Fall Lawn… What to do?

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Today is the fall equinox, meaning that there is 12 hours of daylight matched with 12 hours of darkness, signalling the first day of fall.

There are a few things with your lawn that you should look after now to prepare your lawn for the the upcoming winter.

The first thing you should do is make sure that the lawn has had its fall fertilization. This will ensure that the entire plant is healthy. The grass plant will absorb the nutrients. The fall is a good time for turfgrass to grow, and if there are not enough nutrients available the grass will grow with a pale yellow colour, spindly and will not be working efficiently. The root system is the main benefit of a healthy actively growing grass plant since it stores the sugars that are made with the growth of the plant that is visible above ground. These stored sugars and nutrients are then available in the spring, as the grass comes out of its winter slumber.

As our previous posts have indicated, this past summer was one of the driest and hottest in recent memory. Many lawns suffered in sunny parts and it’s normal that the grass that survived has thinned. This is a good time to over-seed your lawn and get it nice and thick going into winter. Thickening the lawn reduces the chance of new weeds germinating this fall and in the spring. For more information on over-seeding please contact your local Weed Man or visit our website.

Along with the over-seeding, it is a good practice to aerate your lawn if it has not been aerated already during the year. The fall is a great time for aeration as it brings soil to the surface. This soil gets incorporated into any thatch you have built up in your lawn. The microbes that are in the soil will help break down this thatch layer. Also, if you have a newly sodded lawn it is recommended that you start aerating the lawn once the roots have started to hold down the turf when you pull on it. When you have new sod, there is a layer of soil that is introduced to your lawn that was not there before. This layering can cause problems a couple years down the road… Aerating the lawn will incorporate the new and existing soil.

The last thing you need to do is make sure you rake up the leaves as they come down from the neighbourhood trees. If the leaves are left on the lawn you will have bare patches where the leaves accumulated and smothered the grass. Another alternative to raking is mulching the leaves with the lawn mower, which is a good way to recycle them back into the lawn. Just make sure that the mulched leaves are not too thick to smother the grass beneath. If the mulched leaves are too thick run the mower over the area until they disappear.

If you properly maintain your lawn this fall it will be ready for all the hardships that the winter can bring. If you have any questions about helping your lawn prepare for winter please contact your local Weed Man as they can answer specific questions relating to your local climate.

Satisfy Your Lawn’s Hunger

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A healthy lawn can withstand numerous environmental pressures that grass plants encounter on a regular basis, such as drought, insects, diseases and weeds. Proper and consistent maintenance practices such as watering and mowing help maintain the basic foundation for a healthy lawn. An even more important lawn care practice is satisfying your lawn’s hunger. Delivering the right nutrients, in the right amounts, at the right time helps homeowners achieve a lush, thick, healthy lawn.

Lawns need numerous elements to grow strong and healthy. Each nutrient has a purpose and is required in different amounts. If there is a deficiency of any one element, the grass plants’ growth can become limited. Fortunately, many elements are supplied to the plants as a result of natural processes occurring in the soil.

There are three primary nutrients in a lawn fertilizer, which are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Nitrogen promotes growth, and the desirable green colour that we all want for our lawns. Too much or too little nitrogen can cause problems that can be difficult to fix. Too little nitrogen can cause your lawn to grow slowly, become yellow in colour, and become more susceptible to lawn diseases, insects and weeds. Too much nitrogen can lead to excessive top growth, reduced root growth, and creates a poor tolerance to environmental pressures which can lead to disease issues.

Phosphorus is important in stimulating early root growth and promoting early health and strength in plants. Phosphorus moves very little in the soil, but it can move out of the soil via surface water that leads to erosion.  Phosphorus run-off has been linked to the degradation of fresh bodies of water. Thankfully, most soils are naturally high in phosphorus, and are able to supply enough to grass plants to enable vigorous growth for many years, without having to supplement naturally occurring phosphorus via inclusion in lawn fertilizer. For this reason, Weed Man’s primary fertilizer blends are phosphorus-free.

