Pacifica Blog Post
The natural cycle of cold weather grasses in the PNW is to go dormant in summer. A year round green lawn is a social and cultural phenomenon, not a natural one, maintained through forcing growth with water and nitrogen.
The desire for verdant green lawns probably stems from the gardens of old English stately homes where an open sward lay in front of the home. Adopted into the suburbs for its connotations of wealth, leisure and comfort, lawns in the United States now receive more chemical applications than all agricultural lands combined. For a more natural lawn try this…
- Mow frequently
- Do not mow more than ⅓ of the blade, and no shorter than 2”
There are two schools of thought regarding summer lawn care… here are both, you decide!
- Let your lawn go brown. Water once a month to keep the roots alive. Lawn can be dormant for three months without damage. This will save greatly on water, but some weed invasion will occur.
- Keep watering to keep your lawn green. Lawn is still dormant so use very little or no fertilizer. If you do use fertilizer, make sure to use slow release.
- Lawn starts growing again with cooler weather and increased rains. Fall is a good time for intensive lawn management. Mow as needed and aerate annually each fall. Overseed to develop a thick sward before winter when the grass goes dormant again and the moss invasion commences.
- Lime – If fertilization does not seem to work your soil could be too acidic – add lime to balance the soil pH. This can be done every 2 – 3 years.
- Winter is time to leave your lawn alone. Do not mow and do not fertilize.
WATER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR THE SUCCESS OF YOUR TURFGRASS.
Once a lawn is established it will require about one inch of water per week between May and October. During the hottest weeks of summer the lawn may require 1 ½ ” – 2″ of water per week. Encourage deeper root growth by watering less often, but deeply. A lawn that sheds water quickly will need to be watered in several shorter cycles. Lawn areas are commonly over watered and improving water distribution and application timing can usually save significant amounts of water. The best time to water is early morning to reduce vaporization and evaporation. As a rule of thumb, watering during periods when “dew” would be expected to appear naturally will minimize fungal infections (Red Thread, Rust) caused by water standing on the leaf surface for long periods of time. If you use an automatic irrigation system be sure to adjust the timer throughout the year. In running your system, make sure you have programmed the proper duration and frequency of your watering cycles (as necessary for your soil type, slopes, plantings, and exposure to sun and shade). Watering needs in your landscape will change as weather patterns change during the season, and from year to year as your plantings mature or are modified.
SIGNS OF INADEQUATE WATERING:
- Blue/gray tint
- Brown spots
When walked on, footprint stays for more than 30 seconds.