of rigorous research conducted by university "paper pushers," as you put it.

I give up. Someone else try to talk some sense into this guy.

I think you must be back-tracking Texas-Weed. You just wrote:

"And FWIW I never said watering had anything to do with it. All I am saying is cultural practices do not work as well as chemical."

Yes, you're back-tracking because you criticized A. J. Turgeon after I quoted Turgeon as saying not to cut off water during spring transition. That's THE ONLY THING I wrote that Turgeon said when you chose to unfairly criticize him, so you must disagree with his watering recommendation. But now in your latest post you shy away from that. Yep, you're back-tracking your position because you think Turgeon, Nick, Beard, McCarty, and Miller might be right.

Again, the ONLY THING I mentioned about Turgeon was his watering recommendaton during spring transition. Your criticism of him directly followed that quote. That's the ONLY THING I quoted from Turgeon.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Wow! You're a CGCS? I allowed my certification to expire in 2004, but it certainly did allow me opportunities that I would not have had, otherwise. Congratulations, texas-weed! People who don't know what it means to be a CGCS have no idea of the sacrifice and commitment necessary to prepare for the process of becoming a CGCS. Well done, young man!

I am "old school" when it comes to certain practices in turfgrass management. When we are ready to remove the overseed in the late Spring, I have always had good success using Kerb. It takes out the overseed slowly, and without impacting the other aspects of my turf management program.
However, there was one year when I resorted to using 46-0-0 to burn out the overseed. It was ugly, but it sure was fast!


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Turgeon is a chemical guy too. He doesn't employ cultural practices alone as Texas-Weed was implying of Turgeon. One of the professor's recommended steps during spring transition is using herbicides or plant growth regulators.
Quote:
"Pronamide (Kerb) and several sulfonylurea herbicides, including foramsulfuron (Revolver), metsulfuron (Manor), rimsulfuron (TranXit), and trifloxysulfuron (Monument), my be useful for accelerating the removal of overseeded turfgrasses and allowing faster recovery of the bermudagrass.

"Herbicide-assisted removal should not be initiated too early in the spring, as a thin stand of bermudagrass may result and persist until temperatures increase sufficiently to promote satisfactory recovery. Herbicide treatments should begin no sooner than 1 to 2 weeks after the bermudagrass has resumed active growth."

Then he goes on to talk about some plant growth regulators used in the early spring that can inhibit the growth of overseeded turfgrasses.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

I'd like to dismiss the name calling BS and try to help the guy. There are some factors nobody has considered.

1. Palm Springs has no ground water...except for the actual springs and that's off limits to just about everyone. Besides its only enough water to grow a few palm trees. There is no ground water at all for 100 miles. The only lake is 50 miles away, and that is the Salton Sea. Palm Springs' drinking water is snow melt from Colorado delivered by the Colorado River and canals. I'm not suggesting to use Atrazine, but the ground water contamination argument against using it is faulty in this case.

2. Palm Springs only gets 1/2 day of sunlight. It is placed smack up against the base of a 10,000 foot mountain. The sun goes behind the mountain at 4pm every day in the summer and earlier in the winter. This fact makes any bermuda a relatively poor choice. I would tend toward St Augustine or even fescue.

3. Look at any corner of Palm Springs and you will see Marathon, Marathon II and Marathon III fescue growing successfully, year round. If you want year round, deep green grass, that is your choice. The numbers designate various degrees of dwarfness. MIII is the shortest. The only problem with fescue is the heat. Typically the desert dwellers counteract the heat by applying water more frequently than the rest of the world does.

4. I've seen painted bermuda in the desert. It looks horrible. They spray it bluegreen and, because of the underlying yellow bermuda, the color that shows is yellowish chartreuse.

If you decide to keep your bermuda, DO NOT EVER overseed it with bermuda. Seeded type of bermuda is all a variety of common bermuda. The sod type is much different. If you mix the two, you will be very sorry.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

I have many books related to turfgrass management by numerous authors, including Nick Christians, A.J Turgeon, and most prominently, James Beard. In particular, the series of turf management books by James Beard are affectionately referred to as "The Turfgrass Bible" by Golf Course Superintendents across the country. All the books I have collected have served me well in my many years of Golf Course Maintenance and Management.

There is no substitute for experience when it comes to properly managing the demanding expectations of today's golf enthusiasts. I live it and breathe it every single day.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

"I've seen painted bermuda in the desert. It looks horrible. They spray it bluegreen and, because of the underlying yellow bermuda, the color that shows is yellowish chartreuse."

Ok Dave, I'll have to take your word for it. I've never been to the Palm Springs, CA area so I have no knowledge of how it looks in that location. I have seen it here in the southeastern U.S., and when done properly with the right product, you would never know it was painted.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Thank you NearAndWest. I picked up tonight one of Beard's books on Amazon.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Nearandwest, I would bet the lawn paint used for home owners is not the paint used on golf courses. Can you recommend a product?


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Cannot answer for Nearandwest but US Specialty Coatings make an extremely good product used by most Collegiate and Professional Sports fields and golf courses. You can get any shade of green you want and no fake looking blue color

http://www.usspecialtycoatings.com/Products/GREEN-TURF-DYE.aspx


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Folow UP

Should have added this link for residential dyes made by US Specialty Coatings.

http://www.bestgrasspaint.com/


 o
Glyphosphate

"Herbicide-assisted removal should not be initiated too early in the spring, as a thin stand of bermudagrass may result and persist until temperatures increase sufficiently to promote satisfactory recovery. Herbicide treatments should begin no sooner than 1 to 2 weeks after the bermudagrass has resumed active growth."

Use that method when using Round Up and you will severely damage your Bermuda with it. If RU is used the Bermuda has to be completely dormant.

