The severity and length of this past winter took a visible toll on trees, shrubs and lawns. With the hot hazy days of summer fast approaching, there are a few simple steps you can take now to ensure your lawn looks it’s best.
The secret to having a lush green lawn throughout the summer has a lot to do with the care techniques you implement now. A resilient lawn that’s resistant to the effects of the sun, weeds, pests and foot traffic begins with a systematic approach started early in the season.
The following are some guidelines to help you prepare your yard for summer.
1. Aeration – This simple process promotes a healthy root system, allows the grass to breathe and enables water and nutrients to reach the roots more efficiently. Many experts recommend aerating your lawn every 1 – 3 years, but high traffic areas require more frequent aeration. This process can be done in the spring or the fall
2. Rake & Dethatch – Thatch is the decaying plant material that accumulates on the ground – and is especially heavy after the snow melts. Thatch can block sunlight, and prevent water from reaching the deep roots. Removing thatch while raking autumn leaves gives grass the best chance for survival during the winter. A good spring raking will remove compacted grass and give your lawn a fresher appearance.
3. Fertilizing – Apply twice a year during peak growing season. Scale back fertilizing about 30 days before the start of the hot summer temperatures. Most grasses will benefit from fertilizer in early spring after the winter dormancy period and in early fall. Use high nitrogen varieties during the autumn application.
4. Water – Most grass needs about 1 inch of water a week during peak growing season. Water your grass with the roots in mind; a single deep irrigation is preferable, as brief sprinklings don’t allow for sufficient root penetration. Deep roots are critical for grass to withstand hot summer conditions, including droughts. Make a point of watering your grass in the early morning or around dusk to avoid scorching and evaporation.
5. Mowing – Proper mowing is important to the overall health of your lawn. Adjust your lawnmower’s deck to cut only the top third of the grass. More frequent cutting in the spring promotes strong root formation making the plants more hardy. During the hot summer months, raise the cutting height of your mower even further; longer grass shades the soil better, keeping it moist.
6. Reseed – Best done during the lawn’s peak growing season, usually the fall. Till the soil and spread the seed evenly in combination with a standard fertilizer. Water the area when you would normally water the rest of the lawn. After the seeds have germinated, add a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to ensure robust growth.
With a little care and the proper fertilizers you can have a lush green lawn and be the envy of your neighbourhood.