College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Extension Publications

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Extension Publications

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Extension Publications

The Extension Publications collections in the UA Campus Repository are comprised of both current and historical agricultural extension documents from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at

the University of Arizona.

This item is archived to preserve the historical record. This item may contain outdated information and is not intended to be used as current best practice.

Current extension publications can be found in both the UA Campus Repository, and on the CALS

Publications website,

If you have questions about any materials from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

collections, please contact CALS Publications by sending an email to: [email protected]

Note: This publication replaces the former Extension Service Circular No. 135 under the same title.

Other publications in which you may be interested include:

Circular 130—Arizona Home Gardening

Circular 122—Control Garden Insects

Circular 213—Home Storage of


Circular 237—Planting and Pruning Roses

Circular 242—Flowers for ern Arizona


Circular 243—Flowers for Southern Arizona

Circular 264—Bulbs for Northern


Circular 199—Control Insects of

Flowers, Shrubs and

Shade Trees

Bulletin A-7—Indoor Gardening

Bulletin A-8—Pruning Hedges,

Shrubs and Trees

Copies of these and other publications are available to you at your local County Extension Agent's office.



S e l e c t i n g A L a w n 3

W a r m S e a s o n G r a s s e s . . . . 4

C o o l S e a s o n G r a s s e s . . . . 6

P r e p a r i n g T h e S e e d b e d . . . 9

S e e d i n g & S p r i g g i n g . . . . 1 1

M a i n t e n a n c e Of N e w L a w n s . 13

M a i n t e n a n c e Of Established

L a w n s .







. 14

P l a n t i n g Winter Grass In

B e r m u d a Sod 17

R e n o v a t i o n Of Old Turf . . . 17

W e e d s 18

D i s e a s e s 19

Insects 19

The University of Arizona

75th Anniversary


The authors acknowledge with thanks assistance in the preparation of this bulletin from the Department of Plant Pathology and

Entomology; from Ivan J. Shields, extension plant pathologist; J. N.

Roney, extension entomologist; and

Joseph S. Folkner, assistant horticulturist in the Department of Horticulture.

The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture

Cooperative Extension Service

J. W. Pou, Director

Cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics, The

University of Arizona College of

Agriculture and the United States

Department of Agriculture cooperating. Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and

June 30, 1914.

15M Revised November 1960

Bulletin A-6.

— 2 —

For Arizona


Harvey F. Tate


Cooperative Extension Service


Steve Fazio

Assistant Horticulturist

Agricultural Experiment Station

The University of Arizona v

-L OUR lawn is most important in providing appropriate and attractive landscaping of your home. It forms a soft carpet for recreational activities, and also serves a useful purpose in reducing the amount of dust and mud around the house.

No matter how modest in size your home may be, a well-kept lawn gives the property a look of tidy spaciousness.

So far, the ideal grass which will meet all conditions, has not been found. The best thing to do is to plant those grasses which are best adapted to your area of the state.

This bulletin was prepared to provide you with the cultural information necessary to start and maintain a good lawn.

Selecting A Lawn

The selection of a lawn for the home grounds depends upon several factors. Consider the merits of each grass variety for any given area before making a final decision.


Each lawn variety has a rather exacting temperature preference.

This should be the basis for selecting a lawn for the high or low elevations.


Lawns vary in their ability to grow in shady or partially shaded areas. A specific shade tolerant variety can be used under trees or similar areas, and another variety for open, sunny locations.

— 3 —


Lawns for play areas should be capable of withstanding hard use and not be of a slippery nature.

Less durable varieties can be substituted where a green cover is needed only for appearance.

Annual or Perennial

Some homeowners prefer a oneseason grass to minimize maintenance costs during their absence in summer or winter. Others prefer perennial types. You must decide which is best for you.

Disease Resistance

Disease resistance of lawns is variable with varieties. Nematodeinfested soils can be planted to immune varieties.


Hayfever sufferers should select those varieties of grasses free of pollen-producing seedstalks.


Lawns are classified into two groups relative to their temperature preference.

Cool-season grasses thrive best under cool growing conditions and will survive at temperatures below freezing. These grasses are recommended for lawns in the high elevations where temperatures permit optimum growth during the summer.

