Arizona is home to a wide breadth of rare and unusual native plants. To protect the health and well-being of the natural landscape, Arizona legislators have instituted extensive rules and regulations that control the amount and type of seeds and plants anyone may bring into the state. Grasses are no exception. Each blade of grass in your lawn is actually a plant. Every species has its own light, water and nutritional needs. To choose the best species for your lawn you need to take into account how you want to use your lawn, the properties of your soil and your willingness or ability to maintain the lawn.
You may start with seeds or sod to establish a new lawn or to rejuvenate an existing lawn. Typically, purchasing seed will cost you less money than sod. Arizona sod may prove to be more cost-effective because you stand a better chance of achieving a healthy lawn. Sod is better able to compete against weeds that blow on to your lawn because there is little room for the weed seeds to contact the soil and establish themselves. When you cultivate the soil to prepare it for seed or sod, you risk disturbing dormant weed seeds. Covering these seeds with sod reduces the chance they will germinate. In contrast, the weeds will compete with grass seeds for water, space and nutrients. If you try to remove the weeds that emerge by pulling them out, you risk killing the young grass blades that you will walk on to reach the weeds. Chemicals, at that stage of development, are just as likely to harm your grass, as they will the weeds.
Laying sod in Arizona will improve your curb appeal almost instantaneously. You will also be able to use your grass sooner than if you started with seed. Sod also helps to alleviate specific conditions that you may find on your Arizona lawn. For example, trying to grow grass from seed on a slope is very difficult because water and wind will erode the soil before the seeds have time to germinate. Laying sod protects the soil and gives the grass roots time to work their way through the soil and hold it in place.
Managing your water use is important throughout Arizona, but in areas such as Phoenix or Tucson, it is a key element of caring for your Arizona grass. Some species require less water than other grass species. In particular, a warm weather variety such as a hybrid Bermuda grass provides green space that will do well with the region's limited annual rainfall. Generally, warm season grasses are preferable in southern Arizona because they do not rely on spring rains and will grow in relatively dry soil. You will need to water your new sod or seeds frequently until they establish themselves. After the first few weeks of watering three or four times a week, you will be able to reduce the amount of water you provide and allow the root structure to expand and find moisture in the ground.
For more information about preparing for sod or maintaining your new sod lawn, take a look at our lawn care section.