Love Your Lawn
We may not like to admit it but our lawn is very important to us. Perhaps it is because it is so visually prominent and impossible to hide, we think of it as an extension of ourselves that is laid out for our neighbours, our friends and the UPS delivery person to judge. Deny it if you like, but ask yourself why we spend so much time and expense fussing over our lawn? We do it because we see our lawn as a reflection of ourselves.
It has now become even more important to show your lawn how much you care. Quick fixes are becoming a thing of the past with new government regulations preventing the use of pesticides and herbicides. Instead we must ensure that our lawn remains healthy so as to avoid the need for these products. This can be achieved with the following maintenance guidelines. Equipment can be rented for the do-it-yourself home owners or consider getting a lawn maintenance package that includes the following:
Aerating. Aerating involves using a machine that will remove small plugs of soil from your lawn. These holes in the ground will allow for greater amounts of air, water and fertilizer to reach the lawns root system. It will also help to alleviate soil compaction due to foot and lawn mower traffic. Soil compaction prevents well needed water and nutrients from getting to the lawn’s roots and can therefore have a negative effect on its health. Ideally, aerating should be done twice a year, once in the spring and once again in the fall.
Dethatching. Dethatching involves removing the layer of matted dead grass that accumulates over time. While having some thatch acts as a protective barrier against soil compaction from traffic, having more than half an inch may prevent roots from getting the water and nutrients essential for a healthy lawn as well as provide protection for damaging insects such as chinch bugs.
Topdressing. It is a good idea to annually spread and work in a fine even layer of compost over your lawn. This will build up the soil structure which will help your lawn to retain needed moisture. As well, it will encourage the grass to produce new shoots thereby ensuring a thicker lawn that will deter weeds from infiltrating.
Overseeding. After topdressing your lawn, be sure to overseed the area as well. This too will encourage a thicker healthier lawn more resistant to weeds.
Fertilizing. To remain healthy, lawns need regular feedings of nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Organic fertilizers are available so feel free to feed your lawn whatever your preference. For more information on fertilizers please refer to our April 2010 article The Mysterious World of Fertilizers.
Mowing. Maintaining a proper length is important to ensure the healthiness of your lawn. Grass that is cut too low can endure unnecessary stress and grass kept too long will prevent proper light and air from getting through. An ideal length is dependent on weather conditions and can range from 2-2.5 inches in moderate weather conditions to 3-3.5 inches during hot weather. It is also important that the grass is not cut by more than 1/3 as this can cause stress for your lawn. Leaving the grass clippings on your lawn will provide a great source of nitrogen and will also reduce landfills.
Lawn Repair. Be sure to fix any damaged areas incurred from salt or animals immediately before weeds have a chance to take hold.
Ensure Proper Watering. To ensure a healthy lawn, make sure that it gets 1-2 inches of water a week. If it hasn’t rained in some time and you need to water, a good trick is to put a container on your lawn and see how long it will take to collect an inch of water. You will then know how to time your watering in the future. It is also better to provide a deep watering, as opposed to many shallow waterings, as this will encourage a deeper root system which promotes a healthier lawn. It is best to water in the morning to keep evaporation at a minimum. Most people tend to water in the evening, but leaving the lawn wet overnight can leave your lawn susceptible to disease.
Show your lawn the proper attention by implementing these maintenance practices and you will be rewarded with a healthy radiance you can be proud of, knowing that it did not come at the expense of the environment. Keeping your lawn thick and healthy will also help to minimize your trouble with pests, weeds and the judging eyes of the Jones!
For more information regarding the frequency and timing of these maintenance practices, please feel free to contact Rockcliffe Landscaping directly.