Warm-season grasses grow best under high-temperature conditions, which exist in the low elevations during the summer months.

These lawns are not tolerant of frost and will go dormant under continuous freezing conditions.

They emerge again in the spring when temperature conditions are favorable.

During their dormant period in winter the Bermudas can be overseeded with annual cool-season grasses for a green turf during the winter months.

Warm-Season Grasses

The warm-season grasses (green in summer, brown in winter) are best adapted to southern Arizona and the lower valleys of the middle and eastern sections of the state.

They furnish a green lawn during the late spring, summer, and early fall months.

In these areas, the homeowner wishing a winter lawn will have to overseed the summer grasses with an annual cool-season grass adapted to cool, winter temperatures.


(Cynodon species)

Common Bermuda is a very rugged grass, adapted to high temperature conditions. It will grow and spread rapidly on most types of soil. It remains green during the warm months of the year and turns brown in cold weather.

An established sod of Bermuda will stand much drought and abuse.

In warm weather it responds rapidly to fertilization and irrigation.

— 4 —

In the warm valleys, Bermuda is the basic lawn grass and will often invade other lawn varieties. When given proper care and kept in vigorous growing condition it makes a fine lawn and will withstand wear and use as a play area.

Bermuda does not grow well in shade.

Bermuda grass can be overseeded in the late fall, after it is dormant, with annual Rye grass to give a green lawn during the winter months. Bermuda grass will emerge again to give a green lawn without reseeding, since it is a perennial type grass.

Bermuda grass can be started from seed, sprigs, or plugs. It can be planted from April 1 to August


In the warm areas, planting is done by April 1, but it should be delayed until May 15 for areas higher than the Salt River Valley.

Planting after the first of August ill not allow sufficient time for ts to become fully developed by time.

ng Rate: 1 pound hulled

^eed per 300 square feet.

spreads rather rapidly and produces a good sod in one season.

Sprigs should be set out 12 to 15 inches apart, April to August.


Sunturf is another fine-textured hybrid Bermuda grass that was formerly called "Magennis grass".

It has a dark green color. It is not as disease resistant as the common, or U-3 Bermudas.

Start by sprigging, April to August.

Tif green

Tifgreen is a fine-textured Bermuda and has been rated superior to Tiffine. It produces leaf blades which extend from tip to the base of each stem. This characteristic imparts a green color to the lower portion after frost burns the top leaf blades. It is well adapted to areas where common Bermuda is grown.

Start by sprigging, April to August.

Planting Rate: One square yard will sprig from 1000 to 2000 square feet.

U-3 Bermuda

U-3 Bermuda has not been widely planted in Arizona. It is more cold tolerant than common Bermuda and will remain green slightly longer in fall than common Bermuda. It is established by use of sprigs and/or plugs.


Tiffine is a fine-textured hybrid

Bermuda. It grows best in full sun.

Since it is a hybrid, it must be started from sprigs. In good soil it

St. Augustine

(Stenetaphium secundatum)

St. Augustine grass is a broadleafed grass, yellow-green in color.

The stems or runners are rather coarse. It quickly builds a thick sod. It is well adapted to -sun or shade and makes a good lawn under trees.

Since it rarely produces seed, it must be started by sprigging or plugging in the spring. Set the sprigs or plugs 12 to 15 inches apart.

— 5 —

It should be started from April

15 to July 15.

Planting Rate: One square yard

will sprig from 400 to 800 square feet.


Zoysia is a low creeping grass and is adapted to areas where Bermuda is grown.

The three most common types of

Zoysia are: Matrella (Flawn),

Meyer, and Emerald. At present no

accurate comparison can be made between these varieties.

All three varieties seem to be well adapted to climatic conditions in southern Arizona. However, Emerald and Matrella are finer textured than Meyer. Meyer is the most common one grown in Arizona.

Zoysia grass is dark green in color and produces a dense, carpetlike sod. It grows well in full sun or in part shade and usually starts sooner than Bermuda in the spring and remains greener slightly longer in the fall. Sometimes Zoysia may become yellowish green. This can be corrected by spraying with iron sulfate or chelated iron.

