Arizona Lawn Care Tips
Maintaining your lawn can be a challenge. The larger the lawn, the more work it takes to keep it looking nice! That’s why we’ve created this article, to provide some great Arizona lawn care tips that will make landscaping a cinch. We even provide some ideas on flowers and other plants to spruce up your landscape for spring!
Read on for tips on keeping your Arizona lawn looking vibrant and healthy year-round.
Keeping your lawn in top shape starts with knowing how to care for it through the seasons. Here in the Phoenix area, the main seasons to worry about are summer and winter.
Summer is harsh here in the desert, especially on your lawn! But you don’t necessarily have to water it every single day to keep it healthy. As long as the water reaches about 10 inches below the soil, the roots of your grass will get the amount they need. You can test your soil by inserting a soil probe or screwdriver 10 inches into the soil an hour after watering. If it goes in easily, you’re watering right. If not, water longer next time and test it again. The best time to water is an hour or two before sunrise, so set your sprinkler system timer and check sprinkler heads periodically to make sure that water is coming out and is spraying the right area(s).
If you like to golf here in Arizona, you know that come October, you’re forced to take a break from the golf course so that staff can overseed the grass. Overseeding with a winter grass keeps the grounds green and fresh through the winter. The typical grass here in Arizona, Bermuda, turns brown during winter. So if a green lawn in the winter is a must-have, get ready to do some overseeding! To maintain the health of a Bermuda lawn, leave it alone every three years. Overseeding is harsh on your lawn.
Proper mowing is key to a nice lawn. You don’t want to mow the grass too short (called “scalping”), but don’t want it to grow too long either. The shorter the grass, the more water it uses.
For efficient watering and a great-looking lawn, use the following height guide for your grass type:
- Bermuda: 1 ½-2 inches
- Hybrid Bermuda: ½-1 inch
- Perennial/Annual Rye: 1 ½ -2 inches
Since shaded grass grows more slowly, increase the above heights by 25% in your lawn’s shady areas.
Arizona soil has three layers: surface, subsurface, and subsoil. Surface and subsurface are coarsest, while the subsoil is finer and contains less organic matter than the other two layers. Organic matter helps the soil hold water and nutrients for the plants, and is therefore critical to the health of your lawn.
Arizona soil contains clay, which is very alkaline. Plants that grow in alkaline soil may become iron-deficient, resulting in yellow foliage. In addition, clay soil can contract and expand, which can cause problems for plants (not to mention buildings!).
Casa Grande Soil
Casa Grande isn’t just the name of a city here in Arizona, it’s also the main type of soil! This soil has high clay content and is full of salt. To start a garden with this type of soil, you have to irrigate the area for a few weeks to wash out the salt. This prevents plants from getting salt burn, i.e. the brown tips that look like they’ve been toasted.
Caliche is a common layer of soil found in the subsoil in Arizona. Hand-digging a hole in caliche soil is nearly impossible! A jackhammer may be required. The particles of this soil are cemented together with calcium carbonate, and it’s not only hard to dig but hard for roots to grow in.
Working with Arizona soil
The best way to loosen hard Arizona soil is to amend it with organic materials such as organic humus and manure, which will also add essential nutrients to help plants grow. It even helps the soil retain water, so you can save money on the electric bill!
Another option is to use an aerator, which pulls parts of soil out of the ground to help air and water penetrate the soil. The best time of year to aerate Bermuda grass is May or June when grass is growing quickly, and a day after irrigation or rainfall so the soil is soft.
Flowers & Other Plants
There are many different kinds of plants that enhance the look of your landscape. And many are very water-efficient—a major advantage here in the dry desert!
Perennials and Annuals
Some perennials last only a couple of years, while others are more permanent. The good thing about short-lived flowers is that you can change the look of your lawn with new flowers, or re-plant the same kind. In addition to perennials, annuals offer a variety of bright colors. Annual wildflowers bloom in the spring, so right now is a good time to plant them! Try marigold or lily perennials and Mexican gold poppy or desert blue bell annuals. And to plan for fall planting, check out our post on what to plant in the winter for winter perennial and annual ideas.
Succulents and Cacti
Succulents are desert plants with thick leaves that store moisture, such as aloe and agave plants. They can withstand drought and are therefore a great addition to your desert landscape. Cacti will save you water too. When you think of cacti, the saguaro may come to mind, but there are a variety of small species as well. The beavertail prickly pear, blue myrtle, and senita are a few options. Just be sure to plant succulents and cacti away from walkways to prevent anyone from accidentally hurting themselves!
To enliven bare soil areas with fresh colors and textures, try planting groundcovers. These plants are hearty year-round! Lantanas come in yellow, orange or gold, or try the trailing lantana which comes in either lavender or white. Trailing acacia and desert broom are other popular options.
Shrubs are the perfect accent to your landscape. They come in lots of different sizes, textures, and flower colors. Just make sure there’s enough space where you plant them for the shrubs to grow. Pick up a pair of pruning shears for occasional maintenance.
Get Your Lawn in Top Shape for Spring!
Are you ready to make your neighbors envy your beautiful lawn? Head on over to Shoppers Supply for everything you need to enhance and maintain your Arizona lawn! Our friendly staff will help you find the right mower, fertilizer, seeds, and all the other necessities of lawn and garden care. Stop by our Apache Junction or Chandler location today!