It is that time of year again to prepare the garden for the
summer months. Start with a good raking going east and west and then
north and south. Make sure you do this when your footprint does not
leave a mark in the lawn. If anything comes away with a vigorous
raking donít worry about it because it would come anyway. This takes
away dead debris and will increase circulation against fungal growth
and removes all old thatch.
Aerate your lawn in the early spring or fall. You only need to
aerate once a year. It aids in oxygen to the soil and drainage. Once
again go both ways in the yard. You can rent an aerator at the local
hardware stores for $24 for four hours or $35.00 to $50.00 for the
day. Use your golf shoes when cutting your grass. If your lawn has
lots of sand this is a lost cause. You need more soil on your lawn.
Unfortunately, living in this area along the shore of Lake Huron,
the soil depletes down through to the sand. So make sure you have a
healthy soil base.
Fertilize your lawn after aerating, weeding and before seeding. Use
a granular organic fertilizer of nitrogen, phosphorous and
potassium. 16-16-16 is good. You can spread your compost or manure
over your lawn at this time. Fertilize in late May to early June and
in late September or early October. You will want a lower nitrogen
number in the fall.
Overseed your lawn in the early spring or late summer. Later in the
summer is best. Use natural grasses and not Kentucky Blue which
attracts grubs. Creeping Red Fescue and some other fescues are
native grasses and not an annual grass like Kentucky Blue. A local
nursery carries different grasses and drought tolerant grass. This
annual right of spring and fall is a cheap way to keep your lawn
thick to prevent the weeds. A thicker lawn does not allow the weeds
to come through.
Water your lawn about one inch a week. Watering too often does not
allow the roots to go down and the roots become weak and shallow.
The deeper they go the stronger the root as it tries to find the
water. Shallow frequent watering stresses your lawn, making it less
tolerant to drought and more susceptible to pests. When it is dry,
and we are under water restrictions, your lawn may become brown. Do
not worry as this is a sign that the grass is protecting itself and
has gone into a dormant state. It will come back with rain and
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Cut your grass 2 Ĺ to 3 inches. This discourages weed growth as the
sunlight cannot get in and keeps your soil cool and moist and prevents
evaporation. Keep your blades sharp and a mulching mower is best so that
you get the nitrogen back into your lawn from the cuttings.
Mulching creates a self-sustainable lawn and less work. Grass clippings
are full of organic matter and nutrients and will increase soil
fertility up to 30 percent.
Monitor: Keep an eye out for weeds, pests and diseases. For every lawn
problem, there is an organic solution. In time, a healthy, organic lawn
will crowd out weeds and become resistant to insect problems. Your local
garden centre or Nursery will carry nematodes in the refrigerator. These
are sprayed on your lawn when it is warm and cost only $35. They will be
in the stores after May 24th. Nematodes are naturally occurring earth
friendly microscopic worms. Nematodes are best applied when the lawn is
wet. They are used for White Grubs (June beetles, European chafer,
Japanese beetles), Webworms, Cutworms and Root weevil, onion and carrot
maggots. Easy to do and you get directions when you buy your box of
Nematodes. You apply your nematodes when insects are actively feeding,
usually in late April/early May until late June. Another ideal
application is mid August through mid October for White Grubs. If you
use two applications the cost will be $70.00
Welcome the starlings to
your lawn as they love the white grubs. Their babies love this delicacy.
Skunks, raccoons and crows will love them too. Just mix topsoil, seed,
manure and peat moss and spread over the area disturbed. This is how
nature takes care of grubs.
Crabgrass is very tricky. When it goes to seed it remains very close to
the surface and is not easily cut down. You can go over the crabgrass
with a blower a few times or even take an industrial or your vacuum to
the lawn. Crabgrass is an annual seed and if you can suck up a good
quantity of it that helps aid in the stopping of it spreading. Crabgrass
only grows from seed so, if you contain it this way, it helps in
preventing germination of those seeds. You can then apply corn gluten to
your lawn. This inhibits the germination of the crabgrass seed. Cornmeal
gluten also has the benefit of adding some organic matter to your soil.
It must be applied by the end of April or before the Forsythia blooms.
Once again you can buy cornmeal gluten at garden centres and it is not
You can go to www.ene.gov.on.ca and find good information about Tips for
Enjoy the spring. The Happy Gardener