It is best not to overseed established Zoysia sod with Rye grass for a winter cover. Much of the

Zoysia sod may be killed by this practice.

Zoysia makes an attractive lawn.

It has to be propagated from small sprigs or plugs, usually about 2 inches in diameter, and set in the seed bed at 12-inch spacings. A period of at least two growing seasons is usually required to get full lawn coverage.

Planting Rate: One square yard

will sprig from 1000 to 2000 square feet.

Cool-Season Grasses

Cool-season lawn grasses are best adapted for lawns in the middle and higher elevations of the state.

Some of these varieties are used as winter lawns in the warmer areas of the state where they are generally overseeded into existing

Bermuda sod.

All of these grasses are perennial, except the Domestic Rye grass, which is an annual. They remain green practically all year in the lower elevations.

Kentucky Blue Grass

(Poa pratensis)

Kentucky Blue grass is the most

common lawn grass in the cool sections of the state. It has wide blades and a deep green color.

There are two strains: Kentucky and Merion. Kentucky has been planted widely and is well adapted to the areas with cool summer temperatures.

Merion is a new strain and is

being tried in many sections. It is supposedly more drought and heat resistant than Kentucky Blue, and will withstand more abuse and wear, but it is subject to some leaf diseases in the lower elevations.

Merion seed is rather expensive on a per-pound basis, but it will seed a much larger area than a pound of Kentucky Blue grass. It is slow in developing a thick sod.

Either one of the Blue grasses can be used as lawn grasses in the warm areas of the state for use in shady places. It should never be

— 6 —

over-seeded with Rye grass.

Seed Blue grasses in the early fall. In northern Arizona, the best time to seed Blue grass is from

July 15 to September 15.

By taking advantage of the rainy season of the year, the grass will have time to become established before severe cold weather. Also, annual weeds will be germinated and can be killed before the lawn is seeded.

In the spring, dry winds and blowing dust make it difficult to establish a good stand of Blue grass.

Seeding Rate: 1 pound to 300 square feet.


(Festuca species)

In Arizona, the Fescues are used mainly in lawn mixtures, although there are special cases where they might be used alone as a lawn grass.

Chewing Fescue

Chewing fescue has a wire-like leaf and does not stool out as rapidly as Creeping fescue. It needs a fairly well drained soil, not too high in fertility. It is fairly tolerant to droughty conditions.

Fescue must be kept mowed regularly or it will become difficult to cut. It is best used in a grass mixture (15 to 20 percent) rather than alone. Chewing fescues have a low nutritional requirement and will form a sod under heavy shade.

Use 15 to 20 percent by weight in lawn mixture.

This variety does very well in shady areas and, in Arizona, is best used in mixtures for the northern sections of the state. It does fairly well on medium soil and stands lack of water as well as any other grass.

Creeping fescue stands up well under traffic.

There are several new strains of

Creeping fescue, but the seed is scarce and expensive. These new strains have not been tried out under Arizona conditions.

Use 15 to 20 percent by weight in lawn mixtures.

Domestic Rye

(Lolium multiflorum)

Domestic Rye grass is a very hardy grass that makes a beautiful green lawn during the winter and spring months in all but the colder sections of the state. When seeded in September and October it makes a rapid growth and establishes itself in 4 to 5 weeks.

Rye does well in sun or partial shade in elevations below 4000 feet.

It makes a beautiful lawn during the winter, but dries out by the last of May or June, and must be reseeded each fall.

Rye grass is used to seed into

Bermuda sods, but should not be used on Blue grass or Fescue.

Planting dates are: Bare ground

—September 15 to November 15.

Top-seeding into established sod—

October 1 to November 15.

Seeding Rate: 1 to l x

/2 pounds per

100 square feet.

Creeping Fescue

Creeping fescue forms a fine turf of wire-like leaves. It spreads by underground rhizomes, which develop into a thick sod.

Perennial Rye

(Lolium perenne)

Perennial Rye grass is very similar to the annual Rye grass and is

— 7 —

handled in the same manner. Generally it does not make a perennial lawn. It becomes "clumpy" after the first season.

