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General Tips (California)

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General Tips (California)

California enjoys a wide array of microclimates as influenced by the Pacific Ocean and two mountain ranges extending from north to south. Generally, California has a Mediterranean climate with dry summers and mild, wet winters. Overall, the rainfall could range from less than 5” in the inland deserts to over 60” in the north coastal areas. Irrigation is a must throughout the state in order to maintain a good quality lawn. Proper irrigation (amount & frequency), sprinkler coverage, and water quality can definitely effect the success of any lawn site. The increased use of reclaimed water in urban areas and its inherent increased soluble salts will impact the growing of any plants. Soils here are usually neutral pH or slightly alkaline.

Coastal areas enjoy more moderate temperatures and higher rainfall. Cool-season grasses like tall fescue, ryegrass and bluegrass are best adapted here, but bermuda, zoysia and St. Augustinegrass can be considered in the southern coastal areas. Pest problems of cool-season turf may include pink snow mold, red thread, and surface insect activity. Coastal areas have many of the same weeds as the rest of the state, but they also battle with English daisy.

Much of the state has a drier, hotter climate. These interior regions of the state have a short rainy season from November to March with accumulations of 5 to 15 inches of rainfall. Warm-season grasses like bermuda, zoysia and St. Augustine will do very well in southern California and the interior valleys. Turf-type tall fescues are the leading choice of homeowners installing new lawns in the last 10 years. They provide a year-round green lawn, but they can struggle with the hot summer days of July and August where 100-degree days are not uncommon. Weeds such as crabgrass and spurge are very significant problems, but nutsedge, dallisgrass, and unwanted bermuda are the most difficult weeds to control. Insect problems are spotty, but they include fleabeetles, cutworms, fiery skippers, sod webworms, billbugs, and white grubs. Summer diseases such as brown patch and southern blight can cause significant damage to cool-season grasses in the summer. Spring dead spot in bermudagrass and pink snow mold in cool-season grasses are problems to watch out for during the winter months.