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If you want your lawn to still be healthy when the weather warms up again, you want to make sure you plan ahead and winterize your lawn. I am confused as to what type of  grass seeds to use. I purchased Scots sun /shade and deep shade type of seed from Home Depot, I seeded it just few … Learn how to avoid common mistakes when planting grass seed for a more full, lush, vibrant lawn.

Everything your lawn needs in the fall in order to survive winter

The ideal time to winterize your lawn is when it stops growing in the fall while it is still green and the roots are still active.

The ideal time to winterize your lawn is when it stops growing in the fall while it is still green and the roots are still active. Read Less

by: Ryan Dempsey, BestReviews Staff

Posted: Sep 10, 2022 / 01:18 PM EDT

Updated: Sep 10, 2022 / 01:25 PM EDT

What does your lawn need to survive the winter?

Once the leaves begin to fall and the temperature starts to drop, it’s time to get ready for winter. That means breaking out a new set of clothes and preparing to spend more time outside.

If you spent time this summer caring for your lawn, and have already invested in a lawn mower, sprinkler and even a lawn roller, you don’t want all of your hard work to go to waste. If you want your lawn to still be healthy when the weather warms up again, you want to make sure you plan ahead and winterize your lawn.

Steps you need to take to winterize your lawn

Remove debris

Before you care for your lawn, you want to rake up leaves, clean up dead branches and pull any weeds that might still be lingering, so you will have a fresh start when the weather breaks.

Fertilize

Look for fertilizer specially designed to winterize lawns, and apply evenly over the grass. Follow the instructions closely and don’t use too much or you could damage your lawn.

Aerate

Aerating allows for all of the nutrients to reach the roots. This is especially important if your lawn sees a lot of action during the summer.

Plant grass seed

Prepare for spring by planting grass seed. The type of seed you choose, like many of these products, will depend on the type of grass you have and the temperature and conditions in the area where you live.

The best products to winterize your lawn

The best product to check pH levels

Formulated to work immediately to increase your soil’s low pH, this fast-acting lime will create a better soil and lawn environment that can survive the winter. This formulation is more concentrated than the regular version of dolomitic limestone, so you can use much less for a large square footage area.

Where to buy: Amazon

The best products to remove weeds

This top-of-the-line weeder can replace many other tools. It is pointed with sharpened inside and outside probes that can clear weeds quickly and easily while cutting below the drip lines and removing the ground cover in preparation for winter.

Where to buy: Home Depot and Amazon

Designed with an ergonomic handle and created in Japan from the finest stainless steel, this weed cutter is ideal for taking care of the peskiest of weeds. The durable blade is 3.25 inches long with a 6.5-inch handle to quickly remove weeds so you can winterize your lawn.

Where to buy: Amazon and Home Depot

The best products to spread fertilizer

Fertilizing is a key step to winterizing your lawn and this weed and lawn fertilizer will help to thicken lawns and crowd out weeds. Turf builder offers Weedgrip technology particles that grip the weed leaves and can cover 5,000 square feet.

Where to buy: Home Depot and Amazon

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Prepare your large lawn or crops for winter quickly and easily with an automatic drop spreader that fertilizes as you walk. This durable powder-coated, rugged frame can support up to 100 pounds of fertilizer at a time.

Where to buy: Home Depot and Amazon

The best products to aerate the lawn

Get your steps in while aerating your lawn with these aerator shoes made from a sturdy plastic base and rust-proof spikes that dig deep into even the most rooted of soil. These shoes are easily adjustable to fit most sizes and come with shoes, 26 nails, 3 straps and a small hand shovel to clean your shoes.

Where to buy: Amazon

Get deep into your soil to loosen it so fertilizer, air, and water can seep down into the root system with this multi-spike lawn aerator. This will stimulate root growth by separating all of the roots to make your lawn ready for winter.

Where to buy: Amazon and Home Depot

The best products to spread grass seed

Prepare your lawn for winter with a combination of seed, mulch and fertilizer made to grow grass in any weather or sun conditions. The high-performance grass seed will help to keep your seedlings protected from harmful diseases. The controlled release technology can jumpstart and promote the growth of seedlings by feeding them with nutrient-dense ingredients.