Planting season is the same as for domestic Rye grass.

Do not buy a permanent lawn mixture that contains a high percentage of annual grasses or coarse perennial grasses such as orchard or timothy.

Seeding Rate: In general, grass mixtures are sown at the rate of

3 to 4 pounds per 1000 square feet.

Bent Grasses

The Bent grasses are not well adapted for home-lawn use in southern Arizona. Bent grasses like a cool-moist climate and need frequent waterings. They are subject to diseases in areas with high summer temperatures if they are not sprayed with fungicides at frequent intervals.

Grass Mixtures

For cool-season lawns, Blue grass should be the basic grass in the mixture. It has proved itself under a wide variety of conditions.

Each kind of grass is included in a mixture for a specific purpose.

The fescues and Merion, added to

Blue grass mixture, make a sod that will stand more traffic, while

Bent grass thickens the turf of such a mixture.

Since Blue grass is the basic grass for cool season lawns, any mixture should contain from 60% to 75%

Blue grass. A good mixture is 70%

Blue grass, 15% Creeping Red fescue and 15% Chewing fescue.

Clover is very seldom recommended any more in grass mixtures for Arizona. It makes a

"slippery" lawn to play on and will stain clothing. Often the clover tends to become unevenly distributed and crowds out lawn grasses, thus making a spotted lawn.

In purchasing lawn mixtures, be sure to read the label carefully and note the varieties of grasses included. The highest percentage should be Kentucky Blue grass.


(Lippia canesiens)

Lippia is a fast growing plant which makes a good ground cover in one season. The leaves are about one inch long and one-fourth inch in width, light green in color.

Lippia will compete with Bermuda if it is watered and well fertilized during the winter and spring months. It thrives best in hot locations and will stand some wear.

In the spring, Lippia is covered with small rose-colored flowers which attract bees and can be objectionable if children play in the area. In winter, the leaves will take on a brown or bronze color when the temperature goes several degrees below freezing. It will be killed out at about 5 degrees above zero.

Plant by sprigging from April 1 to July 15.

Planting Rate: One square yard will sprig 1000 to 2000 square feet.


(Dichondra repens)

Dichondra is a creeping ground cover that fills in fairly rapidly in good soil. It has a dark green, small clover-like leaf, and needs very little mowing. It grows well in full sun or partial shade.

Dichondra must be grown on a sandy loam or a well-drained soil.

It takes a full growing season or more to establish a smooth lawn.

The old adage, "Haste makes waste", is especially true where the soil is merely loosened with a rake and the seed applied. The results obtained from such practices are usually disappointing.

Know Your Soil

You should know, in general, the kinds of soil you are working with for a lawn.

Sandy, coarse or gravelly soils are usually low in organic matter and fertility. They take water rapidly.

The sandy-loam, and clay-loam soils are usually more fertile and have a greater water-holding capacity.

Need Organic Matter

Most soils in Arizona are low in organic matter and many are low in nitrates, and phosphates. Some alkali is found in most of the soils, and in some areas the content is high enough to present problems in growing a lawn.

Clay soils require large quantities of organic matter or sand to make them easier to work and to prevent the soil particles from sticking together. Barnyard manure and other rotting organic materials create an ideal condition for better air and water penetration.

If the soil is hard and dry, sprinkle or irrigate to a depth of

12 inches. Let the soil dry until it is workable. Never work soil when it is wet enough to stick to tools.

Spade 3 to 4 inches of unscreened barnyard manure or other organic matter into the soil. If the cost of manure is prohibitive, substitute some other type of organic matter for part of the soil. Well-rotted leaves or grass clippings are good to mix with the manure. Water the soil thoroughly, and then level when workable.

Sandy soils tend to lose mineral nutrients rather rapidly. Therefore, they require abundant organic matter to supply plant food and retain moisture. Extremely sandy soils can be improved by the addition of a clay soil.

Apply 3 to 4 inches of unscreened barnyard manure. If the soil is extremely sandy, add 2 to 4 inches of clay soil. Spade, level and water.

Treat for Caliche

In some areas, caliche soils are a problem and require special care.