Potassium plays an important role in the synthesis of some plant components, and plant health. It helps plants absorb and use the other elements more efficiently, such as nitrogen. A deficiency in potassium lowers your lawn’s tolerance against a myriad of environmental pressures and stresses, which can lead to turf diseases.

Fertilizers are available with one, or a blend, of the above primary nutrients. On every bag of fertilizer you will notice three bold numbers on the label. These numbers represent the quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Your lawn’s required maintenance and treatments depend on several factors, including where you live, the amount of sun exposure, the condition of your lawn, etc.

Take advantage of a free healthy lawn analysis from your local Weed Man professional. Weed Man will help you implement the best nutritional plan to satisfy your lawn’s hunger, so that you can enjoy the benefits of a vibrant, healthy lawn.

Started from the bottom…

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The days are getting shorter and your landscape is starting to get ready for winter. The tree leaves are recycling any nutrients from the leaves that they can store and utilize for next spring. You can see this happening while going on a drive and checking out all the fall colours. While this is happening your grass is working below the ground producing roots.

This root production is a biannual event that increases in the spring and fall, while decreasing during the winter and summer months. Each spring the grass plant grows rapidly producing a lot of leaf growth. At the same time there is actually more growth going on below the surface in the grass roots. The root system of the grass plant has some similarities to an iceberg. It is commonly known that 90% of an iceberg is under water. Turf grass has a similar look with the grass leaves are relatively short in comparison to the roots.

During the summer months rising soil temperatures, along with lack of moisture and sub-surface insect pressure, the roots start to recede. The rate of root production is dramatically reduced from the spring and the root system starts to shrink. Grass root reserves stored up from the spring are used up combating these summer stresses.

As the summer comes to an end, grass plants start to regenerate their roots systems that were lost during the summer. Cooler weather and more moisture are very conducive to this root reproduction. This is also the best time to add new cultivars of grass to your lawn, as late summer/early fall has always been the best time to over-seed the lawn. This year this may be very important in the parts of the country that was under drought conditions. Also, make sure that those colourful leaves on your lawn are raked up as piles of leaves left on the grass will smother and kill the grass.

With the establishment of more roots in the fall the grass is ready to go dormant for the winter. These roots store all the nutrients required by the grass for the turf to green up early in the spring as soon as the snow melts. At this point the spring regeneration of the grass roots starts over again.

Contact your local Weed Man lawn care professionals with any questions you have regarding getting your lawn ready for winter. Remember, Weed Man is your lawn’s best friend.

“Lawn” knows all about Hard Work…

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Although it has been a very hot and dry summer in some parts of the country, it seems as if the summer has gone by very quickly. Despite these hot conditions your lawn has been continuously hard at work. In the parts of the country where lawns have not received enough rain, your lawn has most likely gone dormant, trying to maintain moisture in the crown of the grass plant to stay alive. Don’t worry your lawn is ready to flourish when rain arrives again. In the provinces that have received adequate precipitation, or enough supplemental watering, your lawn has been hard at work in several other ways.

First off, lawn, when actively growing, is filled with chlorophyll and is producing oxygen. It is understood that enough oxygen will be produced to supply a family of four each year from 250m2 of lawn. While it is producing oxygen, lawn is cleaning the air from polluting gases such as carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. During this process, carbon is being sequestered in the plant. Many other gases are taken in as well during these processes.

Secondly, a healthy actively growing lawn will make the surroundings cooler. This is very evident if you have ever walked on lawn with bare feet and then have to run onto the driveway, sidewalk or sandy beach. You will quickly run back to the grass to cool down your feet. The temperature difference is considerable as lawn works hard cooling the environment.

The third area that lawn is working hard at, when actively growing, is cleaning the air. Tonnes of dust particles are trapped in the grass leaves. These particles eventually are incorporated into the soil with watering and rainfall.

As lawn is cleaning the air, it is doing its fourth job cleaning water. With rain, atmospheric pollutants are trapped and brought down. The lawn then absorbs the water, trapping the pollutants in the plant tissue. With water shortages, particularly in the southern states, this benefit of turf grass has been used for several years as grey and effluent water is used to irrigate many golf courses.

