Autumn Over-Seeding

Fall is a great time to over-seed a lawn.  The following instructions lay out an easy way to renovate your lawn this fall that will have a lasting impact all season long. While not every step may be necessary in every area, I think these steps lay out a good general idea of what we recommend when you renovate your lawn this fall. 

When a poor lawn has the proper grade and a well-drained soil, it can be more easily improved through renovation, rather than complete reconstruction.

Spring and fall are ideal times to renovate a lawn, although success can be achieved in the summer. Renovation involves the removal of thatch, grass and weeds, while thinning the lawn down to the soil to permit the introduction of improved varieties of grasses like those found in ProTime Lawn Seed Mixes.

The result is a beautiful, uniform new lawn without roto-tilling.

1. Select the proper ProTime Lawn Seed mixture for the area. You will need 7-10 lbs per 1000 square feet.

2. Use a dethatcher (power rake) to remove dead vegetation and to expose the soil. Rake up excess as needed.

3.Core-aerate the area. This is an important step because it enables soil enrichment. Remove the cores after core-aerating.

4.Broadcast an organic based fertilizer while the aeration holes are exposed.

5.Backfill the holes with Turface MVP to improve the soil structure.

6.Rake the area with a landscape rake until smooth.

7.Broadcast a starter fertilizer and lime.

8. Spread the seed with a drop, broadcast, or hand-held whirlybird spreader.

9.Cover the seed with grass straw mulch applied through the mulch roller.

Note: One pass will deliver the proper amount of mulch and will provide the perfect micro-climate for seed germination.

11.Keep the area moist, but not soaking, throughout the germination and establishment period.

Expect to see new grass blades emerging in 7-14 days. Mow the new lawn when it reaches 3-4 inches.

The selected varieties of lawn seed in ProTime Lawn Seed are your assurance of a picture perfect lawn that will thrive and persist for years to come in our Northwest climate.

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Planting Your Fall Lawn

Fall is a great time to put in your new lawn.  The natural rainfall and proper soil temperature in the autumn make it an excellent time to lay down some new seed.  Here is the process that we recommend when you put in your new lawn.  Not every step may be applicable to your situation, but this will give you a general guideline for when you go to do it.  Have fun! 


1. Soil Preparation

If the old lawn has not been removed, we recomend using a sod cutter to remove the existing lawn.

Run a rototiller over the area, loosening the soil 4 to 6 inches deep.

If the soil has a high clay content, we recommend rototilling in Turface Soil Amendment, at the rate of about 1 bag per 300 square feet.

Optional: spread a weed-free compost, 1 inch thick over the area to help improve the fertility of the soil. Add lime at this time to alter the pH. Then mix these soil amendments into your dirt with a rototiller to a depth of 3-4 inches.

2. Surface Prep

With a landscaping rake, remove large clods and irregularities in the grade.

Note: For larger areas a drag mat can speed this task.

Settle and compact the area with a water roller filled with sufficient weight to firmly compress the soil.

Note: The finished seedbed should be firm, not fluffy. You should be able to walk on your seedbed without sinking more than a quarter inch into the soil.

3. Seed and Fertilizer Application

Broadcast starter fertilizer at a rate of 10 lbs. per 1000 square feet. This will provide nutrients in the correct amounts to get the lawn off to a fast start.

Our Key-To-Green Starter fertilizer also provides a complete micronutrient package for long term health of the lawn.

Spread the ProTime lawn seed you have chosen for your lawn at a rate of 7-10 pounds per 1000 square feet (unless you are planting an Ecology Lawn mix) with a hand-held whirlyird spreader or a drop spreader.

Note: For large areas, a walk behind broadcast spreader will make the job go faster.

Completely cover the seedbed approximately 1/8″ deep with ProTime Grass Straw Mulch, applied through a mulch spreader. This helps to protect the seedlings, holds in warmth and moisture, and hides the seeds from birds.

Presto!  Your lawn is complete!  Now just keep the seed continually moist for the first few weeks and you'll have a healthy new lawn in just a matter of weeks. 

