Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lawn Rolling for a Lush and Healthy Look

Lawn rolling can be more damaging if done on a healthy, established lawn. This process of lawn rolling compresses the soil that may prevent good air and moisture flow to the roots. The best time to do lawn rolling in the Durham Region is for newly sodded or seeded lawn.

Before seeding, lawn roll the area in order to even out the soil and then lightly roll the area again after seeding. This lawn rolling technique will allow seeds to establish good contact with the soil. Lawn rolling encourages
even and smooth growth which gives your lawn a lush and healthy look.

For even better results, ask your lawn care company about getting your lawn aerated at least once per season and get them to provide you with an effective natural weed or insect control program. You should also inquire about the benefits of getting your soil tested. A healthy soil helps to create a healthy lawn in any city in the Greater Toronto Area.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Overseeding for a Healthy Looking Lawn

Over-seeding means sowing grass seed over your existing lawn. A seed mixture that contains one or more modern varieties of Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue and perennial ryegrass is recommended. Kentucky bluegrass provides a lush, dark green lawn. Fine fescue is a lighter green grass that blends well with bluegrass and tolerates shadier parts of your lawn. Perennial ryegrass is added because it germinates quickly and is more resistant to turfgrass diseases. Before overseeding, consider the following steps:

Preparing for Overseeding

1. Mow the lawn to about the height of 1.5"-2"
2. Rake up and bag the clippings
3. Aerate the lawn which reduces lawn thatch
4. Add a layer of topsoil especially if the topsoil is too thing such as areas with shallow tree roots. This is optional. However, majority of people do this anyway.

To properly overseed the lawn, use a spreader. This way the seeds will be evenly spread. The grass seeds need to be kept moist until germination. When watering don't allow the water to puddle or run off as this will wash your seeds away. It is recommended to use a fine spray to avoid a run off. This is a good time to apply a starter fertilizer. Once the grass blades sprout, water it a couple times per day. You can apply a quick-release nitrogen fertilizer after about five weeks.

The best time to overseed lawns in the Greater Toronto Area and Durham Region including Uxbridge is in early September or in the spring (April or May). Successful overseeding will allow you to cover patches in the lawn and have a healthy looking lawn for the summer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Benefits of Topdressing to Improve Soil Composition

Topdressing is a method of adding compost or other materials to improve soil composition as well as to level out sections of the existing soil. This involves spreading a thin layer of compost and soil over the lawn, 1/2" to 1" thick. Large clumps of topdressing should be broken down for an even spread. In the Greater Toronto Area, leveling the soil to repair low spots is normally done with loam or topsoil.

The benefits of topdressing are to feed the soil with essential nutrients and microbes that keeps your lawn healthy. This method allows an increase of microorganism activity that reduces the thatch layer in the lawn. Regular topdressing in the Durham Region can also help improve drainage in clay soils or moisture retention for sandy soils.

Topdressing works best after aerating or dethatching.  This can be done either by hand or by machine. It is recommended that topdressing be done as long as the lawn is actively growing.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What Causes Lawn Blow Out and How to Avoid It

Lawn blow out around a tree

Lawn blow out is a consequence of high humidity, rapid growth, insufficient watering, and inadequate mowing. In the Greater Toronto Area, lawn will typically go into a state where blades of grass turn brown. Most would think that the lawn is dying due to cinch bugs, other bugs, or chemicals that could have burned the lawn. This is not the case at all.

Lawn blow out could happen when people mow their lawn and do not realize that the grass has not been watered for a few days. Perhaps the person thought that since it rained days before, that it would be appropriate to mow the lawn even if the weather has been dry for days after. This causes stress on the lawn. Lawn blow out in the Durham Region will normally appear 24-48 hours after mowing. In Uxbridge and Oshawa, signs of a lawn blowout would be grass blades with brown tips in sunny areas as well as around trees. It can often show in mower wheels or mower swaths in shaded areas of the lawn.

