Transition of Turf for Winter Months

Transition of Turf for Winter Months

Although there are hundreds of different types of grasses there are only two major types of turf: warm season turf and cool season turf.

Warm Season Turf

Warm season turf grows well in the summer heat but goes dormant and turns brown in fall. Warm season grasses growth is horizontal producing stolons and/or rhizomes.  Stolons are above ground runners, while rhizomes are underground runners. Both are stems that produce new horizontal growth. Niguel Shores turf is made up of a mixture of grasses with mostly being kikuyu.

Kikuyu Grass- (Pennisetum clandestinum), a warm-season grass brought to Southern California in 1920 for erosion protection and as a pasture grass, a classic example of miss-directed virtue. It grows on slopes, in pastures, on golf courses, in parks, on sports fields and in home lawns. Kikuyu grass is an exceptional plant—it is aggressive, highly competitive, spreads easily by several means and tolerates drought, over-watering and poor soil. It is also on both the California and Federal noxious-weed lists and it is illegal to plant it deliberately. Once established, it is tough and strong and you cannot get rid of it. Some jokingly say it grows so fast you’re afraid to leave a small child in it for too long. So, what to do about this turf? Harvest engages in a process called scalping (dethatching) and over seeding.

Cool Season turf

The name “Cool Season Grass” is given to a variety of grass species that thrive best in cooler temperatures and are evergreen. Meaning they survive through cold temperatures. Cool Season grass tends to grow through Stolon and Rhizomes, their growth is more vertical then a warm Season turf.

This year the community will go through a process of dethatching and over seeding. This is when we scalp the lawns to bare dirt then aerated and over seed with a cool season grass. A few weeks later the new seed germinates and the grass looks like new.

This year the over seeding process and the turf will be de-thatched starting in October.


Dethatching is a process of removing the thatch build up in the turf. Thatch is the layer of living and dead stems, roots, stolons, and rhizomes between the green blades of grass and the soil surface. A thin layer of thatch (less than 1/2 inch thick) can be beneficial to the lawn because it helps to limit weed germination, reduce water evaporation, and protect from frost damage. However, thick thatch layers can prevent water, air, and nutrients from penetrating the soil, causing reduced root growth and increased potential for drought stress. Thatch also favors fungal growth and can harbor insect pests. Some turf grass species, such as tall fescue and perennial ryegrass, do not produce much thatch. Other turf grass species, such as Bermuda grass, Kikuyu grass have creeping growth habits and rapidly build thick thatch layers


Although the final results of this process look great, the process itself is somewhat long (approximately 3-4 weeks) and not aesthetically pleasing.  The process we adhere to is as follows:

  • The irrigation will be shut off in all turf areas to allow them to dry out.
  • All turf will be cut at the lowest motor setting possible. (This will leave exposed dirt and is unattractive).
  • The lawns will then be over seeded with a perennial rye blend and topped with steer manure.
  • In approximately one month the seed will begin to germinate and there will be beautiful new grass.
  • During this one-month germination period the water will be on several times a day in small increments each time.


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