Lastly, lawn is great at erosion control. With actively growing grass, the lawn will slow down any traveling rain water and allow the water to infiltrate into the ground. If the land was bare, soil would travel with heavy rainfalls.

If you have and questions on how you can keep lawn working for you, feel free to contact your local Weed Man lawn care professionals.  Weed Man is your lawn’s best friend.

Summer Mowing

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Aside from a sound lawn care system of fertility and weed management, how your grass is mowed is probably the greatest influential impact on the appearance of your lawn. We have covered a lot of ground on proper mowing in previous posts, but here are the basics:

  • Never mow more than 1/2 of the grass blade at a time. Mowing 1/2 or more of the blade removes too much of the plant at one time, which will ‘scalp’ the lawn and perhaps leave heavy clippings that will smother and possibly further burn the grass.
  • Always mow with a razor sharp blade. Lawn mower blades need to be sharpened 2-3 times during the lawn care season. Mowing with a dull blade rips/tears grass blades causing plant injury that results in a general yellow, unhealthy appearance. New lawn mowers need to have blades sharpened because most manufacturers do not fully sharpen blads for shipping purposes. Keep two blades on-hand so you always have a sharp blade to swap out.
  • Alternate mowing directions. By altering the mowing directions you keep the grass growing straight up. Otherwise the grass would take on a slanted growth pattern; Creating many different problems, including proper air and light circulation which are important for optimal turf health.
  • Mulch Clippings. If you are mowing often enough to follow the 1/3 rule above, you will never have to worry about the clippings smothering the lawn. Most lawn mowers are able to mulch light clippings quite easily. Grass clippings are a great natural source of nitrogen that should really not be removed by bagging.

At this time of year, and particularly in hot dry regions where lawns are showing obvious drought stress, mowing should be suspended altogether. In fact, particularly if you are restricted from watering, it is a good idea to minimize all foot traffic on a dormant lawn.

Normal mowing practices can resume when the weather cools down and the lawn starts to grow more actively.

So, if your lawn is showing signs of drought, please remember it is natural for your lawn to brown. Adjusting mowing strategies & reducing foot traffic on the lawn may be necessary to get your lawn through a hot and dry stretch of weather.

Please contact your local Weed Man to do a complimentary analysis if you are concerned about your lawn’s health and appearance. Summer conditions can also contribute to turf disease and insect issues. If the brown spots you see seem to be rapidly increase by day, rather than gradually like drought symptoms.

Fall Lawn Planning…

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As we reach the midway point of the summer months, many homeowners are starting to plan for their children’s school year, fall vacations or even their winter retreat. While these plans go on, often times the lawn is overlooked. Right now is the perfect time to plan on getting your lawn into great shape moving into the fall.

This planning is especially important this year, as many parts of Canada have been experiencing drought conditions this summer, which puts stress on home lawns. Drought stress sometimes comes at a cost, as many grass cultivars found in a lawn cannot withstand being dormant more than four to five weeks and will not come back with future rains. Also, with these drought conditions, it is sometimes hard to detect damage caused by surface insects until the rain returns. In both instances, when the rains return there will be bare areas where the lawn has died and are prime locations for undesirable plants to grow.

Consider over-seeding your lawn in late August to early September. This is considered the best time of year to seed because there is normally enough moisture available and the soil is warmed from the summer climate. The spring is considered the second best time to seed, but varying soil temperatures can make the germination inconsistent. When over-seeding, make sure that you utilize a quality lawn seed. Inexpensive seeds generally do not have the newest technologies or utilize the best new cultivars available. Each year, seed producers are coming out with grass plants that are able to withstand insect, disease and drought pressure better. The addition of these seeds will help your lawn withstand future years with summers similar to this one. Also, buying a quality seed will ensure that you are not adding more weed seeds to your lawn. Not all lawn seed blends are equal.

Along with over-seeding the lawn, you should plan on aerating it. You may ask, “Why would I need to aerate when I have bare soil within my lawn?”. Yes, you could just go over these areas with a light raking to scratch the soil and provide adequate seed/soil contact, but you would not be getting all of the benefits. Aeration will provide the grass seed with a good place to germinate while breaking up any compacted areas in your lawn, which a light raking will not do. Also, your lawn may have a thick mat or thatch layer that is conducive for surface insects. Aeration brings soil to the surface and in this soil are thousands of micro-organisms that will slowly work away at any layering problem you may have.

