When talking to your landscaper about keeping your lawn green all year long they will probably suggest planting two types of grass: Bermuda and Rye. If you are not familiar with the Arizona climate you may wonder why you have to think about two different types of grass. It is because of the climate and lack of water; we need two types of grass to have a green lawn all year. Here is what you need to know about both types of grass.
Bermuda grass is lawn grass for the typical Arizona summer. Bermuda stays alive during the desert’s hottest weather as long as it has sufficient water. During winter it becomes dormant and looks dead, but below the surface it is alive and waiting for warmer weather. Bermuda usually begins to go into its dormant cycle in September and comes out of it in May.
The advantage of Bermuda’s life cycle is that it does not have to be replanted every year. If a winter lawn is desired, different grass can be planted over the dormant Bermuda grass. Then, when high afternoon temperatures start to kill the winter lawn, the Bermuda grass begins to grow again. What kind of grass should be planted in the winter in order to have a green lawn? That is where Rye grass comes in.
Rye grass is lawn grass for the Phoenix area in the winter. Rye grows well in the cooler winter months but will not survive the summer heat. Rye grass stays a dark green color until the middle of May, but then it quickly dies as daytime temperatures approach 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore it needs to be replanted every fall in the middle of October. Rye grass can be planted directly over the dormant Bermuda grass.
Choosing a Ryegrass Type
Rye grass comes in two types; perennial and annual. In the lower desert (the Phoenix/Tempe area), both types can be considered “annual” because the summer heat kills both of them. Perennial Rye grass is more expensive than annual, but the extra cost is generally worth it if you want a beautiful lawn. Perennial Rye germinates faster, has a finer leaf texture, has a darker green color and is more vigorous than annual rye grass.
So when you think about having a nice green lawn all year round in the Phoenix area, remember that the two temperature ranges requires two types of grass. Take the time to discuss your lawn with your landscaper; you will find that they are very willing to help you have that green lawn with as little trouble as possible.