Whether your lawn is sprawling or small-time, spring lawn care can be a daunting task. Luckily, our area has a number of incredibly knowledgeable lawn experts. Together, they helped Look Local narrow down the top tips for creating a luscious lawn this spring.
Leave That Lawn Alone!
Our experts agreed that homeowners often start their spring raking too early. “So many people are so anxious to get out there in the spring that they start raking and feeding before it’s ideal,” says Ken Murray of Turf King Barrie. “A general rule of thumb is that if you leave footprints when you walk across the turf, it’s too soon for anything.”
You can end up doing damage if you rake too early—you don’t want to pull up any chunks of your beautiful lawn! The soil needs to reach an internal temperature 14°C before it can start absorbing nutrients from fertilizer, says Murray. We get a little excited at the prospect of warm weather, but it’s key that we practice a little patience.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Once the soil has warmed up enough, it’s time to think about aeration and dethatching. Thatch is the layer of dead grass, roots, and debris that forms between the soil and your green grass. Clearing your turf of thatch is important because it prevents water and nutrients from properly seeping into the soil and can create an environment that’s perfect for pests.
One of the benefits of opting for professional dethatching is that many lawn care companies now offer a service called “Slit Seeding,” which essentially combines the dethatching and seeding process into one. Ray Foster at Foster Lawn and Garden explains: “Slit Seeding uses a machine that cuts lines in the lawn about an eighth of an inch deep, and the seed is dropped into those lines where it settles and grows.” If you simply throw seed on the lawn you’re basically feeding the birds, says Foster. “With a slit seeder, the groove that the slit leaves makes for a superior catch, because it’s below grade and stays damp.”
Keeping Your Grass above Water
Throughout the season, and especially after seeding, it’s important to keep your lawn watered. Justin Scott at The Grounds Guys Barrie says that watering and cutting is a fine balance. “Your cut height and your watering need to coincide,” says Scott. “At three inches, it’s more grub resistant, you can water a little less, and you’re shading out the weeds. But if you’re below that, you will need to increase watering.”
Scott warns against the dangers of over-watering, though. “You need water, but not too much,” he says. “The key to a beautiful lawn is all about the roots. If you’re overwatering, you’re going to have shorter roots. You may have a thick grass, but you will have a shallow root system that will allow weeds to come in, which will allow insects to appear.”
I Fought the Lawn, and the Lawn Won
Has your lawn become overrun by weeds or pests? So much of lawn care has to do with education. It’s essential to know how and when to apply treatments to your lawn for the best results. Glenn Wagner from Wagner Lawn Care says that some of the most common (and expensive) mistakes he sees homeowners make is fertilizing too much, using low quality fertilizers, and incorrectly applying grub control.
Nematodes are naturally-occurring microscopic worms that prey on grubs. But they have to be applied under the right circumstances to have an effect. “Frankly, homeowners should not apply nematodes in the spring,” says Wagner. “They are simply ineffective at that time. About mid-August through mid-September is the application time in our region—and the application must be watered in to be effective.”
Every lawn is different and has different needs. It can be tricky to suss out the best options for keeping your lawn lush all summer. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed or are simply looking to toughen up your turf knowledge, our local lawn care experts are happy to offer advice.
Foster Lawn and Garden
The Grounds Guys Barrie
Turf King Barrie
Wagner Lawn Care