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To Overseed or Not for Winter Lawns?

Some believe year-round green grass is beneficial. In the desert, Bermuda grass grows from spring through fall and becomes dormant in winter. Some residents choose to overseed with ryegrass in the late fall to produce a temporary winter lawn. Much time, effort, and money goes into establishing and maintaining winter lawns. There are many benefits to forgoing winter lawns while giving your Bermuda grass the rest it needs.

When Bermuda Grass Is Overseeded with Ryegrass
Overseeding with ryegrass prevents Bermuda grass from completing its life cycle of storing energy prior to its winter dormancy. When temperatures begin to rise in springtime, the Bermuda grass lacks energy and therefore has difficulting reestablishing itself.

If Bermuda Grass Is Not Overseeded with Ryegrass
Bermuda grass can remain green until the mid-November at which time it becomes dormant. You can expect Bermuda grass to start actively growing when the weather warms sometime during mid-March. Without competition from ryegrass, Bermuda grass can more quickly and efficiently recover from winter dormancy.

Overseed Only Specific Areas
Overseeding does not have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Winter overseeding can be limited to high-traffic or high-visibility areas while allowing low-use areas to become dormant.

Sign of overwatering winter rye lawn

Mushrooms are a sign of
overwatering.
If you choose
to overseed, our Landscape
Watering bythe Numbers

brochure will help you
become water-efficient.


Costs and Benefits
Winter lawn dormancy will result in significant cost savings on labor, seed, fertilizer and water. Check with your landscaper to determine which costs are associated with winter overseeding. An estimated 1,000 square feet of winter grass takes about 8,000 gallons of water each season. Please see water Rates & Fees to estimate potential dollar savings.

Additionally, your sewer fees may increase as a result of winter ryegrass irrigation if you do not have a dedicated landscape water meter. Scottsdale determines sewer fees from water usage during the months of December, January and February.

Beyond the Wallet
Forgo overseeding and enjoy the benefit of cleaner air, less noise pollution from mowers and blowers, reduced fertilizer runoff and less green-waste to the landfill. Deciding to skip winter lawns demonstrates your commitment to the environment and is easier on the wallet.

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