Spring Lawn Care Tips
Here is my recipe for a great looking lawn. Please note that a green, healthy, weed-free lawn occurs after about two years of stewardship over it. The upside is that this process produces a great looking lawn for the long haul.
- Rake. Wear flat soled shoes and using a broad leaf rake (not a hard garden rake) remove the winter debris that sits loosely on the lawn and get the grass blades to stand up on end. This will open up the crowns of the grass plants and increase the circulation of fresh air. The result will be less snow mould and powdery mildew, and a faster, more vigorous green up.
- Aerate. This is not always necessary but if there are areas with higher foot traffic and if you have clay-based soil, the soil beneath will be compacted and the grass above will suffer. There is a right way and a wrong way to aerate your lawn; so if you’re having it done professionally, make sure they specify their method. You will want core or plug aeration versus spike aeration. Coring physically removes a plug of soil from the ground, allowing oxygen to flow through; spike aeration simply pushes the soil into the ground serving to further compact the soil. If you are a ‘do it yourselfer’ you can rent power aerators and, if the area needing aeration is small, I recommend that you purchase a long handled tool for the job.
- Fertilize your lawn with a quality product that contains slow release nitrogen (SCU) and chelated iron. It is true that cheap lawn food is out there just as there is cheap ice cream that does not contain milk or cream. You will get what you pay for and where lawn fertilizer is concerned a ‘quality product’ will provide benefits for up to 10 weeks. I only use Golfgreen Iron Plus Lawn Fertilizer on my lawn.
An early application of quality lawn fertilizer (and another application in early summer) helps to reduce your work later on by thickening the lawn. A thick lawn shades out lawn weeds before they germinate and put down an aggressive root. The answer to the question, “how do I kill lawn weeds?” is best answered with “You don’t. You prevent them by growing strong, healthy grass.”
4. Overseed your lawn. Thicken your lawn with a 3 cm layer of lawn soil or triple mix (equal parts peat/loam/compost) and spread quality grass seed over the triple mix at the rate of one kg per 100 sq. meters.
Overseeding your lawn is an important part of your weed control tool box. Thickening your lawn today is the equivalent of pulling the weed bar over your lawn a generation ago. Both exercises are done to eliminate weeds. The weed bar killed them; the new grass seed will squeeze them out before they germinate.
Stay tuned for my ‘Summer Lawn Care Tips’.