Top Ten Reasons Not to Plant a Winter Lawn
Sustaining a lush, green lawn throughout the year is
appealing to many home and business owners. However, the
additional water needed for cool-season grasses is difficult to
justify when water is such a precious resource.
By learning to accept a less than lush lawn during the winter
months, property owners will not only realize significant water
savings for themselves and their community, they will also save
a lot of time and money. So if you're looking for a reason not
to overseed, take a look at these...
10. Save time - No need to scalp the lawn, prepare the seedbed,
seed, water, or mow.
9. Save water - Getting ryegrass seed to germinate requires
watering three times a day or more, and spikes in water usage
are always noticeable during the months of October and November
when winter rye is seeded. By not overseeding, over 8,000
gallons of water can be saved for every 1,000 square feet of
grass each season.
8. Preserve water quality - Less fertilizers and pesticides will
be needed. Much of our water pollution comes from runoff of
these products from urban landscapes.
7. Save money - Save on the cost of seed, labor, water, and
gasoline for mowing. Also, wastewater rates are often determined
by your winter water usage. If you use more water in the winter,
your utility bill wastewater rates will be higher the rest of
6. Save landfill space - Scalping Bermuda grass creates a great
deal of waste for the landfills. Ryegrass clippings can create
additional waste all winter and spring.
5. Save the air - Gasoline mowers and other lawn equipment
contribute to our air pollution problems, and the scalping
process releases dust and other particles into the air.
4. Decrease noise pollution - Mowers, weed whackers, and leaf
blowers have become a major source of background noise in many
neighborhoods. The drone of lawn equipment contributes to an
already noisy world.
3. Save frustration - Problems with seed germination,
fertilizers, diseases, and irrigation are all common when
planting a winter lawn.
2. Set an example -We live in a desert and this is an
opportunity to demonstrate your community leadership with a
responsible outlook towards our water supply.
And the number one reason not to plant a winter lawn...
1. Give your Bermuda a break - Overseeding can be stressful for
your Bermuda grass. In the fall, scalping the summer grass
before dormancy doesn't allow for adequate storage of energy in
the roots. In the spring, the rye competes with Bermuda, and
customers often withhold water to transition from winter to
summer grass. Unfortunately, this will also stress the Bermuda.
You say you have to overseed...
OK, OK, so you say that you have to overseed. Either your
spouse will divorce you if you don't, your HOA requires you to
overseed or you'll get fined (and you're still working on
changing that code), or you just have to put your toes into some
green grass in the winter and you can't afford a trip south of
the equator? Here are some tips to keep it as water efficient as
- Follow these proper steps for
Fall Overseeding from Western Sod.
- Don't overseed too early. Mid-October to mid-November is
best. Less water will be needed and the rye won't get
stressed from the higher temperatures of early fall. Check
out the desert lawn care guide linked on our Water - Use
It Wisely resources page for extra care tips.
- Don't overseed the entire yard if you don't have to.
Just do select areas.
- Water your grass properly. To germinate the grass seed,
apply light, frequent watering about four times a day. Cut
back on the frequency once grass is germinated. For winter
watering schedules check out our
Landscape Watering by the Numbers guide. It tells you
how much and how often to water to keep your grass healthy
and beautiful without water waste.
- If your grass is in your back yard, you might want to
consider having rye grass only and having no grass (or
watering) in the summer months. We're still not sure how
well this would work (weeds, dust, etc.), but if you try it
and it works well, let us know.
- When you've had enough of this vicious cycle, consider
removing all the grass. Yep, we have a guide for that too.
removal guide is another link on our Water - Use It
Wisely resources page.