How to properly take care of your lawn for better results?
We all dream of a beautiful, green and healthy lawn all year round, but what must be done to take care of it and keep it healthy? In this article, we list various practices to adopt in order to maintain a vigorous lawn that is able to withstand all environmental factors.
1. Nutritional needs of your lawn
To properly take care of your lawn, it is necessary to understand its nutritional needs in order to develop a balanced fertilization program. Like any other plant, your lawn needs water, light, oxygen but also three other essential nutrients:
- Nitrogen (N) gives it its green color and contributes to its growth.
- Phosphorus (P) promotes rooting.
- Potassium (K) increases the vigor of the grass.
2. What type of fertilizer to use?
Each lawn has different nutrient needs that can be provided with the right fertilizer. The initials NPK on the fertilizer bags indicate their various levels of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Be aware that sandy soil requires more potassium and that a newly installed lawn has increased requirements for phosphorus and potassium.
We differentiate three types of fertilizer:
- Starter fertilizer
- Slow release fertilizer
- Long-lasting fertilizer
To ensure that your lawn is properly fertilized to prevent disease and facilitate maintenance, it is important to know what type of fertilizer to use depending on the soil type, its age and seasonal variations.
3. Benefits of fertilization
It is important to fertilize your lawn since most soils are unable to provide your grass with the nutrients it needs. Fertilizer meets these needs and helps :
- Prevent deficiencies and their consequences like yellowing and weakness
- Increase leaf growth early in the season
- Anchor the roots
- Potentiate resistance to various climatic conditions and pest attacks
- Control weed growth
- Provide the necessary reserves, especially for the grass to survive during the winter
You just need to undertake the right fertilization practices that ensure the best results for your lawn.
This is a very recurring practice in lawn care and is essential to its proper development.
1. Cutting height
To make sure you cut the lawn properly, you must first perform proper maintenance on the mower and check that the mower blades are sharp. If the grass is too wet or on the contrary too dry, a clean cut will not be possible. A grass cut too short is too exposed to the sunlight and may dry quickly. The height must therefore be adapted to the season and vary within a range of 6 to 10 cm.
2. Frequency of mowing
After the damage caused by the summer season, it is wise to mow the lawn at least once a week. This influences the grass density, uniformity and appearance. You can mow at this frequency until the end of October, which generally corresponds to the beginning of rainy nights. Always do a final mowing before winter to prepare your lawn for the cold season.
3. Grass cycling
This is a practice of leaving mowing clippings on the lawn instead of picking them up. They provide nutrition and ensure a longer-lasting lawn. However, avoid spreading mowing clippings when the grass is wet or is strewn with weeds.
This practice is very useful and ensures:
- Reduced mowing time
- Reduced use of water and fertilizers
- Less waste
- A healthier lawn
You can even use these residues to create compost just as some people use coffee grounds as a natural fertilizer. If you like these useful and time-saving tips, check out our 7 pro tips for a perfect lawn.
1. When to water your lawn?
In Quebec, watering must be done during dry seasons in order to provide the humidity needed to maintain a nice green lawn. If there is a lack of rainfall during the growing season, the lawn will go dormant and turn brown unless it is watered frequently.
It is important to observe your lawn carefully to recognize signs when it is short of water:
- Footprints persist
- The color of the grass takes on a blue-green tint
- The blades of grass bend inwards
- It stops growing
If your lawn is new, devote an hour to watering each zone while respecting your local authority regulations. Watering in the morning or early morning is preferable since the evaporation rate is low. Some people prefer to water in the early evening, but this can help spread diseases.
2. Water supply
The weekly contribution is 2.5 to 4 cm of water, depending on the type of soil. If watering is excessive, the accumulation of root felt will be accelerated and could worsen disease or weed problems. If watering is frequent but insufficient, the root system will not be able to develop deep down, which will make the grass vulnerable to disease, drought and harsh winter conditions.
Some parts may require more water than others, such as on slopes, along buildings, sidewalks and driveways, as well as areas with light soil. On the other hand, low or shaded parts of the lawn and areas of heavy soil require less frequent watering.
3. Irrigation equipment
You can opt for manual watering for a lawn less than 100 m, but an automatic irrigation system is suitable for larger areas and helps rationalize water use. You can use a sprinkler mounted at the end of the hose for an average surface zone, but you could waste a lot of water so it's essential to know how to water your lawn. Water gives your lawn elasticity and protects it from environmental factors.
Different types of seed are used depending on the region, type of grass and sunshine. A good analysis of these factors helps you know when to seed your grass. Some conditions are favorable for growth, such as a fertile soil, an acidic pH or even 6 hours of sunshine per day. Seeding is best during periods when the temperature warms up, either in the spring or in late summer. Seeding your lawn at the right time prevents erosion and improves organic compounds biodegradation, but requires special care and often expert advice.
Your lawn suffers a lot of damage throughout the year (trampling, etc.). It is essential to aerate it so that it can breathe and develop its roots. By making small holes 10 cm deep in the lawn with an aerating roller, water and oxygen will reach the roots effectively enabling the grass to green up and grow better. Simply remove the excess straw or moss that grows between the grass and the soil, as they could choke the roots.
This aeration removes the felt which, if too thick, considerably reduces the amount of air, water and compost reaching the roots. If you've never aired your lawn before and think it's time to do so, learn about the equipment you need and steps needed to aerate your lawn.
The thicker and more rigorous your lawn is, the more successful it will be defending itself against weeds. Mowing the lawn too much creates an environment conducive to broadleaf weed invasion. So fertilizing the lawn properly, watering it sufficiently and then mowing it at the right time is the best line of defense. To properly treat these weeds, it is important to know how to recognize and differentiate them. There are several types of weeds: dandelion, ground ivy, crabgrass, quackgrass...
Fight against insects
Damage caused by insects can be prevented with proper lawn watering. It can be confused with the harmful effects of drought. So, we must always pay attention and regularly inspect the leaves, stems, roots and soil to detect the presence of these insects beforehand.
The most common insects are :
- White grubs: When skunks attack your lawn or you notice the presence of brown spots, you can be sure of the presence of white grubs. Their presence is noted in late summer or fall. Your soil must be well moistened to limit damage.
- Sod webworm: These insects gnaw at the root felt and attack the thatch of the lawn which detaches it from the ground. They cause damage similar to white grubs and are usually found in September.
The application of lime is a gardening practice that balances soil acidity. Too much acid reduces grass growth, alters its uniformity and weakens the roots. Liming potentiates the effect of fertilizers, limits the growth of weeds and helps your grass take root, making it denser and greener. Learn more about what you need to know for a proper application of lime.
Determine a calendar according to seasons
Lawn care depends on climate variations and it is essential to adapt to the season. When the cold season passes, the first step is to clean up the debris and thatch. Winter damage also needs to be repaired by aerating the lawn. Spring is the germination season that requires adequate watering.
In May, we start mowing the lawn and then fertilizing it. When the season gets a little too hot, mowing is to be avoided and watering is highly recommended. Lawn requires special care in these periods of drought.
Fall is the season for repairs and aeration. A season characterized by humidity and mildness, two factors favorable for repairing damage caused during the summer. It is also the time to make the last mowing before winter, to clean the lawn and air it out so that it is ready for the cold and snow.
During the winter season, you should stop watering, control weeds and preserve your lawn by avoiding excessive trampling and protecting it from large amounts of snow. If you need help to ensure that your lawn is properly maintained, you can contact our experts for any information you need or consult our packages.