Caliche soils are low in organic matter and require large amounts of manure or other organic matter to improve their texture.

Remove large chunks of caliche by raking. In severe cases it may be necessary to remove the soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches and replace it with topsoil. Spread 3 to

4 inches of unscreened barnyard manure over the seedbed and spade 8 to 10 inches deep. Water and level.

After the seedbed has been prepared, watering will settle the soil and show up any sunken spots.

Such spots should be filled and leveled before seeding.

Prepare For Planting

Delay planting for at least 10 days to 2 weeks in order to allow sufficient time for weed seed to germinate. Weeds can be hoed, pulled or sprayed with 2,4-D during this waiting period.

Final preparation of the seedbed that has been manured, spaded, leveled and weeded consists of pulverizing the soil with a steel garden rake to a depth of % to 1 inch.

This will break up any crusted soil which might hinder seed germination and early growth.

— 10 —

Sprigged lawns should be mowed when the new growth is about 1 to 1V2 inches in height. This will encourage the development and spreading of runners and underground stolens.

If clippings are heavy they should be removed to prevent molding and scalding the grass. Most well cared for lawns grow rapidly and require rather frequent mowings. One or two mowings a week will be sufficient to keep most lawns at their proper height.


Give newly planted lawns one or two light waterings daily until the seeds germinate and growth starts. Never allow surface soil to dry after seed starts to germinate.

New sprigs must be kept moist until growth starts. Sprinkle evenly and lightly. A strong spray from the hose will wash the seed or sprigs out of place, causing an uneven stand of grass.

After all the seed has germinated, an application of water every 2 or

3 days will keep the lawn in a good

Cover newly seeded steep banks with burlap sacks to prevent soil and seeds from being washed away.

Sprinkle to irrigate. Remove sacks shortly after seeds have germinated.

growing condition. Occasionally during hot dry weather, more frequent watering may be necessary to prevent the young grass from wilting.

Maintenance Of Established Lawns


Mowing requirements for an established lawn will depend on the variety of grass, climatic conditions, and time of year. All home lawn grasses should be clipped at least once a week during the rapid growing season. Dichondra and

Lippia do not need cutting as often as grasses.

The height of the roller attached to the mower can be easily adjusted to regulate the height of cutting.

Before growth starts in the spring, common Bermuda should be clipped to about % inches. This close mowing will remove dead leaves, runners and stems and will allow new growth to develop quickly.

As the season progresses, the height of the cutter bar should be raised about % inch every month or six weeks until the end of the summer season when the turf is l i to l i inches high. A thick turf makes an excellent play area during winter and spring.

— 14-

For the fine-textured strains of

Bermuda, set the mower to cut at a height of % to % inches in the spring. This will encourage quick spreading and density of the lawn.

After s e v e r a l weeks, reset the mower to cut one inch high for remainder of the season.

Blue grass, Fescues and grass mixtures are kept clipped to a height of 14 to 2 inches.

The cutting blade of the mower should be kept sharp all the time to mow evenly and cut without crushing the leaf blades. Many power and hand tools are available for edging the lawn. A trim, neat edge helps to make an attractive lawn.


Watering the established lawn depends on the variety, climatic and soil conditions, so no one definite rule can be applied. Shallow soils (less than 12 inches in depth) cannot store as much water as the deeper soils. The interval between waterings will vary with the depth of the soil.

Light waterings are not recommended as this causes the roots to develop near the surface of the ground and the lawn tends to wilt rapidly during hot dry days. Heavy applications of water stimulate deeper root penetration. Thus less water is used over a period of time.

Flood irrigating every 7 to 10 days should keep the lawn well supplied, if the lawn shows no signs of wilting. A heavy watering with a garden hose every 4 to 6 days will keep the lawn in excellent condition.

Lawns that go into a dormant condition during winter months should be watered to prevent the underground parts from drying out. The frequency of irrigation will depend upon climatic and soil conditions. The intervals of watering extend from 4 to 8 weeks during the dormant period, depending on the amount of rainfall during that period.

Sprinkler systems are becoming more popular. Plastic, galvanized and copper pipe materials are being used.

