Early Spring Lawn Care Tips for Portland Oregon

Posted Aug 15, 2016 by Al Esterly

This is the time of year in Portland, when we turn our attention to matters related to turf health, when, sadly they should have been addressed earlier in fall and winter!

So in that spirit, my first suggestion is: take care of turf health issues in the cool seasons, when active growth is NOT taking place, focus on building soil fertility, not just “making the grass green” and whatever you do don’t go out there in April with a bag of fertilizer to “really get the lawn going” a dark night of twice a week unnecessary mowing awaits!The reason one would not want to do any type of aggressive fertilizing in spring is for the exact reason stated above, namely that it’s the time of year when vigorous growth is already taking place and the emphasis should be on simply maintaining the health of the turf which was established in fall/winter.

What can be done in fall/winter in preparation for the coming spring?Heavy and sustained fertilization with a good quality organic fertilizer, say at 6-8 week intervals. It sounds counter intuitive but fall and winter are absolutely the best time to ameliorate turf/soil conditions since one is assured that NO out of control growth will take place due to cool temperatures and short days, you can then coast into spring safe in the knowledge that your grass is healthy an only the suckers will be out there applying high doses of fertilizer at precisely the wrong time and generating a mowing nightmare.
The above over-fertilizing scenario is of course beneficial to those of us who mow lawns for a living since it provides a certain degree of job security!

Not to say that a light application of fertilizer would not be beneficial in spring, and again this is where the use of organic fertilizers is so much more preferable since they tend not to cause growth spurts like fertilizers with synthetic nitrogen do.

Spring is also a good time to perform an aeration and to dispel all notions that aerations are not beneficial, ponder this: golf courses do it and they have a financial incentive not to perform any turf maintenance chores that do not provide a net benefit.

Over-seeding any thin or bare areas should also be done this time of year and preferably in conjunction with the aeration since seed germination is vastly improved if the soil surface has been broken or roughed up.

Happy Mowing!