If you have any questions feel free to give us a call at (503) 239-7518 or email us at info@protimelawnseed.com

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Fall Fertilize

Fall & Winter Fertilizer (14-10-24)

Specially formulated to help your lawn store up nutrients for the winter. Apply in between Thanksgiving and Christmas for a beautiful Spring lawn.

(Our Fall fertilizer is not currently available for shipment.  Please feel free to stop by our store to pick up a bag today.) 

The key to a healthy, green lawn is sufficient sunshine, air and water, along with the living environment it needs.

Sounds simple enough. Above the ground the needs are easy to meet. Underground can be quite a different story…

When it comes to maintaining a fertile soil capable of supporting a healthy lawn, more than a little know-how is important. For grass plants to thrive, barriers which prevent water and nutrients from reaching the roots must be removed. Here’s how:

Remove Barriers:
Core-aerate the lawn to relieve soil compaction, a major barrier to water and nutrient entry. Back fill the aeration holes with a porous ceramic soil amendment in the form of Turface to provide permanent air and water space. Porous ceramics also promote microbial growth in the soil. Microbes break down fertilizer and make it available to the plant.
Finally, remove the thatch layer using a dethatcher.

About Fertilizers

All fertilizers are not created equal. There are two basic types of fertilizers; water- soluble and slow release.

Water soluble fertilizers disappear like sugar in hot coffee as they travel rapidly out of the root zone, completely dissolved in the water that runs through it. This type of fertilizer causes a rapid flush of growth and must be reapplied often in order to keep the lawn green.

Slow-release or water insoluble fertilizers are derived either from organic sources such as blood meal or bone meal, or chemical fertilizers encapsulated or compressed to slow down their nutrient release. These fertilizers are beneficial to the lawn and will reduce fluctuations in green color.
The analysis of the fertilizer will typically be posted on the front of the bag or box in the form of three numbers such as 13-4-8. These numbers refer to the percent of N-P-K in the product (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) and are important because they tell you what its effect will be on the plant.

For an established lawn, buy a fertilizer with a high first number such as Key-to Green Maintain (13-4-8). This will keep the lawn lush and green, with controlled growth.

Strong Roots will be produced by a fertilizer with a lower first number and with relatively higher middle and last numbers such as 10-16-10, the analysis in Key-to-Green Starter Fertilizer. A similar analysis will also provide winter hardiness to an established lawn and would be an excellent choice for starting wildflower seed or most any plant material.

Key-to-Green Fertilizers contain slow-release nutrients and complete micronutrients for the maximum health of your lawn.

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Maintain Shade Lawns

Maintaining Turf Grass in Dense Shade

Northwest winters, combined with a high population of shade trees can create havoc for the lawn that attempts to grow in their midst. Lack of sunlight, cooler temperatures, and competition for fertility and moisture with the trees make it difficult to establish and maintain a healthy turf under the leaf canopy.

Thinning of turfgrass in dense shade usually occurs in the winter months. Factors such as the lower angle of the sun and reduced brightness rob the grass plants of much needed sunlight.

Further stress is caused by soil compaction from rain water dripping off the trees at the drip line and a heavy concentration of leaves and needles choking out the grass plants.

The following procedure will amend the soil, introduce extremely shade tolerant varieties of grass seed, and maximize your potential to establish a beautiful lawn in dense shade:

1. Remove leaves, needles and other debris from the area under the tree(s).

2. Core-aerate the entire area, removing small plugs of soil. These holes make it possible to relieve compaction, lower the acidity, and introduce soil modifiers into the root zone, where it counts, with minimal disturbance to the lawn.

3. Take care not to damage the tree roots. Avoid spots where the roots have surfaced.

4. Broadcast lime at a rate of 50-100 lbs per 1000 square feet.

5. Topdress the area with Turface Soil Modifier and rake to backfill the holes. Turface creates a balance between air and water in the soil, making it easier for the grass to thrive.

6. Broadcast a good starter fertilizer.

7. Spread ProTime Super Shade Supplement over the heavily shaded areas at a rate of 1 lb per 1000 square feet.

8. Follow by broadcasting ProTime Shade Mix at a rate of 5 lbs per 1000 square feet over the entire shaded area.

9. Rake the seed gently and evenly, then cover with a thin layer of grass straw mulch, never over 1/8" to 1/4’ thick. Water the entire area lightly.

