How to overseed without wasting water

Photo by Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun http://www.desertsun.com/story/sports/golf/2015/10/04/golf-drought-california-overseed-coachella-valley/73347928/

You can save water and possibly money by skipping overseeding your lawn. Bermuda grass will stay alive in a dormant condition throughout the winter with occasional watering, according to gardening advice from the Coachella Valley Water District.

If you do overseed, CVWD offers steps on how you can save money this fall.

  1. Don’t over seed too early. Planting seed between mid-October and mid-November takes much less germination water than planting in September or early October.
  2. Cut back on fertilizer. Slow Bermuda grass growth by ending fertilizing 4 to 6 weeks before laying down seed.
  3. Prepare the seedbed. Two weeks before planting, cut back your irrigation schedule by 50% and gradually lower your cutting height to ½ inch by you planned planting day. Rake and remove all clippings and lawn debris so the sowed seed will contact the soil.
  4. Make sure your sprinklers are working correctly.
  5. When you plant, follow the directions on the seed package label.
  6. Seed-soil contact. Rake the seeded area lightly to enhance seed-soil contact.
  7. Cover the seed. Apply 1/8- to 1/4-inch of seed cover over the planted area by spreading with the back of a rake.
  8. Ensure that the seed cover is wet to the soil surface.
  9. Start this germination irrigation schedule. Begin watering for 3 minutes (spray heads) or 10 minutes (rotary heads) per irrigation, 5x/day, at 2-hour intervals, starting at 8 a.m. As you don’t want the overseed cover to dry out prior to the first mowing, this schedule can vary.
  10. Watch for germination in about 7 days.
  11. Cut back on irrigation. When grass blades are 1-inch high, reduce irrigation to 3x a day.
  12. Don’t mow too early or too low. Mow the new grass according to seed package label recommendations.
  13. Resume normal irrigation. After the second mowing, see CVWD’s Watering Guide for Turf Grass.

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