Natural lawn care
More and more, Northwest homeowners are turning to natural yard care, and that includes a natural approach to caring for lawns
Reduce lawn size.
Trees and shrubs, once they are established, require less time and energy than lawn maintenance. Check out this video: "Honey, I shrunk the lawn!"
Two to three inches of grass height allow the blades to shade each other and keep moisture in.
Leave the clippings on the lawn (mulch mow).
Mulch mowers are designed to be used without a bag. They chop up and blow the clippings into the lawn where nutrients and moisture make the lawn healthier, saving you the cost of fertilizer and water. A push mower can be used the same way.
If you fertilize, use organic, "slow-release" fertilizer
Healthy lawns in the Pacific Northwest are a light meadow green. Fertilize in September when lawns are building root reserves for the next year. If you wish to fertilize twice, apply in May, but moderately, as grass grows heavily in the springtime.
Lawns need only about one inch of water a week in summer, including rain, to stay green. The rest of the year, rainfall is enough. For lawns that don't get heavy use, you can let them go gold and dormant; water them once a month, and they'll bounce back in the fall
Avoid using Weed-and-Feed on lawns
Accept a few weeds, and crowd out problems by growing a dense, healthy lawn. Weed-and-feed-type products spread a pesticide on the whole yard, not just the weeds, and are an unnecessary expense.
Rescuing a really bad lawn
Soil compaction is a common problem in northwest yards, whether in a newer development or in an old lawn, and leads to a hard, weedy surface that doesn’t accept water. Aeration, overseeding, and topdressing with compost can improve most damaged lawns.