- Aerate seed and fertilize twice a year. Aeration helps to stimulate microbes that digest thatch the newer grass seed produces less thatch when mature.
- Use low nitrogen fertilizers with slow release technology.
- Apply an organic fertilizer twice a year for healthy soil; healthy soil will digest excess thatch.
- Rather than watering lightly often, deep and infrequent watering will encourage strong root growth while discouraging thatch development.
Lawn Tune Ups
Organic fertilizer is available for a small extra charge.
Full Meal Deal
First decide how much pest damage you or the plant will tolerate and then decide if action is required. Put chewing tobacco in an old nylon, let it soak overnight in your sprayer and then apply it in the morning. This will repel many chewing insects. Reapply after rain or as needed. See Master Gardener Plant Clinics (PDF).
- The US is the second largest producer and consumer of fertilizer in the world after China, in both categories.
- The fertilizer manufacturing industry employs 33,000 jobs in the United States.
- Despite the Pacific Northwest’s rainy reputation, the average annual rainfall is just below 40 inches, which is even less than New York City!
Soil Wetting Agent
- Reduces localized dry spots
- Reduces lawn wilt
- Reduces summer stress
- Increases water retention
- Uniform water movement throughout your lawns root zone
- Will not burn like many other treatments
When buying seed for your lawn, buy from a reputable and knowledgeable representative. Don’t just buy any brand. Seed distributors have to supply the big box stores where they market their lower quality seed. This is why I purchase my seed by the ton, from a seed broker I have known for over 10 years. My seed cannot be purchased at nurseries or box stores. I use only seed that local golf courses use on their fairways. A fairway grass is a Class C turf which most closely resembles your home lawn. A putting green is an example of a Class A turf. For home lawns I prefer to use a 70/30 seeding mix.
Fescue grass also requires more water longer than perennial rye grass in order to become established. You need to water a little longer than you think so the secondary grasses can become established. Also note that you don’t want to let the perennial rye grass grow above 5 inches tall before first cut or it will shade out your fescues.
- the color of the grass at maturity
- the fineness of the blade and uniformity
- how the grass will be maintained, such as cutting and fertilization
- disease and susceptibility to pests
- the hydro mulch to be used
- seed quality and fertilizer
- if the soil to be hydroseeded is on a slope, then is a tackifying agent needed to prevent soil from washing away?
- do they have experience working on residential lawns?
- what do they recommend for weed control?
General Lawn Advice
Was it grown on heavy clay that’s heavily treated with lime? Is the soil already cracking? Are all the pallets of sod uniform? If it’s hot outside, imagine how hot it is at the bottom of the pallet. Don’t let the pallet sit there on a hot day for hours on end. Sod can’t be beat for instant results. Also many new housing developments require a front lawn by sod only.
If your lawn has very shallow roots and forms puddles quickly or is on a steep slope, then light and frequent watering is best.
This is used as a preemergant so it can prevent grass seed from germinating (that’s bad). Timing is critical. Check with the Washington State extension service for best results and practices. This product does not kill existing weeds.
Walt’s Organics in Ballard carries this product and so do many upscale nurseries.
- Sharpen and balance lawnmower blade after first cut
- Change spark plug and check air filter
- Does mower have fresh gas and clean oil?
Instructions for Newly Seeded Lawn
Depending on the weather, you will need to commit to consistent watering. Pay attention to your daily weather and water accordingly to keep the soil firm yet moist at all times. The first few days and weeks are critical to getting your lawn established. It’s important to water daily and for 30 minutes the first time. Water each session for 10 minutes with a spray nozzle that is adjusted for a soft mist gentle spray or an oscillating sprinkler, but not to the point where there are puddles as this may wash some seed away. It is imperative to not saturate the soil, so focus on frequent yet light watering. This may mean sprinkling your lawn lightly as much as 2-3 times per day if the weather is hot, dry or windy.
- Seed-To-Soil Contact
The importance of the deep first watering is to push more seeds into the aeration holes left in your lawn. When the seeds can be deeper into the soil, they have access to the nutrients they will need to begin to sprout. For most sprinklers this will mean leaving the water running at each location for about 20 minutes.Only the top layer of soil needs to be moistened. Try to avoid disturbing the seed so it can maintain good soil contact.
Soil temperatures should be in the correct range (60-80 degrees) for the type of grass. Germination requires a minimum temperature range of 50 degrees. Note: Soil temperatures are usually cooler than air temperature. Once germination begins, if the environment changes significantly (like being too hot and dry), the seed or sprout will die.
Once your seeds have germinated and become established, they will have a deep enough root system to be ready for mowing. Only mow your lawn after 21 days at heights of 3-4″. It is important to NOT spray weed control or chemicals for the first few months. Don’t forget to mark your calendar 6 weeks later for a fertilizer reminder!
Good luck with the success of your lawn!