tipsAs a rule of thumb, keep cool-season grasses at a height of 2" during the summer and warm season grasses at a height of 1". Cutting too short affects the roots in their
search for nutrients in the soil and reduces the nutrients manufactured by the leaves.
- Mow when the grass is 1" higher than its recommended height. Letting the lawn grow too long between mowings weakens the grass.
- Mow when the grass is dry.
- Avoid mowing in the same pattern - for example, always following horizontal paths - every time.
- As long as the clippings aren't too long, just leave them in place - they will add nitrogen to the soil as they break down.
Established lawns should be mowed once a week. Cutting your lawn frequently will encourage a thick dense turf that resists weeds.
Mow every 5 days during the cooler spring months when grass is growing quickly, gradually changing to every 7 to 10 days when hotter weather slows the grasses growth rate. Resume more
frequent mowing in the fall.
LAYING SOD / SEEDING
Laying rolls of sod will produce an immediate lawn, while seeding will take a bit longer but is a bit cheaper and gives the same result. Before seeding or laying sod, there are a few
preparations that need to be done to increase the success of the lawn. First, check to see if the property grade is level and flat and has good drainage. Make sure there is a proper
swale on the property so water will drain to a catch-basin or off the property. Make sure the grade is not altered so that your neighbors do not get your run-off water. Add a good,
rich soil base such as Triple Mix or ProMix to provide nutrients to the new grass and promote root growth. For seeding or sodding, it is always recommended to also use a turf-starter
fertilizer with a higher middle number, indicating a higher level of phosphorus, such as 10-20-5 . You apply this fertilizer on top of the soil base and under the sod/seed.
Lay Sod as follows:
- Roll out a piece of sod and press it into position. Fit the next section against it tightly but do not overlap.
- Continue laying sections, staggering them slightly (like bricks)
- Use a weighted roller (can usually be rented from your local nurseries) over the newly laid sod, going over it a second time at right angles to the first pass.
- Rake the new lawn lightly to lift the flattened grass.
- Most importantly, keep the soil moist until the sod is well established. Water every single day for 14 days, and then every 3 days once the lawn is established.
Seeding a Lawn
- Use a Pro-Mix or Peat moss for the soil base instead of the Triple Mix. Triple Mix, in the case of seeding, can introduce broadleaf weeds and weed grasses.
- Evenly distribute the grass seed. Note there are different grass seeds available for sunny or shady areas.
- Rake the grass seed light into the soil mixture, and add more grass seed.
- Water well daily. Within a week to 10 days, you should have sprouts of new grass.
Spring Lawn Care
- Aerate your lawn which helps with drainage and the absorption of nutrients.
- Rake the lawn very lightly to remove thatch (yellow grass) and debris. This may also help reduce problems with various insects.
- Add a weed-n-feed fertilizer with a high first number indicating a high level of nitrogen, for example: 20-3-4 or 28-3-6 or 24-3-6 .
General Lawn Care
- Water established lawns every 3 rd day.
- Mow lawn as per above instructions.
- Occasional weeding by hand may be required to keep the lawn free of weeds.
- There are chemical weed controls for dandelion, chickweed, clover and most other weeds, such as "Killex". Always read and follow the package instructions carefully before using
- Try to keep large objects off the grass for extended periods of time (like kids pools, sandboxes, garbage cans, tarps etc..) as the grass underneath will yellow and die.
- If you notice mushrooms in your lawn, a good tip to get rid of them is to sprinkle garlic salt on them, which you may have in your kitchen. They will shrink up and disappear overnight
and will not return.
- Mushrooms, in lawns, are generally a result of too much moisture.
Fall Lawn Care
- Rake lawn lightly to remove all leaves, branches and debris.
- Edge your garden beds
- Fertilize with a fall lawn or "winterizing" fertilizer such as a 12-3-18 , the high last number indicating an increased level of potassium.
Harmful Insects You May Find in Your Lawn
- White Grubs are milky white in colour with brown heads and are about 3cms long and can be found curled up in the soil.
- Chinch bugs are black or brown with white wings and are about 1cm long
- Leaf Hopper are wedge-shaped insects that are usually seen hopping from leaf to leaf. They are about 1cm long and are yellowish, green or grey. They feed on the plants sap.
- Cutworms are grey, black or brown worms approximately 2" long and are often found in the thatch layer and you may see them by pulling back a layer of grass.
- Sod Webworms are 1-2cm long and are light brown or grey with black spots
- Ant mounds can smother the grass and the tunnels can dry the soil roots out. The ants will eat the newly laid grass seed.
Most of these can be controlled with an insecticide or beneficial insect. Note that a lot of the commonly used insecticides are being taken off the market.
Some "Do Nots"
- Do Not roll the lawn with a heavy roller in the spring. This causes compaction which hinders air and moisture penetration and can cause pooling.
- Do Not stand on the lawn as the frost melts and the ground is wet.
- Do Not rake lawn hard. Instead rake lightly with fan rake.
- Do Not top dress the lawn with top soil or manure. They both can introduce broad leaf weeds and weed grasses. Instead use pro mix or a top dresser.
- Do Not mow the lawn too short in warm weather.
- Do Not under water.