How to Have the Best Lawn Ever
Why Your Lawn is Important
Your lawn makes your garden. It makes your yard. If your lawn looks great, it makes the whole yard and its flower beds look great. It creates a lovely green frame, soft underfoot, from which to view your flowers and shrubs. It provides some temperature control around the house or buildings. After it is healthy you can sit in a lawn chair and enjoy your lovely new space. Maintaining its beauty is not difficult, but takes some knowledge and effort. Following are some suggestions for making it beautiful and keeping it that way. A healthy lawn adds to your property value and the aesthetic look and feel of your yard and garden. A little work goes a long way in maintaining a healthy lawn.
Why Spring is the Best Time to Start
Give your Lawn a Boost for the Season
The best time to clean and repair you lawn is after the last snow melts in spring. After waiting for your lawn to dry out a bit, rake up the leaves, twigs, dog droppings and other debris accumulated during the late autumn and the winter. To fix any uneven spots simply add or remove topsoil. Doing this is important so you don't drown the lower parts or mow the higher parts too short. First cut through the turf using a sharp shovel or rent a special machine. Slice the uneven area of turf into an H cut - two long cuts on either side of the area and one in the middle connecting them. The H-cut is a technique well-known with lawn care specialists. Peel back the turf and lift it, then either add or remove some soil with a shovel. After you lower or raise the uneven area then compact it and lightly water. If the ground is too hard to cut, soak a bit first, then let dry out enough to cut. The incision into lawn will heal quickly and the level area will drain properly so the grass can grow normally.
Make the Grass Greener on Your Side of the Fence
Fix the Bald Spots
There is no such thing as a perfect lawn. If your neighbor's lawns look perfect, it's probably because they take the time and effort to control weeds and fix bare spots and thin areas. If your lawn has bare spots because of heavy traffic, you might fence off the area or put in a simple walkway. If the lawn has only a few bare spots, then a few simple repairs will patch it up. If your yard has been watered too much or too little watch the neighbor's watering schedule (the one with the perfect lawn) and try to match it or just ask them what they do to make it look so nice.
If your lawn has more than a few bare spots, you may need to do some investigation work to find out what the problem is. Is there adequate water drainage on the bare spot? Do you own a dog or is your bald spot a favorite place for neighborhood dogs to leave their mark? Perhaps your lawn has a nasty insect problem, too much shade or is diseased. Perhaps your lawnmower set too low and is shaving the grass so low it can’t grow healthily? These are some reasons your lawn is not as green and as lush as your neighbors’ and has bald spots or thin areas.
How to Fix the the Bad Spots
Aerate, Get Rid of Weeds, Use Fertilizer, Reseed
If your lawn looks bad with weeds, brown spots, or coarse ugly grass, you have many options. You can get rid of the weeds and aerate to start. We prefer organic weed removal procedures but you can also use weed killer if you keep the pets and kids off the area for a couple of weeks. After removal, whichever method, give it a few days or a week, then rake up debris from the dead grass and weeds.
Aerate the area. If the soil is a clay-like or compacted or the thatch is more than three-quarters of an inch then you need aeration.You can rent an aerating tool. If the problem isn’t solved you can re-seed by adding a good coat of grass seed on the dead area. Make sure to clear the area of debris and leaves so the seed lands on bare soil. You might also even out any spots that are not level (see above). Then, do the reseeding, and add a fertilizer (organic is better for kids and animals). Water enough to keep the area damp but not drenched. Problem solved..
Gone to the Dogs
Get the Dogs under Control
Dog urine and feces contain nitrogen — a main ingredient of fertilizer — so areas frequently used by your dog/s or passersby are technically over-fertilized. As a result, your grass is burned brown in the areas used. Sometimes this brown area is edge with a bright green, an effect like fertilizer creates. The brown spots just have too much "fertilizer". If the guilty dog is your own, a simple solution is to water the area well every day to dilute the remaining nitrogen. If you have a big dog or dogs, consider a dog run alongside a garage or fence. Put cedar mulch on the area and fence the run off. Or train your dog to only go to the washroom in one small area and keep that area clean of feces. It is not easy to keep your lawn free of bald spots when you have a dog, but hard work and persistence will help. This information and more is in our blog.
What if Your Whole Lawn is a Brown Spot
Drastic Action is Needed
If your bald spots and thinning areas cover most of your lawn and you have tried some simple solutions to without improvement, more drastic action is needed. If your lawn has more than a half an inch of thatch (thick impenetrable areas) you will need to rent an aerating machine. Aerating your lawn lets the air and water in and will give grass seedlings and seeds a chance to take root and grow. Use a grass seed spreader to apply quality seed evenly and then follow with organic fertilizer. Water lightly but keep area moist and in a month you should have new grass growing.
Another thing you can do is just start over with new sod. You can buy this at your garden centre. You'll have to dig up your old lawn first and then roll out the turf.
Aeration, level soil, proper watering and mowing, good irrigation, weed and dandelion control, pest control, these are all the ingredients of achieving a healthier, happier lawn.
Organic is Better
Grass doesn't need much fertilizer and we prefer organic. Using organic fertilizer will help your lawn be healthier and keep your kids and pets healthier. It is better for the environment. Light watering a couple of times a week is often enough. In many areas, frequent thunderstorms or rain provide a deep watering every week or so which is excellent. If water is tight in your area, you'll want to avoid deep watering by irrigation, but every now and then deep watering is helpful where permitted.
Finally If all this is overwhelming hiring a lawn care company to look after your lawn is another option.
Brought to you by Superyards, Outdoor Lawn and Yard Enthusiasts in Calgary, Alberta.