When this happens, don’t fret! There is a fix for lawn blow out. A good shot of kelp can help recover the lawn’s health in Whitby and Ajax. Proper maintenance of the lawn can also help with preventing lawn blowout. Use the “footprint” test, to check if the lawn is healthy. Footprints that remain on
the grass show that the lawn is under stress. Ensure that the lawn gets sufficient water. Fertilizing should be done to ensure your lawn is receiving the proper nutrients. Lawns where methylene urea with slow release has been used show less drought stress than other types of fertilizer. See pictures. 

Proper care and maintenance for your lawn will allow you to enjoy a beautiful healthy lawn yearly.

Notice bleached tips and leaf blades

The lawn on the left was fertilized with Methylene Urea slow release blend. A PCU blend was used on the right. The lawn on the right shows drought stress, well before the MU lawn

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dethatching Tips for the Durham Region

As your lawn grows it produces a layer of thatch, just above the soil. Thatch is made up of living, dead and decomposing plants. If the thatch layer becomes too thick the soil beneath can become compacted and it will make it difficult for the roots to grow. It will also limit the movement of air, moisture and nutrients through the soil. Thatch can provide a home for insects and diseases in the Durham Region.

The best times to dethatch in Ontario is late spring and early fall. However, grass should be actively growing before dethatching the grass. In addition, the lawn is prepared for dethatching by mowing it to about half of its normal size. Many DIY’s in the Greater Toronto Area opt to dethatch their own lawn, but be forewarned that the process is physically challenging specially for the inexperienced gardener.  In many cases, it is normally recommended to have a professional dethatch your lawn for you. Professionals use dethatching equipment that removes thatch by using a series of knife blades that cut into the thatch layer. The blade removes the thatch by pulling it out of the lawn. 

Once the thatch is removed from your lawn, the thatch needs to be raked up immediately. In the Durham Region, a desirable thatch thickness is ½” or less. Unlike aerating, leaving some of the cores to break down on their own is appropriate; in dethatching, thatch must be raked or removed right away. Once the lawn is dethatched, this is a normally a good time to fertilize the lawn. Keep in mind that dethatching will cause stress to your lawn. It is important to ensure that the lawn is well cared for after dethatching process.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

How to Promote a Healthy Lawn by Aeration

Aeration is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your lawn every year. In Markham, Ontario, aeration will help reduce thatch and compaction, allow more air and water into the root zone, and develop a deep root system. When soil gets compacted there is less pore space for the soil to hold air. Air is one necessary component for grass roots to grow. That is why it is important to aerate your lawn. Aerating also provides space for your lawn to absorb nutrients. 

Spring or fall in Stouffville, Ontario is the best time to aerate as the soil is moist and it will be easier to remove the cores. Aerating in the summer may damage the lawn due to the stress dry weather puts your lawn. The soil must be moist before aerating. If it isn’t, it is best to water the lawn the day before to give it enough moisture. 

Aeration equipment in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) removes small soil cores (plugs) that are left on the lawn to break down. The cores will disappear in 7 to 14 days, depending on the time of year. Aeration may be done 1 or 2 times each year. You can also fertilize or seed your lawn right after aerating. 

Aeration promotes a healthy lawn in many ways, especially in the Durham Region.  It will help soil micro organisms work quicker at decomposing thatch. The soil will receive more water, oxygen and nutrients moving through it which will help roots grow stronger. If you want a healthier lawn, do not forget this important step.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Watering Your Lawn Tips and Advice

Most lawns need about 1” to 1 1/2" of water per week. Regular, fairly deep watering in the Durham Region is better than daily light sprinklings. Deep watering and allowing the lawn to dry out between watering will force the roots to penetrate deeper in search of moisture. In Markham, early morning is the best time to water your lawn] so that the leaves can dry slowly and naturally without too much evaporation. Evening watering can promote the spreading of lawn grass diseases especially in Stouffville neighborhoods. But if it is the only time of day you are allowed to water, then water in the evening, as it is better to water in the evening than no water at all.

