Scoring the perfect, green lawn | THE COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER

Marianne Binetti answers all of your lawn questions, including "Does it really matter if the lawn food says 'Fall and Winter' lawn food?"

If your fall field goals include a new or improved lawn, then go on the offense and make this the week to score better yardage.

Aerate, fertilize add a fresh layer of topsoil and reseed in the fall for a revitalized lawn in the spring. Just don’t expect to seed a new lawn in the fall and have a thick green carpet before winter.

Laying down sod is the easy answer for the instant gratification of a perfect lawn – but even if you chose to go with sod you still must do the dirt work. The better your prep work the better your lawn.

Q. When is the most important time to fertilize a lawn in Western Washington? We moved here from Spokane. T.Y. Email

A. The fall season. The months of September and October are the best for feeding Northwest lawns because the cooler weather and returning rains mean the fertilizer will get to the grass roots. If you only feed your lawn once a year, make it a fall feeding.

Q. Does it really matter if the lawn food says ‘Fall and Winter’ lawn food? Can’t I just use the left over lawn food I have from spring feeding? Anon, Email

A. Yes, you can use up your spring feed, but there is a real advantage to applying a “Fall and Winter” lawn food in the months of September and October. The nitrogen in the autumn lawn food is slow release and designed to be washed to the grass roots, then to hibernate for the winter, releasing the nutrients with the first flush of green grass growth in the early spring.

Q. My husband attended one of your classes and says you claim that feeding the lawn in the fall will cut back on lawn weeds in the summer. Is this true? M.W., Tacoma

A. Yes, hubby is a good listener. The first warm days of spring is when weed seeds sprout. A lawn fed in the fall will grow sooner and faster in early spring than an undernourished lawn. This means the grass can smother the new weeds that sprout every spring in the Pacific Northwest.

Lawn weeds are opportunist and move in where the grass is thin or weak. Once the lawn weeds become mature and established, new grass growth cannot smother the invasive weeds. Fertilizing in the fall helps the lawn grow ahead of the weeds.

Q. Should I look for a fall fertilizer with weed killer in it? P.P. Enumclaw

A. No. A fall feeding should not contain a weed and feed product. Weed killers do not work well in cool weather and the overuse of weed and feed products affects the quality of our water. A well fed and properly watered lawn is the best defense of lawn weeds. Plus a few weeds in the lawn is no cause for alarm.

Q. Is fall a good time to add lime to my soil? D.D.F. Maple Valley

A. Yes, you can spread lime or calcium carbonate on your lawn just about any time of year (just not when the soil is hot and dry in late August) and the added nutrients will help to raise the pH and lower the natural acidity of our Western Washington soil. Acid soil is one reason that lawns in our area are often full of moss.

Lime is not a fertilizer – it acts as a soil conditioner to help loosen compacted soil over time and to lower the natural acidity so nutrients that are already in the soil become more readily available to the grass roots. There are many different products that contain calcium, limestone and other minerals that will improve the soil. Fall is a good time to apply them because the winter rainfall will help to distribute the product.

More in Life

This time of year, it’s all about the harvest

The fourth week of August is time to reset for the coming… Continue reading

Scott Kreidermacher, left, and Lara Randolph, right, hold up the food that remains from a busy day at the Free Grocery Store, a new project from nonprofit Sustainable Renton, on Monday, Aug. 19. Photo by Haley Ausbun.
Free grocery store to combat food waste

A small Renton nonprofit hopes to help homeless and keep food from the landfill

Registering to vote online or in-mail ends Monday

In-person registration is available up until Election Day, Aug. 6.

Cruz the Loop and Return to Renton Benefit Car Show set for July 6, 7

Hot Rod weekend, downtown, will have some street closures.

Join author Kurt Armbruster for a discussion of his latest book, “Pacific Coast, Seattle’s Own Railroad” at 6 p.m. May 16 at the Renton History Museum, 235 Mill Ave. S. Courtesy photo
Upcoming events: Pacific Coast Railroad history lesson; coffee with Renton cops

Symphony: Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra Spring Masterworks Concert will highlight Tchaikovsky’s Symphony… Continue reading

Renton Rotary’s Youth of the Month for May

Five Renton students were selected as May 2019 Youth of the Month to finish off the school year.

Gardeners love our veggie-friendly Western Washington climate

Here are the most incredible edibles to grow now.

A look back at Black River

Renton History Museum hosts event with Seattle writer and natural history expert David Williams.

It is a busy time in the garden with planting

Near the end of April the nurseries will be overflowing with color.… Continue reading

Thom Cantrell, one of the organizers of the upcoming International Conference for Primal People, holds up a mould of a Sasquatch footprint. He said the mould was taken in the Blue Mountains in Oregon by Paul Freeman, a well-known Sasquatch hunter who’s 1994 footage of a Sasquatch in that area made big waves in the believer and skeptic communities alike. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
All things Sasquatch in Enumclaw

Washington state is famous for countless reasons. It’s the birthplace of Starbucks… Continue reading