Combining these to services this fall will only make your lawn healthier and stronger going into winter. Always feel free to contact your local Weed Man lawn care professionals with any questions or concerns while you plan for your lawn going into the fall. Remember, Weed Man is your lawn’s best friend.

 

Go Pro or DIY?

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We all know those “handy” types who can build a new deck over a weekend, drywall the basement, or install that new bay window with ease and precision! Then of course there those who romanticize the notion that they are handy, when really they have no business trying to tackle certain projects. We’ve all seen those unfinished disaster projects on the various home improvement programs. When it comes to deciding whether to do something on your own, it boils down to a few key criteria:

Time – Are you able to commit the right amount of time to properly tackle a project or assume the responsibility of an ongoing task?

Ability/Inclination – As in the home improvement example, many of us romanticize the idea of building something with our own hands. While this could very rewarding if done properly, it is important to assess your own inclination/ability for the given task or responsibility. Generally speaking, human nature dictates that the less natural ability you have to do something, the less inclined you eventually become to continually and consistently follow it through.

Legalities – When deciding on whether to hire a professional, unwisely some people circumvent legal requirements such as permits and/or licensed electrical work to continue with the home renovation example.  In other words, if you have to break the law, don’t!  Just get it done properly the first time by calling a professional!

Quality of Life – When it comes to any do-it-yourself project or ongoing responsibility like lawn care, you have to really decide how you want to spend your time. With lawn care, you have to spend a certain amount of time researching the legally available products and equipment you will need to fertilize, aerate, over seed etc.  You will need to set up a schedule on your calendar to keep track of what’s been done, and what’s coming up. You will need to troubleshoot potential lawn issues as weather patterns and other environmental factors change the lawn’s appearance throughout the season. If you legitimately enjoy the challenge of this, then caring for your lawn on your own may be quite rewarding and enjoyable. If these things sound daunting, hiring a professional like Weed Man is a natural solution!

Everyone has friends, neighbours and relatives who proudly boast about their self-maintained lush carpet of green; also known as their lawn.  When you ask them to share their tips, tricks and remedies, you will hear a vast array of contradictions from one person to another.

Academic institutions and government agencies offer a lot of credible and sound advice online when it comes to lawn care best practices.  At Weed Man, we certainly pride ourselves on providing the most up-to-date information using timeless, sound agronomic principles as our guide.  Of course, as is the case with anything online, one has to be selective and most importantly consider the source! A good example of this is people who self-diagnose medical issues. If you are looking in the wrong spot, you are bound to frustrate your doctor!

Whether you take care of your lawn yourself or you hire a professional adhering to the following principles will set the stage for maximum results!

Mow Properly!  Unless you mow properly, the best lawn care program (applied by you or a professional) will produce very limited results. Follow these mowing rules:

  • Mowing with a razor sharp blade. Sharpen your mower blade 2-3 times/season
  • Mow high! Set your wheel height at least 1-2 settings above the middle position on your lawn mower
  • Alternate your mowing direction to keep the grass growing straight. This helps maximize air and light circulation.
  • Mow the grass often enough to remove the top ⅓ of the grass blade. This may mean mowing 2-3 times/week in the spring during times of rapid growth; and as little as once every 2-3 weeks (or not at all if dormant) in the hot dry, slow growth summer months.
  • Don’t mow in the heat of the day or when the grass is too wet.

Water Properly! For optimal health, your lawn needs 2.5 – 4 CM of water weekly, supplied ideally by Mother Nature in the form of rainfall. If rain doesn’t deliver this, you should consider supplementing with your sprinkler. Here are some best practices for watering your lawn:

  • Local watering bylaws/restrictions always take precedence over lawn watering. Please ensure you familiarize yourself with all possible restrictions
  • Water only when the lawn needs it. Over watering is not only wasteful; it creates shallow/lazy roots that will dramatically reduce your lawn’s drought tolerance with a sudden heat wave.
  • Deep, infrequent watering (45 min – 1 hour in each area with your sprinkler) is better than light sprinkling
  • Water early morning rather than evening. Cool morning conditions allow the soil to better absorb moisture. A little later morning/ afternoon conditions will evaporate excessive moisture off grass blades which helps prevent disease. Grass blades typically stay wet for prolonged periods with evening watering; which promotes the spread of disease.

