Lawn Maintenance Requirements

Whether newly planted or well established, lawns need considerable maintenance including proper soil preparation, aeration, fertilizing and mowing in order to be green and healthy.

Soil preparation: Healthy soil is the foundation to healthy plants, including lawns.In fact, grass receives three of its four key ingredients (air, water, and nutrients) from the soil. Healthy soil also helps plants to be naturally resistant to disease and pests.

The first step in healthy soils is knowing what you are working with. You can easily find this out by taking soil core samples from several areas of your yard and have them analyzed. Check with your local garden center or Extension Office for commercial soil testing resources.

Aeration: Aerating your soil in the spring or fall (or both, if you can) each year promotes moisture infiltration into the soil, efficient use of fertilizers, and promotes better root growth. Use a rented power aerator or garden fork to aerate your lawn. Then overseed with a rye/fescue mix designed for Pacific Northwest conditions and top dress your lawn with about a quarter inch of fine compost to improve the condition of soil and allow for better water retention.

Fertilizing: Fertilizing can encourage healthy root development and replace essential nutrients lost through leaching and transpiration. If a soil test or plant performance indicates a need, use organic or slow-release fertilizer in late fall or late spring. Organic and slow release fertilizers release nutrients over a longer period of time and are less likely to run off your lawn into waterways after rain. They also support the variety of soil organisms that improve fertility and combat diseases. 

Mowing: The general rule of thumb is to mow often enough that it is only necessary to cut a third of your grass’s total height. Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn provides shade to roots and holds soil moisture better than if it's closely clipped. It is also important to use sharp blades to prevent tearing and injuring your grass.

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