Over-seeding is done on most Las Vegas golf courses throughout the southern band of the United States. Over-seeding is implemented to keep golf courses green and lush twelve months a year. Let’s face it, snowbirds visiting the southern states aspire to see and play lush golf courses. Here in Las Vegas, we are no different. We too use over-seeding as a means to produce green golf course conditions all winter long.
Let’s take a moment and analyze what over-seeding actually is. Over-seeding is a term used to describe the planting of a cool season grass (usually ryegrass) into a warm season grass (usually Bermuda grass) just prior to the warm season grass transitioning into dormancy. When Bermuda grass transitions into dormancy, Bermuda grass turns brown for the winter months and does not produce any new growth. This tends to affect golf course marketability and playability as non over-seeded Bermuda grass is not a lush green color, nor is it able to recuperate from normal wear and tear in its dormant state.
The over-seeding process is an extremely laborious and timely task. Depending on region, Golf Course Superintendents often need 7-28 days to complete the process. Although simplified, there are basically four steps to the over-seeding process:
1) soil preparation
4) grooming of the new grass.
The preparation of the seed bed usually consists of the scalping and/or verti-cutting of the Bermuda grass. This process essentially thins the Bermuda grass allowing for seed to soil contact of the ryegrass seed.
“Seeding” of a Las Vegas golf course follows shortly after the seed bed preparation is complete. The seeding process is completed through the use of countless implements such as fertilizer spreaders, drop seeders and slit seeders.
The third step in the process, “irrigation”, is very critical. This step is also the key reason why courses close for such a significant period of time each fall. Seeds must be kept moist to facilitate seed germination process. Conditions on the course during this period are often wet and unplayable. Keep in mind that ryegrass seed needs a minimum of seven days of moist conditions just to germinate.