The simplest kind of a sprinkler system for the home owner is a portable sprinkler which is attached to a garden hose and can be moved around the yard. Many homeowners are installing underground systems having small sprinkler heads set flush with the lawn.

The system is controlled by a set of valves.

Several important factors should be carefully considered before making the installation. Some are: type of system, water pressure, kind of heads, height of heads, and kind and size of pipe to use. The system should be easy to operate, fit into the family budget, and efficiently moisten the lawn area.

Consult a sprinkler installation company before attempting to do the job yourself. The thoroughness and completeness of installation will save money later on.


Like all living plants, grass needs nourishment to grow and maintain its attractive color. The necessary plant foods can be supplied through the use of organic manures, concentrated mineral types of fertilizers, and mixed fertilizers.

Organic Fertilizers

Barnyard manures are good for their mulching effect plus the benefits of the slow release of nutrients.


If barnyard manures are available and the cost is reasonable, a yearly application during the spring months will aid the grass in maintaining a healthy color and vigorous growth.

Barnyard manure should be of the composted type as composting destroys most of the weed seeds that are usually found in barnyard manure. Manure from pen-fed livestock usually contains few weed seeds.

Broadleaf ground covers such as clover, dichondra and lippia are often injured by using, barnyard manures for a top dressing. It is best to use liquid fertilizers or types specifically recommended for these lawn covers.

Rates of Application

Barnyard manure (pulverized):

1 cubic yard per 1000 square feet of lawn.

Poultry manure: (composted) % to % cubic yards per 1000 square feet.

Sheep manure: (well rotted)

x k

yard per 1000 square feet.

Processed sewage: 30 pounds per

1000 square feet.

Inorganic Fertilizers

Inorganic fertilizers furnish plant foods that are readily taken up by the plant and their effect is visible in a very short time. Take care in using these fertilizers, for burning may occur when too much is applied, or if the fertilizer is distributed unevenly.

When applying the fertilizer by hand, spread it as evenly as possible, using the swinging motion of the arm as was done in seeding.

The grass should be dry before applying mineral fertilizers. The concentrated mineral spread over the wet lawn will dissolve and burn the leaves before it can be washed into the root zone.

Tests conducted with Bermuda grass have indicated that an application of nitrogen fertilizer applied just prior to the frost season and again in early March has given excellent results. During the summer months additional applications can be made if the lawn begins to yellow. This method of fertilizing has prevented the invasion of weeds due to the thickness and vigor of the turf.

Rates of Application

Ammonium sulfate: Contains 21 percent nitrogen. 5 to 10 pounds per 1000 square feet.

Ammonium nitrate: Contains 33.5

percent nitrogen. 3 to 5 pounds per 1000 square feet.

Ammonium phosphate: Contains

16% nitrogen, 20% phosphorus. 5 to 10 pounds per 1000 square feet.

Feed the lawn 3 or 4 times during the growing season to maintain a good green turf.

Mixed Fertilizers

Mixed fertilizers contain concentrated minerals salts, together with varying amounts of organic matter and sometimes trace elements.

They are sold in cartons or paper bags and the percentage of the nutrients is printed on the container.

The slow release of nutrients from the organic matter gives a slower and more lasting effect than the straight mineral types.

Rates of Application

10-20-0: 8 to 12 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft.

8-12-0: 10 to 15 lbs, per 1000 sq. ft.

6-10-4: 15 to 25 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft.

Explanation of Formula

Example: 6 parts nitrogen, 10 parts phosphate, 4 parts potassium per 100 pounds of fertilizer.

— 16 —

Planting Winter Grass In Bermuda Sod

Warm-season grasses do not tolerate continuous frost conditions during the winter months. After the first frost they usually brown over and remain in a dormant condition until early spring.

After Bermuda has become dormant it can be overseeded with

Domestic Rye grass during late fall for use as a green winter lawn. Rye grass dies out in late spring during high temperature periods, thus allowing the warm season grass to emerge without competition from the Rye.

Warm-season grasses should be thinned prior to overseeding in order for the Rye or other coolseason grass seed to come into contact with the soil. Thinning can be done either by hand or with a mechanical renovator.

