Our lawn installation and renovation techniques include lawn improvement practices such as aeration, compost topdressing, and overseeding, to reduce compaction, increase water infiltration, improve soil structure and natural disease control, and crowd out weeds. In some cases, grass may be thinned in some areas, diseased in others. Sometimes, it’s so overrun by dandelions and weeds (more than 50 percent) that it’s just better to start from scratch and install a new lawn.
Aerating, Topdressing, and Over-seeding
Sometimes your lawn may feel compacted under your foot. That’s because over time, your lawn has become compacted through heavy foot traffic from kids, pets and other activities. Soil compaction essentially squeezes out the pore spaces in the soil that normally holds air. Roots need oxygen to grow and absorb nutrients and water. When your soil is too compacted, it reduces your lawn’s ability to take in water, nutrients, air and fertilizers. Spring and Fall are the best times to aerate your lawn, and Ecoyards provides this service as part of our natural lawn care program. We’ll use a power aerator to remove small plugs of soil from your lawn to improve root development. Left on the lawn, the cores of soil will also help decompose excess thatch layers in the lawn.
After aerating, we often recommend top dressing the lawn with a thin layer of mature compost and planting new grass seed to encourage thicker lawns. Over time, the top dressing benefits the lawn as it builds up the quality of the soil. For over-seeding, we use a grass mixture that is blended specifically for the Northwest. Thick lawns discourage weeds by crowding them out.
De-thatching, Topdressing, and Over-seeding
Thatch is a dense layer of dead and living organic matter that separates grass from the soil surface underneath it. A 1/2-inch layer shouldn’t be a problem, but any thicker than that and thatch can keep air, water and fertilizer from reaching the grass roots. Thatch is usually a mixture of grass stems and roots that accumulates because they’re building up faster than they can break down. Over-watering and applying excessive nitrogen fertilizer can lead to thatch buildup. And contrary to what many people think, leaving grass clippings on the lawn, or “grasscycling,” does not cause thatch buildup. To de-thatch a lawn, Ecoyards will bring in a motorized de-thatcher and remove the thin layer of thatch buildup on your lawn. Then we’ll topdress the lawn with compost mulch and over-seed as described above with the aerating process.
Installing New Lawns
Some lawns are in too rough of shape to be salvaged with aerating or de-thatching and it’s better to start from scratch. The grass may be thinned, overrun by weeds, and the underlying soil may be poorly draining and devoid of nutrients. A healthy new lawn drains properly, and discourages moss. With improved subsurface soil, it also requires less maintenance, water and fertilizers over time.
Once we decide that your lawn needs replacing, here’s what Ecoyards does:
1. Remove the existing sod. We remove the old turf and haul it away for composting. Some people recommend killing grass by spraying it with herbicide. We don’t do this, as it’s too time consuming and we try to avoid herbicides where possible.
2. Improve the soil. Healthy soil is the key to healthy lawns. Grass grows taller and thicker, and competes better with weeds. We’ll mix in mature compost, abundant in nutrients and microorganisms, with your old soil about six inches deep, so you’ll have a good thick layer of rich topsoil.
3. We roll out sod that uses mostly a blend of ryegrass, which is very well-suited for western Washington. Voila. Instant lawn.
4. Once the sod is in place, water it enough over the first few months to maintain healthy conditions. Once it’s established, water deeply every week, so you get about one inch of water. Water it in the early morning, preferably before 10 a.m. to reduce the amount of evaporation. You’ll want to be prepared to fertilize the lawn about 30 days after we install it, using a slow-release organic fertilizer which releases nutrients gradually into the soil and reduces the amount that runs off into our streams, rivers and Sound. Use fertilizers moderately. Look for the words “natural organic” or “slow release.” Please avoid weed and feed products, which broadcasts weed killer on every inch of your yard. That excess runs off into the waters, harming salmon and other fish.
Contact us at (206)-770-7879 or email for a consultation. We’ll evaluate your property and review your preferences to determine the best approach for renovating your lawn.
For more information on lawn renovation techniques in the Seattle area, be sure to read through our blog post category on lawn care services.