Lawn Fertilization & Watering

Follow the recommendations below to give your lawn what it needs to be healthy and a lawn you can enjoy. Begin by applying fertilizer 30 days after installation and 30 days again after the first fertilization.

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Look for a lawn fertilizer with a mixture ratio of 3-1-2 (or 12-4-8). This will provide the most balanced nutrition and ultimately the best results for the Pacific Northwest. We suggest that you use a slow release nitrogen on lawns with slopes or sandy soil. Mixing the slow release nitrogen with quick release fertilizer such as urea, ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate may provide the best results.

Spread fertilizer on dry grass using a broadcast spreader using the recommended settings           on spreader and following the fertilizer package directions. Using a spreader avoids over fertilizing and burning. Sweep or blow off sidewalks to avoid staining concrete.

An established lawn in the Puget Sound needs no more than one inch of water per week between May and September. Increased watering is necessary during the hot summer months. The best time to water is early morning or late evening. This reduces evaporation and maintains sufficient moisture in the turf. In addition, early morning watering reduces moisture related disease problems. Adjust your automatic timers or sprinkler system to accommodate the needs of your lawn in the hotter summer months.

Hydroseed – New Lawn

Newly hydroseeded or seeded areas must be kept moist all the time during the first two weeks after planting. We suggest watering 2 to 3 times per day, after 2 weeks less frequent. Watering 3 times per week for 10 – 15 minutes per area until your first lawn mowing.

Sod – New Lawn

Make sure the water has penetrated the soil after watering to establish sufficient moisture in the turf.


On a newly installed sod lawn it’s best to wait a minimum of 10 days before your first mow. Never use a riding mower to begin with, make sure the roots are well established at least 1/4 “ before your first mow. If you see the sod pulling away from the ground due to suction from your mower, you have started too soon. Seeded lawn should be mowed no sooner than 30 days after seeding or when the grass is 3” tall.

Never cut more than 1/3 of the total height of grass; remove clippings and have mower blades sharpened regularly.

Mowing lawns higher helps the lawn survive longer during hot summer months and droughts and develops a deeper root system. Mowing lawns lower results in a dense canopy, but the lawn will be less hardy during drought.

Edging makes a green lawn look clean and finished. Use a good lawn edger and follow the proper safety instructions.

Mulches are effective in weed reduction and water conservation. It is best to maintain mulch to a depth of 2 inches in all permanent planting areas. It is important to keep bark mulch thickness to a minimum in and around the bases of trees and shrubs. Excess bark can do damage by promoting crown rot and promote disease development.

Lawn dethatching is suggested when lawn thatch builds up to 1/2 inch or more. The best time to thatch is between March and May.

It is vital to the health of your lawn to reduce excess thatch (thatch is the organic matter that accumulates on the soil surface below the grass blade). Small amounts of thatch buildup of 1/2 inch or less can be helpful. It helps reduce evaporation and helps to protect the lawn from wear. Thatch can hurt your lawn because it can become saturated and interfere with drainage.

An annual core aeration can help in deep root growth and avoid compaction. The best time for aeration is between March and May.

It is beneficial to seed after aeration or thatching. Lawn seed may be raked into the turf lightly at a rate of 4-6 pounds per 1,000 sq. feet of grass. A light application of peat moss will protect the grass seed and aid in germination.

Lawn Weeds
Control lawn weeds by hand-pulling or spot spraying herbicide, follow the herbicide label carefully. Do not apply herbicide for at least 60 days after planting a new lawn.

Tree & Shrub Fertilization
Trees and shrubs need fertilization too. Begin with a Spring application of fertilizer by using either liquid or granular form. By fertilizing your trees, shrubs and ground cover, you help ensure a richer color. Spring fertilizer also helps get the plant growing after winter stress. Use a balanced formula such as 9-9-9. Provide a second application of fertilizer during May or June. Use 5-10-15 for later fertilizing.

Tree / Shrub Watering
Never water ornamental trees, shrubs and ground cover during the heat of the day, this can burn the leaves. Most of these plants require a great deal of water during their initial year.

Water thoroughly at the base of the plant as needed and we the plant’s entire root system. It’s important to keep the soil moist, but not saturated. New plantings require more and consistent moisture. Water moves vertically in the soil so water over a large enough area. Insufficient or excessive watering can damage your trees and shrubs.


Below are the primary pruning periods.

Deciduous – Trees/Shrubs – January/February/March

Flowering – Trees/Shrubs – Prune to shape after the flowering period

Hedge type bushes & broad leaf evergreens – Early spring, summer and early fall

*Check with your local horticulture professional for any major pruning.

Pest and Disease Control – Trees and Shrubs
During the period from early spring through fall pest control is important for your ornamental shrubs. *Check with your local horticulture professional.