8 Tricky lawn questions and answers

Maintaining a beautiful lawn requires effort and expertise. Lawn care professionals have the knowledge to answer questions about optimal watering schedules, identifying and treating common lawn problems, and more.  Here are some common ones we get.

How to tell if your lawn needs lime?

Unlike some lawn issues that can be identified through visual inspection, you cannot determine whether your lawn needs lime by simply looking at it. Instead, it’s essential to conduct a soil test. A soil test will analyze the pH level of your soil and determine if it’s too acidic. If the pH level is too low, typically below 5.5, it’s time to apply lime.

You can purchase a soil test kit at your local gardening center or send a soil sample to a laboratory for analysis. Be sure to follow the instructions on the lime package carefully, as too much lime can actually harm your lawn.

When to rake lawn in spring:

raking lawn

Raking your lawn in the spring can help to remove dead leaves and other debris that may have accumulated over the winter but It’s more important to determine whether or not you need to rake. Only rake up large debris, clumps, and stones from the lawn. This can be done at any point in the spring. Raking up dead grass is usually not necessary unless you plan to reseed and this can be done any time prior to seeding.

How often should you water your lawn in the summer?

The frequency of lawn watering in the summer depends on several factors, including the type of grass, the soil type, and the climate. As a general rule of thumb, most lawns require about 1.5 inches of water per week, either from rainfall or irrigation. It’s important to avoid frequent watering, as this can lead to shallow root growth and increased susceptibility to disease. It’s best to water deeply and infrequently, rather than giving your lawn a light watering every day.  See more here.

You can test whether your lawn needs watering by stepping on the grass; if it springs back, it doesn’t need water yet. Watering 0.5 – 0.75 inches 3x per week is a good goal to set.

How to get rid of tree shoots in the lawn:

Tree shoots (suckers) can be a nuisance in your lawn. To get rid of tree shoots, you’ll need to dig them out by hand, making sure to remove as much of the root as possible. To prevent tree shoots from growing in the first place, avoid planting trees too close to your lawn. Here are 5 trees that are highly prone to suckers in Ontario:

  1. Silver maple
  2. Norway maple
  3. Sugar maple
  4. American elm
  5. Manitoba maple

How to get rid of mushrooms in the lawn:

lawn mushroom

Mushrooms are a common sight in lawns, particularly in damp or shaded areas. While they’re not harmful to your grass, they can be unsightly and can sometimes attract insects. To get rid of mushrooms, you’ll need to remove the source of their growth, which is usually a decaying tree stump or roots.

How to apply nematodes to your lawn:

Nematodes are tiny worms that can help to control grubs in your lawn if correctly applied. After purchasing nematodes, follow the instructions carefully. Typically, you’ll need to mix the powdered nematodes with water and apply them to your lawn with a hose or watering can, but granular nematodes are also available and can be applied like lawn fertilizer.

It’s important to water your lawn thoroughly after applying nematodes to ensure that they penetrate the soil and reach the pests. The best time to apply nematodes is in late July/Early august then the grubs are small enough to be vulnerable, and are shallow in the soil profile.

How to get rid of ants with diatomaceous earth?

Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance that’s made from the fossilized remains of small aquatic organisms called diatoms. It’s sometimes an effective way to get rid of ants in your lawn, without using chemicals. Diatomaceous earth works by dehydrating the ants’ exoskeletons, ultimately causing them to die.

To use diatomaceous earth to get rid of ants, start by locating the ant hill or nest. Sprinkle a liberal amount of diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of the nest, and on top of it, be careful not to inhale the fine powder. You can also sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the base of your home, or any other area where you’ve noticed ant activity.

Repeat the process after a few days and after rainfall if the ant activity persists. Keep in mind that diatomaceous earth can also harm beneficial insects, so it’s important to use it sparingly.

How does grass spread?

bunch grass

Grass can spread through several different methods, including stolons, tillers, and rhizomes. Stolons are above-ground runners that grow along the surface of the soil, producing new shoots and roots as they go. Tillers are above-ground stems, they grow vertically from the base of the main plant. Rhizomes, on the other hand, are underground stems that grow horizontally beneath the surface of the soil, producing new shoots and roots along the way. Each of these methods of spreading helps grass to form a dense, healthy lawn.

Turf Grass Species Spread Type Spread Rate
Perennial Ryegrass Tillers Fast
Creeping Ryegrass Stolons Medium
Kentucky Bluegrass Rhizomes/Stolons Slow
Turf Type Tall Fescue Tillers Slow
Creeping Red Fescue Rhizomes/Stolons Slow
Hard Fescue Tillers Slow
Chewings Fescue Tillers Slow
Sheep’s Fescue Tillers Slow


From understanding how grass spreads to knowing the best time to apply nematodes to your lawn, there are many factors to consider when it comes to proper lawn care. While some homeowners may be able to manage their lawn care needs on their own, many will benefit from the experience and guidance of a lawn care professional. With their knowledge and expertise, lawn care professionals can help homeowners make informed decisions about the care and maintenance of their lawns, leading you to a healthier and more beautiful property. So, whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned lawn care veteran, don’t hesitate to reach out to a lawn care professional for advice and assistance.

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