Consider the Surrounding Environment:  Basic assessments of the environment your grass is growing in will help immensely in maintaining a healthy lawn. Consider the following:

  • Soil Type:  Is your lawn growing in more of a clay-based or sand-based soil? The answer to this question will shape how and when you do things such as rake, water, aerate and over seed.
  • Shade or Sun: Knowing whether your lawn is growing in shady or sunny conditions is important for a number of reasons including seed selection for over seeding work and mowing decisions such as height and frequency.
  • Surrounding Vegetation: Beyond the shade vs. sun question, consideration should be given to the types of trees/shrubs growing around your lawn. For example, a coniferous tree/shrub that sheds needles can cause acidity challenges if it shed a lot of needles. It may be impossible to sustain grass plants in these areas. Another consideration may be to prune trees to allow more light and air circulation to strengthen your lawn.

As mentioned, adhering to these principles will maximize the results of your lawn care program.  It’s also important to remember that lawn care requires patience. Expecting a lawn that is in very rough shape to turn into a lush carpet of green within a month or two is never realistic. It may take a few seasons of dedicated effort to turn a very rough lawn around.

Weed Man is an international network of professional lawn care experts that has been growing and maintaining healthy lawns since 1970. Whether you decide to hire a professional like Weed Man or you take care of your own lawn, we are always just a click or a phone call away… We are always happy to help!

We sincerely hope that you utilize our website or your local Weed Man professional as a resource.

Is Your Lawn Dry?

 

Dormant LawnGiven the unseasonably hot & dry weather over the last month in many parts of Canada, for many, the official arrival of summer of June 20th seemed a little late.

Whenever the weather gets hot & dry, lawns start to change in appearance. The first indication of heat and drought dress is visible when your previously lush green lawn starts to take on a blueish / grayish tinge. When you mow the lawn or walk on it, you may notice that wheel marks and/or footprints don’t bounce back as quickly as they did, earlier in the cool and wet spring conditions.

While there are some areas getting more rainfall, we are at a point now that many residential lawns are now starting to show significant signs of summer stress.

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When this starts happening on your lawn there’s no need to panic. While this picture appears to show dead grass this lawn is very much alive. It’s in a “dormant” state, otherwise known as survival mode. What dormancy means is that as a plant system, water supply to the grass blade is basically blocked to preserve moisture in the roots, which is the heart and soul of a grass plant.

The big question here is, how long long can the grass survive in a dormant state? The answer depends on a lot of different variables such as: temperature, sun exposure, etc… However, as a general rule of thumb, most lawns can survive 4-5 weeks in a state of dormancy. Beyond 5 weeks. with out water, many grass types will start to die off.

WEED CONTROL

While the main objective is to have a lush, health green lawn many customers will judge the success of a lawn care program on the presence of weeds. Hot and dry conditions can create a temporary conundrum for controlling weeds. Although they won’t permanently damage the grass, weed control products can be quite hard on a lawn when it is drought stressed. For those with pesticide bans/restrictions, this challenge is further exacerbated by the use of chelated iron based weed control; Which can temporarily blacken the grass. For these reasons, your lawn care professional may either suspend any planned weed control applications or they will spot treat only the areas that have weeds, to minimize additional stress to the lawn.

WATERING

For homeowners, watering the lawn in summer drought conditions can be expensive or even illegal, depending on local watering restrictions. However, it is important to note that a deep watering can prolong the “survival mode” and help to save the grass. The following information about watering assumes the ability to water the lawn on a regular basis.

Grass plants are essentially 90% water and therefore needs regular waterings either from rainfall or by irrigation. Specifically, grass needs 1-1.5 inches (3-4 centimeters) of water weekly. In general your watering schedule should be based on deep and infrequent waterings. It should also be flexible with current weather conditions. Under normal conditions watering should always be done early in the morning. Evening watering can promote the spread of disease because the leaf blades of the grass stay wet for prolonged periods. Disease potential increases with the frequency of evening watering. That said, if your lawn is drought stressed water it whenever you can.