If the lawn area is small, a steel garden rake or grass rake, or other appropriate equipment can be pulled through the sod to break up the runners. These are then mowed as close to the ground as possible and the clippings removed.

It may be necessary to repeat this operation several times to expose the soil.

The use of a mechanical renovator is more practical for large areas. This equipment can be rented on an hourly basis from nurseries or equipment-rental companies.

Water the area to be renovated several days ahead to moisten the soil, prevent dust, and to make the soil easier to work. After the area has been renovated rake it to remove clippings and to level the surface prior to seeding.

C A U T I O N : Do not renovate


Seeding and the application of manure mulch will be done in the same manner as for newly planted seedbeds.

Renovation Of Oid Turf

Sometimes a lawn becomes poor and run down. The grass stand thins out and weeds begin to invade the turf.

In such cases, make a close analysis to find out the cause or causes and then determine whether to revive the old turf or rework it entirely.

The decline may be due to several factors such as:

1. Poor soil—lack of fertility.

2. Lack of water.

3. Soil composition.

4. Too close clipping.

5. Invasion of weeds.

6. Diseases and insects.

7. High soil alkalinity.

The turf may become thin and die out in heavily used areas, in partly shaded areas, and where there is competition with large trees and shrubs. Often reseeding is not necessary. Good care and maintenance will re-establish the lawn in one season.

Fertilize the lawn several times during the season—feed lightly and often. After spreading the fertilizer, be sure that the entire lawn area is watered evenly.

Follow a regular irrigation schedule. The soil should be moistened at least 8 to 12 inches deep.

Surface compaction can be overcome by slowly soaking the soil

•17 —

to get deep penetration, stimulating the grass with fertilizer and a mulch, and by not mowing too closely. Very hard spots can be loosened with a pick or aerifier to open the soil.

Allowing grass to grow tall and then cutting very short will weaken the stand and may kill it out in spots. Establish a mowing schedule for the lawn, and it will give the best growth of the grass all during the season.

Too close clipping will allow weeds to come up in the weakened turf. These will give serious competition until controlled.

In severe cases of neglect, it may be necessary to spade up the old lawn, add barnyard manure and fertilizer, and then reseed to establish a new lawn.

Use shade-tolerant grasses or ground covers in shady areas.


Weeds can defeat all efforts to maintain a beautiful lawn if they are not eradicated or controlled. A well fertilized, watered, and regularly mowed lawn is the best control of lawn weeds, since a dense sod will prevent the invasion of weeds.

The use of chemical sprays has been effective in eradicating broadleaf weeds growing in lawns. The type of chemical and time of application will determine the effectiveness of killing weeds.

Compounds containing 2,4-D; 2,4,

5-T; or a combination of both, control many broadleaf weeds but are usually ineffective against weeds classified as true grasses. Identification of weeds will better enable the gardner to select the proper chemical to apply and the concentration for best control. Be sure to

follow the directions on the container.

Apply spray to young, actively growing weeds with a good top growth. Completely cover the leaf surface with a minimum of drip to the soil.

Slow Death!

The effect of the chemical in killing weeds is usually slow compared to oil-type sprays or arsenicals. The chemical is absorbed through the leaf surface and translocated to all parts of the plant, causing the plants to become distorted, yellow and to eventually die.

Highly resistant weeds may require 2 to 3 additional sprays to completely kill the entire plant.

Avoid using these sprays near shrubbery or flowers. Reports have been received from persons telling of damage to shrubbery and flowers caused by accidental spraying.

Spray only on windless days, as the chemical may be blown many feet, causing extensive damage to ornamentals.

Use Separate Sprayer

2,4-D and 2,4,5-T are difficult to wash out of the sprayer, so it is best to keep a separate sprayer for weed control. Use only the Amine forms of these weed sprays.