An easy way to tell if your lawn needs water is:

   * Areas of the lawn especially near sidewalks and driveways, under large
trees and on slopes, take on a blue‑green haze. If extremely dry the lawn may
appear yellowish.

   * Footprints don't spring back shortly after they are made.

When watering your lawn be mindful of areas that need more or less water. In the Greater Toronto Area, slopes that are south-facing need more water than other areas as well as high spots in your lawn. In shady areas that do not get more than 4 hours of direct sunlight a day less watering is needed. However, grass
under large tress need more water. This is because tree roots consume the water and the tree canopy covers the grass like an umbrella.

Keeping these tips in mind will allow your lawn to be healthy and beautiful from Spring to Fall.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The secret to a great lawn

As the winter snow melts away in Markham, Ontario, it reveals the horror which has been totally hidden and forgotten about for the last 4 months: your lawn. How are you going to turn that soggy brown patchy mess into a lush green carpet which is the envy of the neighborhood?

Here’s the secret. To have a really great lawn you need to build up what you can’t see, the roots of the lawn.  In the Durham Region, for example, a thick root system will produce a thicker lawn and a thicker lawn will block out new weed growth and become a less inviting place for damaging insects as grubs or chinch bugs.

Here’s how. Your lawn, like you, needs food and water. Fertilize your lawn with high quality fertilizers between 4 to 5 times during the growing season which should include a fall or winter fertilizer.  Over seed bare spots with grass seed or use sod for a quick greening. Get your lawn mower blades sharpened as dull blades tear the grass tips which will cause your lawn to dehydrate faster. In the summer, do not cut your lawn too short as this stresses the lawn which creates the perfect environment for weeds and insects to take hold. In Stouffville, water your lawn with regular watering of 1” to 1.5” of water per week with early mornings or evenings being the best times to water. As for the weeds, try to get these pulled when they are first noticed which makes them easier to pull.

For even better results, ask your lawn care company about getting your lawn aerated at least once per season and get them to provide you with an effective natural weed or insect control program. You should also inquire about the benefits of getting your soil tested. A healthy soil helps to create a healthy lawn in any city in the Greater Toronto Area.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mowing Tips for Uxbridge, Oshawa, Whitby and Ajax

More frequent mowing may be needed
Your lawn should be cut to a height of 3”. More frequent mowing in Uxbridge, Oshawa, Whitby and Ajax may be needed in spring and fall, never removing more than 1/3 of the grass blade in one cutting. Removing too much of the blade length at one time stresses the grass and weakens your lawn in the Durham Ontairo Region. A longer lawn cutting height results in a stronger, deeper root system and shades the soil retaining moisture and prevents weed seeds from germinating.

Lawn mower blades should be kept razor sharp. A sharp blade makes a clean precise cut which seals quickly and helps resist diseases. A crisp cut is also easier to achieve on a dry lawn rather than a wet one. Try not to cut your lawn during the hottest part of the day. To maintain a razor sharp blade, it maybe necessary to have the blade sharpened multiple times each year. A sharp blade also reduces wear and tear on your lawn mower engine and will increase your mowers gas efficiency. Your cutting pattern should be altered each time as this will keep the grass blades growing straight and strong.

Grass clippings in Durham Ontario Region should be left on the lawn when mowing as it is a natural and environmentally friendly practice. Grass clippings are about 90% water by weight. Because they are high in protein they should be left on the lawn to decompose and add nutrients to the soil. The use of a mulching type mower is ideal for grass‑cycling as it cuts the clippings smaller and allows for quicker decomposition. Grass‑cycling also reduces waste and conserves landfill space in Uxbridge, Oshawa, Whitby and Ajax. It is only necessary to remove the clippings if they are long and will smother the lawn.