Where to buy: Home Depot and Amazon

A fantastic option for seeding, this biodegradable grass mat is guaranteed to make sure that every seed is placed perfectly. All you have to do is roll it out, water it and watch your lawn grow. The biodegradable fabric makes sure the seeds don’t wash away on sloped land or during hard rain.

Where to buy: Home Depot and Amazon

The best products to cover plant beds

Help prepare your lawn for winter by deterring weeds and reducing their growth and access to the sun. This mulch helps to conserve the moisture in the soil and keeps the temperate ideal for the fall and winter.

Where to buy: Home Depot

This all-purpose burlap fabric is made from 100 percent biodegradable material that can protect your plants, lawn and seeds from all of the terrors of winter, including rain, snow and frost. This product provides great protection for erosion and shade from the sun.

Where to buy: Amazon

The best products to remove debris

This rake is lightweight and durable as it’s made from high-quality poly steel that will last you years. This rake is essential in the continuous removal of leaves and dirt as you prepare your lawn for fall.

Where to buy: Home Depot

Get your hands dirty without actually getting your hands dirty with these premium leaf scoops that will help you pick up all of the debris on your lawn. These have the longest reach on the market, limiting how much you have to bend over, while the three-point power-leverage grip will make the process easy and comfortable.

Where to buy: Amazon and Home Depot

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Ryan Dempsey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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Scotts grass seeds from Home Depot?? #428890

I am confused as to what type of grass seeds to use. I purchased Scots sun /shade and deep shade type of seed from Home Depot, I seeded it just few days ago, then I read on the Internet, that the best grass for Portland in fall should be perennial rye grass?? Is this true?
If so where can I buy then such type of grass here?
Area I am talking about is my backyard on the north side of the house.

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Multnomah County Oregon

Expert Response

The grass you planted should be fine. 100% Perennial ryegrass is not a good choice for a shady site which I assume you have since you bought both a sun and shade mix and a dense shade mix.

Also, your sun and shade mix has about 20% perennial ryegrass along with the fine fescue (20%) and Kentucky bluegrass (10%) and the coating (50%) in it and the dense shade mix is probably almost all fine fescue.

Lastly, the grasses we plant in Oregon do not persist very long before getting taken over by other grasses in the soil seed bank including annual bluegrass, bentgrass, velvet grass, and rough bluegrass.

In spite of this fact, you can still have a nice lawn if you mow it regularly, fertilize it 1 – 4 times per year depending on the site, grass type, and expectations, and irrigate it enough in the summer to maintain the stand. Note, the lawn doesn’t need to be lush green but even watering it every few weeks deeply will keep it alive (even if it’s brown) which will prevent weed encroachment.

How to Avoid Common Grass Seed Mistakes

Creating a lush, vibrant lawn takes commitment, but the rewards of a successful grass seed project are worth the time and resources you invest. A beautiful lawn can improve your home’s value, benefit the environment and enhance your family’s quality of life. Even if you’re a first-time lawn grower, you can seed right and avoid these common mistakes:

1. Planting the wrong type of seed

Choosing appropriate grass varieties is the first step in ensuring your lawn performs up to your aspirations. Grasses vary widely in their preferences and tolerances, just like other types of plants. Kentucky bluegrass and Bermudagrass, for example, differ significantly in climate and maintenance requirements. Planting grass varieties appropriate to your growing region gives your seed a natural advantage.

Even with similar seed types, all grass seed isn’t equal. Learn what’s actually inside the seed bags you or your lawn professional buy. By understanding the seed tags on grass seed products, you can be sure you invest in quality seed. Cheaper price tags can mean less seed versus fillers, old seeds past their prime, more weed seeds and lower germination rates. Getting seed right from the start benefits your lawn and budget.

2. Skipping the soil test and recommendations

Seeding success depends on an environment conducive to good grass growth. Knowing how your soil measures up on certain essentials, such as soil pH and plant nutrients, allows you to provide the foundation an outstanding lawn needs. Soil testing processed through a reputable soil laboratory eliminates guesswork and reveals changes you need to make.