10. Keep moist until the grass is established.

The varieties of seed used in ProTime Shade Mix and Super Shade Supplement are the most shade tolerant grasses available. In some situations, overseeding may be required every spring to keep a thick lawn.

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Remedy Red Thread

Disease Invades NW Lawns

Red Thread is especially prevalent during the spring and autumn months on slow-growing, nitrogen deficient turf. It may cause severe damage to bluegrass, fescue, ryegrass and bent- grass species in humid and cool temperate regions of the world.

Diagnosis: Circular or irregularly shaped, small to large patches of infected grass become water-soaked and die rapidly. The tan color of dead leaves may be the first symptom observed. Dead leaves are generally interspersed among unin- fected leaves, which gives an overall diffuse, scorched, or ragged appearance to the patch. The patches may be widely scattered or close together and may join together to form large areas of infected turf.

Inspection of individual plants reveals that only the foliage is infected, and death usually proceeds from the leaf tip downward. When the air is saturated with moisture, the pathogen produces colorful mycelial structures that are of diagnostic value. Pink to pale red or orange fungal growths, called “red threads”, may extend up to 10 mm beyond the end of the leaf tip. Pink cottony flocks of mycelium up to 10 mm in diameter may also be produced. When the red threads or flocks are present, following humid weather, the patches of blighted grass take on a reddish cast that is easily detected.

Control: Based on soil reports, it is essential to maintain adequate and balanced soil fertility. Applications of nitrogen fertilizer are particularly helpful in reducing disease severity, but excessive rates of fertilizer must be avoided. The soil pH should be in the range recommended for growth of the turfgrass species in question (generally 6.5 to 7.0). Water as needed to prevent drought stress in the turf. Water should be applied thoroughly (deeply), as infrequently as possible, and early in the day. Avoid frequent sprinkling in the late afternoon; this encourages longer periods of leaf wetness.

Selectively prune trees and shrubs, or arrange the landscape design to increase light penetration and air movement over turf. Collecting turfgrass clippings during periods when grass is growing slowly may reduce the number of fungal threads that are incorporated back into the turf. Cultivars of the major turfgrass species vary as to susceptibility.
Note: Red Thread inform- ation provided courtesy of OSU Department of Horticulture.

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Remedy Clay Soils

The Real Dirt About Clay

Clay soils, in general, have not enjoyed a resounding reputation among those of us who try to grow things in areas where people stomp, kids play, and wheels roll.

Yet, if we conduct a check with Mother Nature to see where she grows most of her grass, we will find ourselves somewhere in the clay end of the soil spectrum. She doesn’t try to grow too many of her grasses in sand, I wonder why??

Sand doesn’t store enough of the water, nutrients, or oxygen that Mother Nature requires for the grass to grow. Also, for a healthy root zone, there must be a place for soil microbes to grow. If that’s the case, what’s wrong with clay?

IT COMPACTS!!

What does that really mean? When clays succumb to the compactive forces that we subject them to in the backyard, on the golf course, or on the athletic field, the natural porosity is destroyed. That means we reduce the number of voids between the clay particles. These are areas where the water, air and nutrients are stored and where the microbes live. Without these pore spaces, there is no storage space and without storage space there is no space for roots to grow.

As clay compacts, it is primarily the large, air- holding pores that are lost, leaving the remaining pores holding water. That means mud! Few plants like to grow in mud.

Believe it or not, an undistributed, clay based soil has a very high percentage of pore space. A well-structured clay has high total porosity and a good balance between water holding and air holding pores. It also has a high capacity to store nutrients and provides a good habitat for microbes.

If only there was a way to prevent clay soils from becoming compacted…

Now there is. Turface Soil Modifier, a porous ceramic, is a special blend of clays with very high (74%) porosity, balanced evenly between water holding pores and air holding pores.

