A lush green lawn does more than improve the curb appeal of your home. It reduces soil erosion, absorbs rainfall, provides filtration for ground water and improves air quality by producing oxygen. The key to having a beautiful weed free lawn is keeping up with the maintenance.
Aerating and Thatch Control
Aerating in the spring before top dressing or fertilizing can alleviate compacted soil and allows for water to penetrate deeper, producing deeper roots. To test your lawn for compact soil, stick a garden fork into the ground. If the tines fail to penetrate 2 inches, your soil is compacted and should be loosened with an aerator. By aerating your lawn, you create space in soil for penetration of air, water, and nutrients. Thatch should also be removed by a de-thatching rake or a de-thatching machine. Thatch is a tangle of above-ground roots common in dense, spreading grasses. By removing thatch, essential amounts of water and nutrients are able to reach the soil. Thatch can harbour insects and disease, which is another reason to rid your lawn of it.
Improve Soil Quality
If your lawn is well-maintained, then all you need to do is lightly rake once the ground has dried out. Problem areas however, should be dealt with as soon as possible. Uneven ground can cause poor drainage and poor growing conditions for grass. Cut away areas that are largely raised or fill in areas that are shallow. Grass grows best when it has a deep dense root system. If you have problem areas in your lawn that aren’t striving like the rest, it may be that there isn’t enough soil. This can be fixed by adding moist, fertile soil to your lawn. A minimum of 4 inches (10 cm) of soil is needed for dense roots. If you’re simply looking to improve the soil conditions of an already healthy lawn, then top dress (1/4 to 1/2 inch) with our Twin City Mix or Gro-Turf soils.
After cleaning up and repairing problem areas in your lawn, you may find you need to reseed areas that are bare or brown. If you’ve already taken care of the problematic soil conditions, then over seeding should be a breeze. Determine the variety of seed that will work best for your yard conditions – consider the amount of sunlight, climate, and level of traffic. Estimate the size of area you plan to cover, and follow the recommended guideline of 12 to 16 seeds per square inch. Rake the seed into the soil, but be careful not to bury the seeds. Water regularly to maintain soil moisture and fertilize with a slow-release starter fertilizer.
Both mowing height and frequency are important to the health of your grass. Although it increases the frequency of mowing, keep your blade high. You do not want to cut short, as it is harmful to the lawn – mowing with a low blade removes nutrients stored in leaf blades and exposes the soil sunlight, allowing weeds to take hold more easily. Taller grass is better able to compete with weeds, has a higher tolerance for heat, and protects the soil from drying out. Mow with a sharp blade when grass reaches approximately 6 to 8 cm. Try not to trim off more than the top third of the blades. This places less stress on the grass, and the smaller clippings are able to decompose more easily – don’t bag them up, the nitrogen from the organic matter is good for your soil!
When you fertilize your lawn in the spring, you are providing nutrients to help it out grow weeds. Follow the instructions on a slow release fertilizer, and use a spreader for even application. Fertilizer can help your lawn grow thick and lush, but if not used properly it can damage the grass. A slow-release nitrogen fertilizer is best, and no more than 1 pound of nitrogen should be spread per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Check the packaging to see when and how much you should water after applying the fertilizer.