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New Homeowner in Oregon

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by Chadt, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. Chadt

    Chadt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Hi everyone. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can be to me.

    I just bought our first home and it was on the market for a year. The previous owner never really cared about it and it's in terrible shape. The next door neighbor ending up putting weed and grass killer on any spot that had clover weeds because he didn't want them spreading to his yard. The day I got the keys to the house I put on some fertilizer and weed killer but haven't really seen any favorable results yet. This was about a week ago. Now I am thinking about aerating and overseeding maybe even de-thatching.

    I read that overseeding is best in Aug-Sept so should I wait until then?

    Someone suggested that I just apply weed and grass killer over the whole lawn and then reseed. Do I need to do all that?

    Should I get my lawn de-thatched?

    I am new to this and since Portland's weather isn't really like most weather I'm having trouble finding specific advice to use. Any help would really be appreciated.
  2. MacMitch

    MacMitch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    I am not a pro but...
    I think where you start first depends a good deal on what shape the soil is in. If the soil is just in lousy shape you may need to add organic matter to the soil before seed will be able to establish root systems. Organic matter is also a fertilizer of sorts. It might be quicker to turn all the weedy grass under with some organic material or mulch and re seed the whole thing. You can waste years trying to get grass to grow in lousy soil. You may want to take a soil sample to your county extension agent for testing or test it yourself. You may need to add lime.....

    The other key is water, maybe not as big an issue for you as it is in the hot Atlanta sun, but still. Seed has to be watered constantly until it develops deep enough roots to survive on its own.
  3. Capemay Eagle

    Capemay Eagle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,752

    The guy that takes care of my yard rounded up the entire front yard last summer and reseeded in the fall, came in great this spring. The funny thing was he never told me he applied the round up and I was pulling my hair out when the lawn just died and turned to hay over the week he applied it. I had the sprinklers running allday but to no avail. I just laughed when he told me. We really don't communicate, I just told him to do what ever he needs to do and I just cut.
  4. IS500Z

    IS500Z LawnSite Member
    Messages: 246

    Just out of curiosity why did he kill your entire front yard and re-seed it?
  5. Capemay Eagle

    Capemay Eagle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,752

    Overrun with weeds. It was a couple weeks before fall renovation.
  6. dboyd351

    dboyd351 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,124

    I think you need to get some advice from some people in your part of the country. Portland has FAR different weather than the East Coast. I'm from VA, but lived in far Northern CA (near the Oregon border, up in the Redwoods) for a little over a year. I could not believe the difference in climate. Most of the year there was no shortage of rain and very little sun there, but then in the summer the sun shines and it doesn't rain for several months. The temps are also more stable than the east coast. Lawns, landscaping and the wild plants grew year round, but actually had a harder time growing in the summer because of the lack of rain.
    There's a guy on here going by DrNewEarth who is from Vancouver, I believe, who might be helpful. Lots of others, I'm sure, but keep your local climate in mind when considering advice.
  7. KeepingUp

    KeepingUp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Relax and enjoy Portland. September will be the time to replace your lawn. In the meantime you can do some soil testing and make sure you are ready to care for it. The rains have ended. Your lawn can go dormant and you will not be wasting water trying to do the improbable. You can expect dry weather until the middle of September with plenty of warm days. Those conditions will take any moisture you try to apply to germinate a new lawn or improve your existing lawn. In September, you will have excellent conditions to correct your lawn situation. Thatching will not be as important as areation. You could either correct the present lawn or start over. The soil will be a greater key to that decision than the grass and weeds. Be warned, you need to identify any dranage issues related to your property. Talk with the neighbors and identify the local issues.
  8. maynardGkeynes

    maynardGkeynes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 411

    2 to 3 months without a lawn is a little depressing. I assume sod is not in the budget, but if you have a small lawn, it's the way to go. You can sod now, provided your area allows irrigation. As far as seeding, I'd do a hail Mary seeding with perennial ryegrass, which is well suited to W.Oregon, costs nothing, and germinates in 5 days. At least you will have something green to look at. I would scrape it real good, put down some starter fertilizer (ie, with phosphorus), NO WEED KILLER, and seed. But you do need to keep it well misted until germination, and water it lightly after that. If irrigation is not allowed, forget it, watch the Golf Channel if you want to look at nice grass. :)
  9. dboyd351

    dboyd351 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,124

    I concur with this 100%. Portland is beautiful city, especially in summer. Go on the waterfall tours, go to the city parks, take day trips to Mt. Hood area and up the Gorge, really enjoy your summer and don't worry about your lawn.
    Come Sept/Oct. you'll get all the rain you need to get your lawn going without fighting mother nature.

    I didn't know about the weather when I lived there and spent my entire summer trying to get a lawn going during the summer seasonal drought. The sun baked the clay in the ground to what looked like adobe bricks while I fought the "prairie peas" and gophers from the old horse pasture my house was built on. The tiller I rented to break the ground up just bounced off the surface of the baked clay. It rained during a company picnic on July 4th weekend, then didn't rain again until the first week of October!!!

    Once the rain started in October it was nearly constant until April or May.

    Take Keeping up's advice, enjoy your summer there, then tackle the lawn in Sept/Oct. You'll be glad you did.

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