Typically, Mother Nature supplies the required amount of moisture during cooler times of the season. The goal of your watering should be to replace what rainfall does not supply, usually during these hot summer months. Heavy downpours, common at this time of year, may appear to provide relief for your lawn. However, if the lawn is droughted and the soil is hard and compacted, these flash flood storms may not penertrate the soils and.or the root system. This type of rainfall will produce standing water may be required.

When considering water requirements for a lawn there are three basic things to consider up front:

  1. Soil Type (clay or sand)
  2. Grass Type (sun or shade)
  3. Physical Characteristics (such as sun exposure, surrounding trees and shrubs, hills, sloped areas and use patterns with children, dogs, etc…

The type of grass you have, and the soil under it, sets the stage for what type of a lawn you will have and the problems you may face. You may have a recurring problem on your lawn every year where a certain area turns brown. Sometimes planting a different grass type more suitable to that particular area can solve the problem. Your local Weed Man can help with proper seed selection if this is that case.

In terms of watering, think of your soil in two extremes. If your soil is more clay-based it will act like a sponge in wet/rainy conditions, or like pavement in the summer heat. Sandy soils, regardless of the time of year, act more like a strainer when it comes to water.

Clay Soil

In hot dry conditions clay soils become rock hard, to the point where water cannot penetrate them. In this case the soil acts more like pavement. Rather than absorbing the water it cracks and heaves in hot weather. Clay soils present a considerable challenge in drought conditions. Hard, compacted clay soil that is in drought will restrict root development and nutrient exchange. This hardening shuts the grass down as a plant system and the lawn goes dormant.

Watering a lawn growing in clay soil can be very frustrating, particularly on sloped areas. If you have a sloped area where the water tends to roll off rather than infiltrate into the soil. there are a couple of things you can try. One, rather than using a sprinkler try using a soaker hose, or some watering device that minimizes the size of the water droplets. This will help cut down on the roll off. Another method that helps is prodding that area with a pitchfork or some tool that will create a series of holes that the water can enter. This is almost like a homemade aeration.

In general lawns with clay soils need to be aerated at least once per season. Aerating is especially important if your lawn is a high traffic area (kids, pets, etc…). Over-seeding at the time of aerating is also highly recommended.

Sandy Soils

Lawns growing in sandy soils can prove to be extremely challenging throughout summer drought periods. In a perfect world every homeowner would water the precise amount of water the lawn needs in the morning only. Unless equipped with a programmable irrigation system most homeowners are pressed for time and cannot sustain the “perfect” watering schedule. When the weather becomes hot and dry, like it is now, the first lawns to start turning brown are those with sandy soil areas. When these extreme weather conditions persist, homeowners should water whenever they have the opportunity. It is important to ensure that the maximum amount of water (1.5 inches or 4 centimeters) is delivered to sandy soils during drought periods.

The main issue with sandy soils is their inability to retain moisture. Simple steps a homeowner can take such as mulching grass clippings as opposed to bagging and/or top dressing their lawns with triple mix soils will help with water retention.

MOWING

Aside from a sound lawn care system of fertility and weed management, how your grass is mowed is probably the greatest influential impact on the appearance of your lawn. We have covered a lot of ground on proper mowing in previous posts, but here are the basics:

  • Never mow more than 1/2 of the grass blade at a time. Mowing 1/2 or more of the blade removes too much of the plant at one time, which will ‘scalp’ the lawn and perhaps leave heavy clippings that will smother and possibly further burn the grass.
  • Always mow with a razor sharp blade. Lawn mower blades need to be sharpened 2-3 times during the lawn care season. Mowing with a dull blade rips/tears grass blades causing plant injury that results in a general yellow, unhealthy appearance. New lawn mowers need to have blades sharpened because most manufacturers do not fully sharpen blads for shipping purposes. Keep two blades on-hand so you always have a sharp blade to swap out.
  • Alternate mowing directions. By altering the mowing directions you keep the grass growing straight up. Otherwise the grass would take on a slanted growth pattern; Creating many different problems, including proper air and light circulation which are important for optimal turf health.
  • Mulch Clippings. If you are mowing often enough to follow the 1/3 rule above, you will never have to worry about the clippings smothering the lawn. Most lawn mowers are able to mulch light clippings quite easily. Grass clippings are a great natural source of nitrogen that should really not be removed by bagging.

