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To Seed…Or, Not to Seed That is the Question


I saw this story and just had to have it retold Why?  Because it is so true and so many of our customers ask this question.


If you have grass in Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada, I want to give you a huge pat on the back. It’s not easy to keep grass alive…and green…through the scorching summers that the Vegas Valley has to offer. If you do have grass, or are thinking about getting it, let’s discuss the question that arises every fall. Do we overseed our grass to continue the visual appeal through the winter season, or do we forego the seed and let it go brown? The answer seems obvious. Of course we will overseed! I want to have a gorgeous yard all year long. That was how I saw it and nobody could convince me otherwise.

Why was I so adamant? Well, every Thanksgiving, we host a big family dinner that consists of about 30 to 40 people. Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday and I look forward to it all year long. I love our backyard and usually that time of year is cool enough to force others to eat/pray/love outside. I wanted the grass to be gorgeous for Thanksgiving. My husband agreed to overseed our grass, but made me promise not to be upset when the transition from “winter” (I put that in quotes because is there even a such thing in Vegas?) to spring makes the grass less than appealing. How bad could it really be?

We overseeded the Bermuda grass with Rye and for our big Thanksgiving dinner, it was stunning. A deep forest green color that brought me back to my childhood summers in the Midwest. I loved it! Within a few weeks, I started to notice even darker green patches throughout the yard. It was not attractive. What the heck are those spots? I asked my husband. He said it was from the dogs urinating on the grass. But, but…it didn’t look like that in the summer, I protested. With a sly smile, he reminded me that this was Rye grass, not Bermuda, and there are downfalls to overseeding, as he had previously warned. As the weeks went on, I longed for spring to come so the Bermuda grass would return. I was done with Rye grass. I was done with overseeding. Forever.

As spring neared, the Bermuda and the Rye were competing for growth. This process is known as transition. Essentially, both types of grass are fighting each other for water and sunlight (they cannot coexist) and the Rye often depletes the Bermuda, especially in shady areas. But there we were at the sidelines cheering on Bermuda, like a couple of high rollers at the Kentucky Derby. Bermuda grass is the only option for Tucson landscapes through spring and summer and we were going to make sure our baby Bermuda came back with a vengeance.

In the end, Bermuda won, as it usually does since Rye grass is not meant to survive in the summer. We were always going to get our way, but boy was the transition rough, especially for someone like me, who is always striving for the aesthetically pleasing, on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens type of yard. I even had my turf grass genius husband by my side to set my expectations, yet I refused to listen. I’m the type who plants flowers that are wilting by dinnertime, yet I was still confident that I could be the exception to the rule and NOT be affected by the Rye/Bermuda transition.

The transition lasted just a few weeks, but for someone who tends to lack in the patience department (me), it was grueling. By May, our Bermuda was back and beautiful as ever all summer long (insert steep water bill here).

Despite my 2017-2018 Rye grass recap, here I sit, once again contemplating if we should overseed this Fall. The thing is, there is truly no lesson to be learned here. You either overseed or you don’t. You don’t have to commit to one or the other. Lots of people choose to overseed every other year – I think it’s because we forget – and some choose to skip the hassle and only have green grass for half of the year. There is no right or wrong way to do it, but I’ve included some Pros and Cons below to help you with your 2019 overseeding decision.

To Seed (with Rye)

Pros of Overseeding:

  • Deep green grass throughout of the winter months (as long as it’s free of animal urine)
  • Soft texture – perfect for stargazing, picnics, playing with the dogs and kids

Cons of Overseeding:

  • Base grass (Bermuda) has a new grass to compete with when the spring season comes
  • Extra water needed to get the Rye seeds to pop and stay alive (increased water bill all year long)
  • Excess labor (mowing 1-2x per month, minimum)
  • More fertilizer needed to keep up with appearances
  • Animal urine will quickly result in dark patches throughout the lawn

Not to Seed (with Rye)

Pros of NOT Overseeding:

  • Elimination of cons listed above
  • Bermuda makes an easy comeback in the spring

Cons of NOT Overseeding:

  • Grass turns brown and feels like straw for the winter months

Anything we can help with Please give me a Call  Dennis Thomas – Backyard Connect – (702) 719-2500


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