The optimal time to seed a lawn in the Pacific Northwest is between Sept. 1st and Oct. 15; but second best is between April 15th and June 15th.
Portland Nursery has lawn rakes, rollers, and spreaders available for use with a refundable deposit. Please call ahead to be sure they are available for use.
Rototillers can be rented at any equipment rental store.
There are a couple of ways to remove old or unwanted turf.
Sheet mulching the entire area in the spring or fall will slowly smother out the turf underneath. This leaves an area ready to dig in organic matter and prepared for seeding.
A quicker option is to use a non-selective herbicide. There are chemical and natural options and should be applied 2-3 weeks ahead of time when the air temps are between 50-80 degrees. Once the grass is dead, rototill no deeper than 6" and hand remove any large clumps that won't break up.
This is also a good time to add amendments such as lime and compost.
Use a steel lawn rake to even out the soil and remove stones. This will help attain a flat surface and will provide superior germination results. Add lime, 50# per 1000 sq. ft to sweeten the soil. Sprinkle over area to be seeded and rake into the surface.
Divide the seed into two lots. Using a drop spreader, distribute the first lot, then distribute the second lot at right angles to the first. In smaller areas, this can be done by using a handheld spreader or by hand. When using a drop spreader, make sure the edges are touched up by hand.
Lightly rake the entire area to ensure good contact between the seed and soil. The depth of the seed should be between 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Use a water roller, to compact the entire area. This will help the seed assimilate more water and quicken germination time.
This will also speed up germination and keep the birds from eating seed. If the area is on a slope, this will help keep the seed in place and prevent erosion. The mulch should be spread thin enough to see the soil underneath.
Sown lawns must be kept constantly moist. Thoroughly soak the area after planting to a depth of 6 inches. Water by hand two to three times a day. This should be done more often when it’s hot and/or windy, and should be applied using a fine spray so that the seed is not disturbed. It is important to keep the area free of any traffic for at least 6-8 weeks.
Only after this period of time should gentle mowing commence. The soil will be soft and the grass will be more delicate than an established lawn.
Knowing what a lawn likes goes a long way to creating that great looking patch of green.
A 7-10 pound bag of seed will cover 1000 square feet.
Perennial Rye grasses are softer and thinner than fescue and require more fertilizer and water. Less shade tolerance.
Fescue grasses have thicker harder blades, shade, drought and traffic tolerant.
Fescue grasses with thicker harder blades, good drought, traffic tolerance. Can take sun or shade.
Hard, tall fescue which take drought and traffic. Tolerates sun and shade.
Fescue, Yarrow, Ryegrass, Strawberry Clover, White Alyssum, English Daisy. This mix has many flowers which can be mowed and is drought and traffic tolerant. Best for sun, but will tolerate some shade.
Portland Nursery carries a variety of high quality seed mixes blended for Pacific Northwest conditions.
Choose the seed that suits your site's requirements and follow the 5 steps on our Installing a Seed Lawn Brochure.
Lawn Substitutes & Path ground covers for Shade
Grasses are a great choice to add structure, color and movement to the garden.
Work them into any garden style as focal points or accents and you'll be delighted with their graceful ease.