It won’t compact. When Turface is incorporated into a clay soil, it simply adds pore space—- permanent pore space that won’t recompact. Within this new and permanent pore space, roots grow, air, water and nutrients are stored; and microbes live inside the tiny porous granules.
Turface can be rototilled into garden and flower beds, as well as new lawns, prior to planting.

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Enrich Your Soil

The Key To A Beautiful Lawn

The most important key to a beautiful, healthy green lawn lies hidden just below the surface. Often ignored and abused, the soil itself plays an important role in the success or failure of the lawn it supports. A fertile, live soil will take the frustration out of maintaining a great lawn and will decrease the amount of time you put into it.

Soil compaction is a major problem with Northwest lawns today. Compacted soil prevents water and fertilizer from reaching the root zone and results in moss or weed invasion and a weak lawn with a general poor appearance….the usual regimen of more water, more fertilizer and more herbicide will not solve the problem.

Dead soil is another major problem with lawns. Improper lawn care practices such as cutting lawns too short and not leaving the clippings have contributed to dead soil which is devoid of humus and microbiotic activity. Try growing your vegetable garden under those conditions. Now you’re getting the picture! Bring the dead soil back to life and your rewards will be lower maintenance and an attractive green lawn that enhances the environment.

Step #1: Core-aeration.

Core-aeration is to lawns what rototilling is to vegetable gardens. It is the only method to effectively improve your lawn’s soil without destroying the grass. Holes, created by core-aeration, provide easy access to the root zone and provide the opportunity to make the soil more ‘lawn friendly’.

Step #2: Backfill the holes with organic fertilizer, lime and Turface Soil Modifier.

The organic fertilizer will provide long-term nutrition for the lawn, as well as stimulate the growth of micro- organisms, necessary for healthy plant growth. Nutrients remain in the root zone longer when the soil contains organic matter. The most important step following core-aeration is to top-dress the lawn with Turface Soil Modifier. Turface is a soil amendment made from porous ceramic which creates permanent pore space in the soil. It won’t compact. Within these new pore spaces, roots grow, air, water and nutrients are stored, and microbes live inside the tiny porous granules.

These two steps will put life back into your soil, allowing your lawn to thrive and look beautiful without the usual frustrations. Remember to treat your lawn as you would your vegetable garden, with yearly soil enrichment from organic fertilizers and soil modifiers made possible through core-aeration.

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Remove Moss from the Lawn

Moss grows in the lawn because conditions are not suitable for a dense, healthy turf. Moss is usually associated with factors such as low fertility, poor drainage, soil compaction, heavy shade, and wet conditions.

Any one of these can inhibit lawn grass vigor and create a place where only moss can grow.

To win the battle against moss, a good, vigorous stand of turfgrass must be established and maintained.

Some varieties of turfgrass will not thrive in our acid soils and wet climate. These lawns are weak and will allow moss to reinfest the area. ProTime Lawn Seed Mixes, on the other hand, are well-adapted to this area. They remain strong and dense, forming an effective barrier against moss invasion, when properly maintained.

Turf must stay thick in order to keep moss out of the lawn.

Keeping Your Lawn Healthy

One condition affecting grass vigor is soil fertility.

Apply Key-to-Green Maintain Fertilizer which contains a percentage of slow-release nutrients at least three times per year to keep the lawn green and thick. Occasional applications of organic fertilizer will reduce the need for conventional fertilizers over time.

Lime may be required if none has been used in the past year. In very acid soils, lime will help increase the effectiveness of the fertilizer.

ProTime Lawn Seed Mixes are formulated to thrive in our wet clay soils, but if drainage is a problem, core-aeration will help alleviate the problem. Core- aeration will also help relieve compacted soil which is a major contributor to moss invasion.

Core-Aeration

Core-aeration removes small plugs of soil from the lawn, creating a direct entry into the root zone for soil modifiers that will alleviate compaction. Backfill the holes with Turface Soil Modifier to keep them open.

In areas of dense shade, Pro-Time 305 Shade Mix combined 5:1 with Pro-Time 313 Super Shade Supplement, will compete effectively against moss invasion. These particular varieties will provide the highest shade tolerance available in a turfgrass.

