Our Grass Is Always Greener — Lawn Care Tips From The Pros

March 2018

Lawns have remained a desirable element of a beautiful landscape for centuries. The first lawns were owned by royalty and served as status symbols, so it’s no surprise an exquisite lawn improves curb appeal increasing the value of the home. But, there are many other reasons so many homeowners opt for a lawn. Some feel it brings them closer to nature, and enjoy spending time feeling the soft grass beneath their feet. Others simply consider a lush lawn a symbol of summer and look forward to countless hours enjoying their lush landscape with family and friends. The smell of freshly mowed grass has even been found by researchers to improve overall mood and longevity.

Here in Portland, Oregon, a lawn may just be a small, well-tended area surrounded by native plants and creative landscaping. Regardless of the size of your lawn, keeping it looking good requires the right knowledge. If you’ve just added new turf to your property, we hope this post will help you keep your new lawn looking gorgeous all summer long.

When Should You Cut Your New Lawn?

We recommend cutting your new turf when it reaches about three inches tall—but don’t cut too much! Begin mowing weekly keeping in mind that you only want to remove 1/3 of the grass blade each time you mow. The shorter your lawn is cut the faster it dries out. As we move into the warmer months beginning in mid-May, cut your lawn at 2 to 2½ inches throughout the summer. This taller height will shade the soil keeping grass roots cool during the heat of the summer.

Pro Techniques: What To Keep In Mind When Cutting Your New Lawn

Keep the mower’s catcher clear. Empty the mower’s catcher frequently when mowing a new lawn. A full bag of cuttings will weigh down the whole mower, and probably leave unsightly tracks in your lawn. Alternating the mowing pattern will help decrease mower tracks.

Don’t worry about thin spots

It’s normal for newly seeded lawns to have a few thin zones. If you cut and fertilize regularly, this problem will go away on its own.

Keep off the new grass! (Temporarily)

Keep your family members and pets off of the newly seeded lawn until the grass is well established, typically after the 2nd mowing.

Take care and water correctly  

After the 1st mowing, begin watering for a longer period and a shorter interval. Typically 10-20 minutes of watering every other day. An irrigation system, set to go off early in the morning, is your best bet for consistent, effective watering. Early morning is your best bet as it allows the moisture to reach the roots more efficiently compared to afternoon watering (too much evaporation occurs with higher afternoon temperatures). AM watering will also help prevent fungal growth more than night time watering.

Keep the soil moist until you’re ready to cut

A newly seeded lawn should receive 5 minutes of water 3-4 times per day; this is typically enough to keep the soil moist without causing puddles. With warm, moist soil the grass seeds will soften and germination can begin. Two days before your lawn’s first cut, decrease watering to once per day for 5 minutes at a time.

How Portland’s Soil & Climate Impacts Lawn Growth, and What You Can Do About It

Much of Portland’s soil has high clay content. This means that water is retained well — once it has had a chance to seep into the soil. Also, a well-established lawn in Portland doesn’t need water every day – especially in the heat of the summer months.  Instead, water every other day. In the spring, you can water three times a week or less, depending on rainfall.

Cruising around Portland in the summer, you’ve probably seen plenty of brown lawns. If you don’t want your lawn to go brown, you’ll need to start a regular routine of fertilization, weed control, mowing, and watering. If your lawn goes 30 or 40 days without any moisture, you’ll have problems and may need to replace it.

The best solution is to invest in an efficient irrigation system, which can save you both time and money. Installing or upgrading a system to water turf slowly is ideal for Portland’s environment; the slow release of water allows more to penetrate through the clay levels. Finally, given the prevalence of moss in the Rose City, you should be aware that February and March are the best months to do moss control.

Landscape East & West creates greener grasses for homeowners in and around Portland, Oregon. Our experts can run a series of tests to determine the best landscaping practices for your area. Soil density, water saturation rates, and slopes all have an impact on lawn growth, so homeowners tend to hire professional landscape contractors to check these characteristics. Interested in organic lawn care options? Landscape East & West is one of a handful of landscape firms in the Portland area to embrace a fully organic lawn, tree, and shrub fertility program.

At Landscape East & West we provide full-service care for your lawn to ensure its ongoing health. And our account managers are responsive, keeping you in the loop with frequent contact. Some of our services include:

  • Irrigation assessment
  • Mowing
  • Pruning
  • Weeding
  • Fertilizing
  • Leaf cleanup
  • Pest management
  • And much, much more!

Call us today and let the experts at Landscape East & West transform your lawn into the emerald green expanse of your dreams.

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