Friday, October 3, 2014

Fall prep for a great spring lawn

Fall is the best time to prepare your lawn for spring and summer picnics, soccer games, and outdoor gatherings.  We can use our relatively mild winters to advantage.  Many weeds die back in the winter but grass roots keep growing.  That makes fall the best time to plant grass seed and fertilize existing lawns. Your lawn will do better if you chose a northwest blend of grass seed.  

 In the northwest we have different growing conditions than most of the rest of the country.  Grass seed blended for the northwest typically has a mix of ryes and fescues and little to no Kentucky bluegrass.  Start with that base.  The plant breeders are working on varieties that are more drought resistant, grow shorter, etc.  Some folks like the look of short flowers intermixed with the grass.  Some yards need to stand up to heavy play by kids or pets.  Depending on your preferences, you may be able to find a northwest blend with some of these extra features.  Ask at your favorite garden center or lawn supplier.

Newly planted grass has teeny, tiny roots which need to be kept moist to grow well.  In the early fall, the weather is warm enough for the grass to sprout, but you may need to water for about a month or so before our rains fully return and take care of the task for you. 

Here are some tips for you if you are going for a great lawn or a “good enough” lawn.

“Good Enough” Lawn
Great Lawn
Apply slow-release fertilizer in the fall.
Apply slow-release fertilizer in the fall, spring and late-summer.
Leave grass clippings on the lawn with a mulch mower or simply remove the bag from any mower to leave the clippings on the surface of the lawn.
Use a mulch mower to push the clippings under the surface of the grass.
Let the lawn go brown and dormant in the summer without any watering.
Water one inch of water, once a week throughout the dry months.
Keep lawn mowed and weeds can’t get large enough to go to seed.
Remove weeds with a long handled weed tool.  Put compost and grass seed inside every hole a weed is removed from.
Aerate, apply compost and overseed before hosting your daughter’s wedding.
Aerate, apply compost and overseed every fall.
Moss is green and soft, why fight it? Add some large rocks, call it your zen garden.
Change the growing conditions that allow moss to thrive.  Aerate, add compost, overseed with a shade tolerant grass seed and limb up trees to bring in more sunlight.

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