Ahhh, July in Arizona!

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LANDSCAPING TIPS brought to you by the Arizona Landscape Contractors’ Association, the Sustainable Landscape Management (SLM) and the Arizona Certified Landscape Professional (ACLP) programs 

Ahhh, July in Arizona!  Now that we are deep into the summer, enjoying our landscaped areas can be challenging. The combination of shade and living, breathing plants come together to provide the most appealing outdoor spaces.  If you have turfgrass areas, you know how important they are to your overall landscape. These living surfaces keep our yards cooler and provide a more livable and enjoyable space. The most commonly used summer turfgrass in Arizona is Bermudagrass. While Bermudagrass is seemingly easy to grow (as evidenced by it growing in places we haven’t invited it!), it does come with some challenges if you are trying to enjoy your lawn in the shade. 

  • Bermudagrass requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day
  • Shade from dense tree canopies can weaken and kill the grass in an area
  • Look around - buildings and vehicles can also create too much shade
  • Proper maintenance of the Bermudagrass and surrounding plants can reduce the effect of shade on the grass
  • Replacing the area with sod is an option but unless the shade is reduced, it is only a temporary solution (you might need to re-sod every 3 years)
  • A turfgrass to decomposed granite or synthetic turf conversion of the area is another option

If you see dead or dying patches in the shaded areas of your summer turfgrass, ask your landscape contractor to troubleshoot the problem and come up with options for your property.  Some things your landscape contractor may suggest include: reducing the impact of the shade source by thinning trees (also a temporary solution), deep and infrequent watering, keeping the area free of fallen leaves and debris, avoiding excessive fertilizer use, and cutting the shaded grass at an elevated mowing height. With the help of your landscape contractor, you can decide if working with your shade is the best option, and if not, they can create a turf conversion concept that you will love.