Without knowing where your soil stands, well-intended soil amendments and fertilizers can harm grass instead of help — or simply go to waste. Incorporating your specific soil lab recommendations helps circumvent potential problems and unnecessary setbacks. That’s one reason turf professionals emphasize regular soil testing to start seed right and keep lawns healthy and vibrant. Your local county extension office can help with testing kits and lab referrals.

3. Using lime incorrectly or unnecessarily

Many homeowners think lime is a lawn care necessity, but that doesn’t hold true across the board. Normal lawn care can naturally cause soil pH to drop lower over time, and lime applications benefit lawns that need pH raised. But in some cases, soil pH may already be high. Using too much lime or applying it unnecessarily can be as damaging as failing to add lime when it’s needed.

When soil test results show your lawn’s soil pH is below levels needed for optimal grass health, liming in accordance with recommendations restores proper pH balance, increases nutrient availability and helps keep lawns green. While many lime products are slow to work, products such as Pennington Fast Acting Lime speed up the process and start working immediately.

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4. Ignoring recommended seeding rates

Using the proper amount of seed for your project influences success, whether you’re starting from scratch or overseeding an existing lawn. New lawns or spot repairs take about twice the amount of seed needed for overseeding thin areas. Quality grass seed labels include guidance on optimal seeding rates to maximize your results.

Don’t overdo or cut corners. Too much grass seed causes undue competition for resources such as light, water and nutrients, and grass seedlings struggle as a result. Too little seed leaves lawns thin or bare. Always follow “best practice” guidelines for planting grass seed, including site preparation and good seed-to-soil contact, and stick with recommended seeding rates for lush results.

5. Miscalculating your lawn dimensions

Getting your seeding rates right requires knowing the correct size of the area you need to cover. One of the most common problems grass professionals see is when homeowners misjudge their actual lawn areas and over-apply grass seed or other products, such as fertilizers and herbicides.

Knowing your total property size is just the start. All non-lawn areas must then be deducted. This includes the footprints of your house, garage and outbuildings, as well as walkways and the driveway. Only then can you calculate your actual lawn area and the amount of seed you need. Time spent on proper measurements prevents wasted product, wasted money and poor results. Get it right and every bit of seed and labor work in your favor.

6. Planting without regard for proper timing

It can be tempting to plant seed as soon as the need arises. But proper timing has an important impact on results. Grass growth occurs in seasonal cycles, which vary according to the grass types common to different regions. Timing your seed projects to coincide with growing cycles greatly improves your rate of success.

For most of the country, fall is the best time to plant grass seed. This is when cool-season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescues peak in growth, and conditions enhance fast germination and establishment. When paired with innovations such as water-conserving Pennington Smart Seed, proper timing leads to other advantages, including less input of resources, less maintenance and better results.

7. Using weed treatments or weed & feed fertilizers with seed

One of the ways weed treatments work is by preventing germinating seeds from establishing roots. But these products, known as pre-emergents, can’t distinguish between harmful weed seeds and desirable grass seed you put down. Using these products too close to newly planted seed — in timing or proximity — stops grass seed in its tracks, along with the weeds. Post-emergent weed treatments aimed at existing broadleaf weeds can also injure immature grass seedlings.

Always read and follow herbicide and fertilizer labels, especially the instructions for use on newly seeded lawns and your grass type. As a general rule, avoid pre-emergent weed treatments at least 10 to 12 weeks before seeding — or longer for some products. After planting, reserve broad-spectrum weed treatments until new lawns have been mowed at least two to three times; for fall-planted seed, that usually means spring.

When it comes to your lawn aspirations, you can bypass common grass seed mistakes and head straight for success. Make the most of your investment of time, money and grass seed, and enjoy the exceptional results. Pennington is committed to helping you grow the finest lawn possible and enjoy all the benefits that a beautiful, healthy lawn holds.

Pennington and Smart Seed are trademarks of Pennington Seed, Inc.

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