Common Weeds

Some common lawn weeds, in the order of their importance are:

Crabgrass (water grass)

Euphorbia, or spurge

Common Bermuda (when growing in any other lawn)


• 18 —

Wild celery (wild carrot)

Nut grass

Puncture vine



Oxalis (wood sorrel)

Ease of Control

The ease with which these weeds can be controlled with chemical (2,

4-D type) treatment is as follows:


Puncture vine



Moderately Easy

Wild Celery

Euphorbia (add soap or detergent to spray)

Oxalis (wood sorrel)


Crab grass


Nut grass


During the summer months when humidity and temperatures are favorable, certain lawn diseases are more evident than at any other time of the year. These diseases are usually more severe on the

Bent and other cool-season grasses being grown as a year-around lawn in the lower elevations.


Curvularia causes damage similar to brown patch in that it causes browning of the leaf blades and eventually kills the entire lawn if not controlled.

Control: Captan is best used as a

preventative. Apply as a spray at beginning of hot weather and repeat at monthly intervals.

Brown Patch

Brown patch is a fungus disease which causes circular brown-colored spots, and severe infestations may completely kill out the entire lawn area. First symptom of the disease is an oily appearance of the foliage, followed by wilting and browning.

Control: Brown patch is con-

trolled by spraying the entire lawn area with Tersan or bichloride of mercury and calomel when the symptoms are first noticed.

Root-Knot Nematodes

Nematodes are microscopic worms that infest the roots of dichondra, lippia and clover. The presence of these worms in the roots prevents the movement of water to the foliage, which eventually kills the entire plant.

Infection may begin in one area of the lawn and eventually spread over the entire area.

Control of nematodes in an estab-

lished lawn is difficult. Spot treatments with nematocides may check the spread of nematodes.


Ground Pearls

These insects have been found on the roots of Bermuda grass and are capable of causing extensive damage. Infestation appears to be more pronounced on Ber-

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muda lawns which have ben improperly watered and fertilized.

Infected areas will wilt, become thin, and eventually die.

Examination of the roots will often reveal the pearls, varying from the size of a match head to a small pinhead. The color is a yellowish white, with a pearly luster. The pearls are the larva which feed on the roots of Bermuda grass.

Regular watering at intervals of not longer than a week, and the use of a nitrogen fertilizer will help to keep the grass growing ahead of most of the damage.

Eriophyid Mites

Eriophyid mites, not yet definitely identified, were found in

Bermuda lawns in the Phoenix area first in August 1959. The mite was causing tufting or rosetting of the grass in the lawns.

Control: Dusting sulfur dusted

over the lawn at the rate of 2 pounds per 1000 square feet has given almost 100 percent control.

Good irrigation practices, along with good fertilization, have also produced much better lawns.

Rhodes Gross Scole

This scale insect is actually a mealy bug and has become very prevalent in many lawns of Bermuda, St. Augustine, Tifgreen, Tiffine and Dichondra. It is small, globular shaped, and covered with white cottony material. The insects are usually located at the crown or nodes of the plants.

Control: Best controls have been

secured during the time when crawlers or young are present.

Spray with malathion. Use 2 teaspoons of 57 percent emulsion in one gallon of water. More than one application may be necessary.

Bermudo Gross

Or Ruths Scole

This small armored type of scale is found on Bermuda grass plants and is usually at the nodes. The scale seldom causes any great damage to the plants.

Control: During June, July and

August when the crawlers are present, a spray of malathion will control these young. Usually lawns that are well fertilized and watered are not injured by this scale insect.

White Grubs

Damage to Bermuda lawns is often caused by the feeding of white grubs on the roots. The top portion of the lawn dries out and the dead leaves can be pulled up easily by hand.

Control: Apply 5 pounds of 10%

chlordane dust per 1000 square ft.

Work into the soil with a rake for best results. Apply chlordane before irrigation or sprinkling.


Several species of leafhoppers cause graying of lawns and sometimes may cause considerable injury.

Control: Dust with 10% DDT or

5% Malathion at the rate of 1 lb.

per 100 square feet.


Ants often infest a lawn and kill the grass surrounding the mounds.

Control: Though complete con-

trol is often difficult, many colonies can be reduced or eliminated by using 10% chlordane powder or

2% dieldrin. A narrow band of either powder placed 3 to 4 inches away from the center of the nest entrance will usually cause death to the entire colony.

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