Simple steps for a healthy and lush lawn - April 23rd 2012
Do you ever walk by your neighbours nice lush lawn and shake your head in frustration? Here are a few tips for the spring to help you on your way to getting that fine carpet of green that you always wanted.
1. At the very minimum it is recommended to fertilize your lawn once in the spring/ early summer and once in the late summer/ fall. Early spring fertilizers tend to be high in nitrogen and encourage that nice lush green growth that you so desire, so be aware that you will need to mow more often. Fall fertilizers tend to be higher in phosphorus and potassium and strengthen your lawn up in preparation for those cold Canadian winters. In the Lower Mainland of BC, area Potters encourage four feedings; one in early spring, one in late spring, one in early summer and one in the fall. This schedule definitely makes for the beginnings of a happy lawn.
2. Depending on the soil quality where you live and the amount of rain you get, you will probably want to lime your soil once a year. Lime does multiple things. It raises the pH of your soil allowing lawns to take up nutrients easier. It also makes it harder for moss to take root as moss loves a nice moist acidic soil. At Potters they always recommend Dolopril lime that comes in pellet form as this tends to be the easiest type of lime for people to spread. A new trend that we're seeing more and more people switching to every season is eggshell lime, which is an excellent renewable resource and really works well at raising the pH in the lawn.
3. Do you have one of those lawns that will not drain very easily? It could be that you have serious drainage problems underneath your lawn, which might need professional attention. Hopefully it is an easier fix than that and you just have a highly compacted lawn. If this is the case, you will want to rent an aerator and punch the lawn in the spring or wait until the fall. Once you have punched the lawn you can leave the plugs where they are (you do not have to rake them up). Afterwards it is a great time to spread a nice turf-blend soil on your lawn as a top dress that is high in sand to help with drainage. You should see improvements in your lawn's drainage almost immediately and it should get better and better every season if you aerate over a period of a few years.
4. If moss is a problem, you will want to get a good moss control product from your local garden centre that is high in ferrous sulphate. This product will turn the moss brown/ black, at which point you'll have to rake out the dead moss. Make sure you go to the effort of raking out the moss as best you can since you do not want it to regenerate all over again. Renting a power-raker is a good idea if you are really serious about getting rid of moss and any thatch that has built up in the lawn over the years. Once you are done getting rid of your moss, you should lime your lawn to ensure those fluffy clumps of moss do not come back.
5. Once you have raked out your moss you may notice that you have lots of bare patches in your lawn. For those with bald spots in their turf, it is recommended that you topdress with a nice turf-blend soil that is high in sand. Overseed with a good quality lawn seed that has been formulated to grow in your part of Canada. This is an important point; not all lawn seeds are made equally. Once you have spread the seed on your turf-blend soil you can rake it in lightly or rent a roller and roll it to ensure contact with the soil. Make sure you water the seed every day so those little seedlings do not dry out and curl up. If you really want to ensure the grass seed takes off you can add a turf starter fertilizer to the soil that is high in phosphorus before laying down the lawn seed.
This article was compiled using information from Potters, a member of our HouseSmart Referral Network.