At this time of year, and particularly in hot dry regions where lawns are showing obvious drought stress, mowing should be suspended altogether. In fact, particularly if you are restricted from watering, it is a good idea to minimize all foot traffic on a dormant lawn.

Normal mowing practices can resume when the weather cools down and the lawn starts to grow more actively.

So, if your lawn is showing signs of drought, please remember it is natural for your lawn to brown. Adjusting weed control strategies, watering and mowing & reducing foot traffic and general activities on the lawn, may be necessary to get your lawn through a hot and dry stretch of weather.

Summer conditions can also contribute to turf disease and insect issues. If the brown spots you see seem to be rapidly increasing by day, rather than gradually like drought symptoms, please contact your local Weed Man to do a complimentary analysis.

 

Summer Lawn Maintenance

Summer Challenges

Spring is the season to get your lawn healthy and green. Summer is all about maintaining your lawn’s health and appearance. Achieving the best lawn in the neighbourhood becomes a lot more difficult when the dry summer heat is upon us. Not only do our lawns have to endure the heat, they also have to withstand the many BBQs, lawn games, parties and significantly increased food traffic that the summer months encourage.

Unlike winter, in the summer we are less forgiving. We want our lawns to be healthy and boast a vibrant green colour for all of our outdoor activities and events. Homeowners will always strive to fight nature’s heat, humidity and drought by fertilizing, watering and encouraging new growth out of our lawns, despite weather conditions. With this being said, we all must understand, accept and respect the seasonal changes of our grass plants.

By following these summer lawn maintenance guidelines you can expect to have a healthy lawn throughout the dog days of summer:

WATERING

  • Lawns require 2.5-4 cm of water per week, more when the heat is severe, to maintain it’s green colour and steady growth. Using a rain gauge, or something similar, you can track the amount of water your lawn receives from rainfall and you can supplement when needed.
  • Water in the early morning to reduce waste due to evaporation in the late morning/afternoon, and prevent lawn disease from standing water in the evening.
  • Watering during drought conditions, commit to a consistent watering schedule of deep and infrequent watering. Deep, infrequent watering will encourage deep, healthy root growth, making your lawn more drought tolerant.
  • Some homeowners allow their lawn to slip into a dormant state during the hot weather conditions that summer brings. A dormant lawn will appear brown and unattractive, however, it will green up again when the cooler weather and rain returns. If your lawn is in a dormant state DO NOT try to water it back to life. Let is stay dormant until the fall season.

MOWING

  • Proper mowing practices are always important, especially during the hot summer climate. Ensure that your lawn needs to be mowed. If you lawn has stopped growing, or looks dry and brown, stop mowing.
  • Ensure your mower blade is sharp. Dull mower blades will tear the grass plants, making your lawn look unhealthy, unattractive and will make it more vulnerable to turf disease.
  • Set your mower blade to the highest setting. Longer turf will protect the roots from the strength of the summer sun. Also, low mowing in the summer can help broadleaf weeds to take over your lawn. 
  • The best time to mow your lawn is during the cooler hours of the morning, or in the early evening. DO NOT mow your lawn during the hottest part of the day or when the lawn is wet. 

FERTILIZING 

  • It is not recommended that you fertilize a dormant lawn, UNLESS the product being applied is a slow-release; meaning it won’t actually start to release and encourage growth until the right conditions are in place. If your lawn is consistently watered and maintained with proper mowing practices your summer fertilizer application will release faster. 
  • During the summer months your lawn will naturally grow slower and will feed less aggressively than in the spring or fall weather.
  • We strongly recommend that you contact your local Weed Man professional so they can help you determine the best fertilizer regime for your lawn.