For a homeowner the safest, most effective, and lowest cost method is wait until at least you see the Bermuda breaking dormancy, or actively growing if you prefer, wet the grass down, and apply 46-0-0 urea at a rate of 5 pounds of product per 1000/ft2.

The Rye grass will be dead in 24 to 48 hours, and the Bermuda going gangbuster in 5 to 7 days. It may burn the Bermuda a bit but will rebound very quickly and will be gone with the first mowing.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Here are a couple loose ends I wanted to add to this thread:

I should have mentioned that the NY Times article was published in August 2009, so when it mentions "last year" or "last decade," you'll know the timeframe.

Here's an interesting article about XY male frogs becoming female frogs as a result of atrazine exposure:

http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2010/03/01/frogs/


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Hi All:

Thank you for the lively discussion.

To clarify a few points from the original post, the property is specifically located in Bermuda Dunes, about 30 minutes East of Palm Springs far away from the mountain ranges, and receives full sun all day. The goal is to be a notch above surrounding homes to attract and keep tenants, I don't consider a brown lawn an option for this purpose.

Water in the desert is very inexpensive, and the difference between a lawn and hardscape/desert plants is about $80 a month, or $960 per year. A complete hardscape overhaul will cost $10,000. I would rather take my $10k today and invest in another property (while real estate prices are still low) and NOT on a new landscape. So for now, the lawn is the less expensive option. Painting the lawn or converting to Marathon will require a bit more research.

Why don't I want to overseed the bermuda with new bermuda? What exactly will happen?


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Texas-Weed wrote:
> You can lay the sod now, just not the optimum time to do it...
But you have raised a huge RED FLAG. You are in DFW and want to replace Bermuda lawn with Saint Augustine? Why?

You just as well go to the Middle East and promote the USA and Christ as that will be easier, take less time, and more rewarding.
========

Texas-Weed wrote the above in a different thread but I thought I'd reply in this one. I'm an atheist, although I still enjoy attending Christmas services. I guess I just read too many science books in high school.

I should have said ZZ-chromosome male frogs, not XY male frogs in my post above.

Regading not seeding improved varieties of common bermuda into a vegetatively produced hybrid bermuda lawn, I imagine the bermuda experts may say the hybrid bermuda is a much higher quality lawn; it looks a lot better than a seeded bermua lawn, or so I'll guess that's what they'll say. I'm not an expert on bermuda though. I know zoysia much better since that's what I grow. Zoysia looks sooo good and it's much less work than bermuda. For example, you don't need to cut zoysia as low or as often as bermuda to keep zoysia looking good. You can even cut zoysia as high as 2 inches, just once a week, or even less frequently in times of drought. During this last drought, I only needed to cut my zoysia after 5 weeks! Zoysia doesn't grow vertically as fast as bermuda. Bermuda grows tall like a weed :-)


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Good questions.

Without looking at your current Bermuda I can only assume it is a hybrid Bermuda and most likely Tifway-I which is a very high quality Bermuda grass. The hybrids have much finer texture and dense canopy with darker deep green color than the common types. The hybrids in general have better disease, insect, drought, and cold tolerance than the common types.

If you get the Rye Grass problem under control, and use proper cultural practice for Bermuda lawns, the hybrid Bermuda will fix itself by filling in the thin area and form a nice dense carpet like appearance like you see on the golf fairways.

Try this call around to the golf courses and ask if they know what type of Bermuda sod was installed in the residential areas. Typically the builders all use just one or two local sod farms and use the same variety. Chances are it will be the same variety used on the fairways of the golf course.

Exactly what can happen if you mix the varieties? Kind of obvious you will have a mix of higher and lower quality grass. If you mow high the lower quality common seeded variety will dominate. Don't get me wrong it will work but if you have some bare areas and seed it that area will look different with a coarser less dense texture and not the same dark green color.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

Here is a picture of common bermuda (and a few other weeds) invading hybrid bermuda. The common is the roundish patch at the top of the pic.

The picture was taken in March so the grass had not really come out of dormancy. Also the picture was resized to fit into this site. When I zoom in on the original it looks pretty good. Zooming in on the image here is not so good, but do it anyway (copy to another viewer to zoom). You can clearly see the large blades in the invader versus the very fine blades of the Tif 419.

All seeded varieties are based on the original Arizona common. If you seed the relatively wide bladed varieties into the fine bladed variety, you'll never get a great appearance. That would be like painting over the Mona Lisa with house paint.


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RE: Bermuda Dunes

Fifteen yard penalty for providing false information! Palm Springs and La Quinta are two locations in the desert where the sun goes behind the mountain early in the day. Bermuda Dunes is a different location altogether. I have seen Marathon survive in Indio and Palm Desert, but they water it every morning. That flies in the face of all that is normal in the lawn world. I would love to get in there and see if there was a better way to care for it in that heat. The fact that it grows at all is miraculous to me.

Here are a few things that will put you a notch above the rest:

1. mow Marathon at about 3-4 inches.
2. fertilize Marathon with organic fertilizer like alfalfa pellets (rabbit food) as often as you can afford to. You cannot over apply but a good amount is 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Start your first app at 10 pounds and do not apply for at least a month. Then your second app will go much better at 20 pounds. Click here to find your local feed stores. It comes in 50-pound bags and should cost about $12.

If you are going to keep bermuda, then find the Bermuda Bible online and memorize it. You'll become the Bermuda Dunes go-to guy for bermuda. Note that having great bermuda requires mowing 3x per week and heavy feeding once a month. No other grass requires that amount of maintenance.


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RE: Bermuda Lawn Changeover and Winter Lawn

More info about atrazine at http://www.panna.org/current-campaigns/atrazine

and

http://www.nrdc.org/health/atrazine/


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