Existing Moss Problems

To control existing moss, remove it with a hand rake or power dethatcher.

Overseed the lawn with the proper mix of ProTime Lawn Seed seed, after moss removal, to ensure that desirable grasses fill in the void or thin areas that are left, or moss will surely return.

Follow up with a fertilizer plus moss control product after the new grass is established.

Keep it Away!

Prevent moss invasion: Remove existing moss. Core-aerate the area well and rake Turface Soil modifier into the holes. Apply lawn fertilizer, and then overseed with the recommended ProTime Lawn seed Mix for your particular site.

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Renovate Your Lawn

When a poor lawn has the proper grade and a well-drained soil, it can be more easily improved through renovation, rather than complete reconstruction.

Spring and fall are ideal times to renovate a lawn, although success can be achieved in the summer. Renovation involves the removal of thatch, grass and weeds, while thinning the lawn down to the soil to permit the introduction of improved varieties of grasses like those found in ProTime Lawn Seed Mixes.

The result is a beautiful, uniform new lawn without roto-tilling.

1. Select the proper ProTime Lawn Seed mixture for the area. You will need 7-10 lbs per 1000 square feet.

2. Use a dethatcher (power rake) to remove dead vegetation and to expose the soil. Rake up excess as needed.

3.Core-aerate the area. This is an important step because it enables soil enrichment. Remove the cores after core-aerating.

4.Broadcast an organic based fertilizer while the aeration holes are exposed.

5.Backfill the holes with Turface MVP to improve the soil structure.

6.Rake the area with a landscape rake until smooth.

7.Broadcast a starter fertilizer and lime.

8. Spread the seed with a drop, broadcast, or hand-held whirlybird spreader.

9.Cover the seed with grass straw mulch applied through the mulch roller.

Note: One pass will deliver the proper amount of mulch and will provide the perfect micro-climate for seed germination.

11.Keep the area moist, but not soaking, throughout the germination and establishment period.

Expect to see new grass blades emerging in 7-14 days. Mow the new lawn when it reaches 3-4 inches.

The selected varieties of lawn seed in ProTime Lawn Seed are your assurance of a picture perfect lawn that will thrive and persist for years to come in our Northwest climate.

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Spot Repairs

When the whole lawn doesn’t need renovating and problems are somewhat localized, spot repairs in the lawn can eliminate problem areas and prevent further trouble. Seed-to-soil contact is the key in spot repairing your lawn.

Broadleaf weeds such as dandelion and clover, and weedy bunchgrasses can be controlled with a proper herbicide. After killing the weeds, fill in the void spots with ProTime Lawn Seed to be sure that weeds don’t return to fill in. You CAN choose what grows in your lawn.

In areas where moss in the lawn is predominant, control the moss first with a product that contains ferous ammonium sulfate. Then, remove the dead moss by raking or dethatching. Moss will return if the lawn is thin, so overseeding with ProTime Lawn seed is essential for complete recovery. Keep the new grasses growing thickly by fertilizing with long lasting slow-release fertilizers.

Pro-Time Lawn seed is quick to establish and it will discourage moss reinvasion because it forms a dense, deep green, fine lawn that thrives in Northwest soils.

Small Patches:
Kill weeds and undesirable grasses with an herbicide containing glyphosate. Remove dead or dying plant debris with a hand cultivator or rake. Mix one part ProTime Lawn Seed with two parts potting soil or Grass Straw Mulch. Broadcast the mixture approximately 1/4 inch thick over the spots. Firm and dampen.

Large Areas:
Kill weeds if present, using an herbicide containing glyphosate. Remove dead moss and weeds with a dethatcher or a hand rake. Grass stubble will remain but should me mowed very short and most of the soil surface should be exposed. If the areas is not smooth, fill the low spots with topsoil or compost and rake.

Broadcast a starter fertilizer and overseed with ProTime Lawn Seed at the rates listed on the package. Cover the seed with Grass Straw Mulch, broadcast through the mulch roller. One pass over the newly-seeded area with the mulch roller will cover the seed at just the right depth. Keep the area moist, but without puddles, until the new lawn is established.

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