Necessary lawn maintenance
The foundation of every great lawn is maintenance. Proper mowing and watering will make or break any lawn, golf course superintendents know this and you should too. It doesn’t matter where you are at, if you aren’t following best practices for watering or at very least mowing, you can’t expect to get anywhere this year.
Lawn care timing
If you’re on a budget, proper timing is essential. If you are only willing to fertilize once per year for example, then fall will be the most bang for your buck and likewise for seeding. Your lawn may not show improvement until the following year but if your goal is to have a reliably healthy lawn year after year, fall fertilization is necessary.
Dealing with weeds
With the exception of Ontario’s toughest weeds, don’t start your weed control program until your lawn is in better health. Because all plants build healthy soil, easy weeds to eliminate like dandelions shouldn’t be targeted until the surrounding grass can easily fill in their space following a weed treatment. If you have certain difficult weeds that don’t respond to iron-based weed control, it’s best to treat them with a non-selective control like vinegar, or hand-pull them and reseed the area afterward.
Seeding your lawn
If you are deciding to seed, be sure to select the appropriate seed blend, different blends are designed for different conditions. Most box stores will have turf seed blends designed for either sun or shade, although you can sometimes find seed especially designed for areas that are drought-prone, high traffic, and more!
TIP 1. Often you will pay much more for the seed that includes “starter fertilizer”, this is unnecessary if you have already fertilized your lawn or plan to, just wait until the new grass is 3″ high before your next application of fertilizer if choosing synthetic, be careful not to overdo it!
Tip 2. Seed to soil contact is the most important factor determining the success of seeding, slit/slice seeders can be effective but damage existing grass. Peat moss or peat moss alternatives can be a good option but tricky to apply. An organic granular soil conditioner and/or compost applied with the seed is a great option if it is readily available.
It’s important to follow instructions on any fertilizer, seed, or weed control product purchased, as the application rate is carefully determined to balance the cost-effectiveness of the product. Of course, you can also choose professional lawn care and save time this year while getting the lawn you want. You can check out Renew-a-lawns’ programs here.