Greener Grass

By AM Northwest Staff

How can you get your lawn back in shape without harmful or pulluting chemicals?

Metro's Natural Gardening Specialist, Carl Grimm was here to show us how.


How can you get your lawn back in shape for the summer, without harmful or polluting chemicals? Carl Grimm came to the studio to show us how. Top three recommendations?

1. Mow high (about 3 inches) and let the clippings lie. Grasscycling is the easiest thing you can do to feed your lawn for free. It also means you can mow a little less often. But if your grass is 5 inches tall or more, bag it (and compost the clippings). And stay on it better next time round’!

2. Overseed to crowd out the weeds. Sprinkle some grass seed over your whole lawn in spring or fall especially if it looks sparse. A mix of Perennial ryegrass and fine fescue is a good bet since ryegrass establishes fast and fescue is a little more drought and shade tolerant. If the seed bag recommends applying one pound per 10 foot by 10 foot area for a new planting, use ¼ pound for overseeding.

3. Topdress to reduce the stress. Grass needs healthy soil to stay strong. Topdressing is spreading a thin layer of weed-free compost over the whole lawn or just over trouble spots. How much to put on? Spread ¼ to ½ inches thick and water it in. This is one or two two-cubic foot bags of compost per 10 foot by 10 foot area.

Problems with weeds? No need for weed and feed! Why use chemicals when you don’t have to? The best way to manage weeds sounds hard but is easier than anything in the long run. Hand pull with your favorite tools and then overseed and topdress the bare spots. If you have lots of little weeds, use a thatch rake and then overseed and topdress.


Want to see green in the heat of summer and don’t know how much to water? If green in summer is what you seek, be sure your grass gets an inch a week! Use a rain gauge (or a tuna can) to see how long it takes your sprinklers to deliver an inch of water. This is how much to water each week without rain. If it rains ½ inch, you only need to water ½ inch. If you don’t mind a tan colored lawn in August and September, don’t bother watering! The lawn will bounce back when the rains come.

So remember:


  • Mow high and let the clippings lie.
  • Overseed to crowd out the weeds.
  • Topdress to reduce the stress.
  • No need for weed and feed.
  • If green in summer’s what you seek, you need to water an inch a week! 

For more information on Metro Natural Gardening Programs call 503-234-3000 or click here.

"Green" lawns


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