TURF DISEASE

  • Although turf disease can occur at any time, the summer always seems to be the most challenging time of year.  Most factors are out of our control, such as temperature shifts and high humidity. However there are a few things you can do to make your lawn less vulnerable:
    • Incorporate aeration into your annual lawn care program to reduce soil compaction, increase air circulation and encourage adequate flow of water and nutrients to the grass plants. Aeration helps establish strong roots with helps your lawn better tolerate summer conditions.
    • Prune low tree and shrub limbs to increase light and air circulation to underlying grass plants.
    • Avoid evening watering. Standing water leaves your lawn extremely vulnerable to turn disease. Again, watering in the early morning is the best time to manage your turf’s thirst, typically between 6:00 AM & 10:00 AM.
    • Mow high, with a sharp blade and only when your lawn is actively growing.

Summer does bring quite a bit of challenges to our turf plants. Our lawns will continually struggle a little during the warm summer months. Growth will be slower, colour may fade and your lawn may show signs of wear and tear as the plants begin to recover a lot slower from the summer stresses and increased foot traffic. Following these lawn care practices you can gently care for you lawn as the temperatures continue to rise.

Always feel free to contact your local Weed Man lawn care professionals with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your lawn’s health and care. Weed Man is your lawn’s best friend.

Manage Your Turf’s Thirst

Manage Turf's Thirst

As Canada enters summer-like conditions, lawns begin to dry out. This is the time that you should start contemplating on supplementing your lawn’s water supply to manage your turf’s thirst. This is particularly important when you are paying for a professional lawn care program that delivers services dependent on weather conditions.

Before you begin watering your lawn, you must make certain that it really needs water supplementation. The following is a list of tips and tricks that you can use to determine if your lawn’s thirsty.

LOCAL WATERING RESTRICTIONS OR BANS. 

Many municipalities enforce lawn watering restrictions throughout the summer months. Contact your municipal government, or contact your local Weed Man to determine if you have water restrictions or bans in your area. Water restrictions are important, and are usually posted in your local newspaper or your municipal website.  They are put into effect to protect your municipality’s water supply. Please do the proper research to ensure that you comply with your municipality’s regulations.

FOOTPRINT TEST.

Walk across your lawn and observe your footprints. If your footprints don’t bounce back but stay visible on your lawn, this is a sign that your lawn is getting too dry and water may be needed.

COLOUR TEST.

Is your lawn vibrant and green in colour, or does it have a blue-green, or even brownish tint. If your lawn has taken on a blue-green or brownish colour, this is a good indication that you should start watering.

GROWTH RATE.

Assuming you are mowing your lawn properly, you may have had to mow your lawn quite often this spring. Are you mowing less? If you are able to wait longer than a week before having to mow, your lawn may be in need of water.

SCREWDRIVER TEST.

Insert a screwdriver into your lawn (soil). If the screwdriver is hard to insert and/or the screwdriver is not moist when pulled out, these are signs that your lawn soil is dry and needs some water.

The ideal time to water your lawn is in the early morning. Afternoon watering results in wasted resources, considering a lot of the water evaporates in hot, dry weather conditions. Alternatively, evening watering can result in too much standing water, leading to various forms of turf disease.

The most common error with irrigation systems is that they generally apply light water daily, which can lead to shallow roots and turf disease. If you water lightly for short periods of time, focusing solely on the grass blades, the roots can actually grow closer to the soil surface. Light, frequent watering can make your grass plants weaker, because shallow roots make them more susceptible to drought, lawn disease and insect issues.

Deep and infrequent watering is the best watering practice and is much better than more frequent light watering. Watering an established lawn heavily and infrequently promotes healthy strong root growth because it allows water to reach a deeper soil depth. Typically, your lawn requires 3-4 cm of water per week, depending on soil type, weather and rainfall conditions.

To properly water your lawn, wet the soil to a 7.5 to 10 cm depth. This means approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour in each area with your sprinkler. Deep watering should create enough moisture reserve so that you will not need to water again for a number of days, depending on rainfall amounts.

For more information on managing your turf’s thirst, please contact your local Weed Man professional or visit our website, www.weedmancanada.com.