For many homeowners across Canada, the beginning of summer unofficially arrives for those who celebrate Victoria Day Weekend in May! For some people this long weekend means camping or some other outdoor excursion. But for many homeowners, the May long weekend is dedicated to the yard. This can mean opening then pool, cleaning the garage, patio furniture/ BBQ and of course gardening and tending to the lawn! If the lawn is on your list this year, here are a few helpful tips to help you focus on the right things:
LAWNMOWER - If you haven’t yet take some time to check your lawnmower to make sure it’s in good working order, and most importantly that it’s set up to cut your grass the proper way.
- Change oil - Just like your car, if your lawn mower’s oil is not changed, it will not run properly; and could possibly break down.
- Change/check spark-plugs - Having trouble starting your lawnmower? An obvious thing to check is your mowers’ spark plug
- Sharpen mower blades - A huge component of proper mowing is mowing with razor sharp blades so the grass blade is cleanly cut. This also implies that you are mowing at the right time (when the grass not too wet, long or droughted).
- Clean underside - Especially for mulching mowers (highly recommended), ensuring the underside of the mower is not clogged or obstructed with a build-up of old grass clippings will keep the mower mulching/operating like it should so your grass is being mowed properly and excessive clippings are being left behind in clumps on the lawn
- Check mower height - We have touched a lot on this topic in previous posts. You need to mow at a high height of cut (3-3½” or 7.6-8.9 cm) to maintain a healthy stand of grass that can crowd out weeds and crabgrass. On most mowers this high height of cut means setting it 1-2 positions above the “middle” position on your wheel settings.
TRIMMER - Whether you use an electric or a gas powered trimmer, it’s always a good idea to make sure this piece of equipment is in good working order; and you have enough replacement trimmer string for the season. Trimmer’s can really edge things nicely and make your property look more tidy and maintained. However, it’s important to remember not to scalp the grass by trimming too short on the edges. Just like a lawn that is mowed too short, if the grass is scalped down to the point where bare soil is exposed to the sunlight, weeds or crabgrass will take hold and begin permeating into your lawn in no time!
HOSE & SPRINKLER - Given the time of year not surprisingly in almost every region across Canada, there has been no need to water lawns. However, we are not far from the time when lawns will suffer from heat/drought conditions brought on by the hot summer months. Depending on your local watering restrictions, if possible your lawn may need supplementary water to keep it healthy. Your lawn will tell you when it’s becoming parched. Before it turns brown, it will take on a blue/silver tinge and your footprints will stay visible because the lawn will not have the ability to bounce back like it does when it is healthier.
SEED & SOIL - Typically by late May aside from Northern regions, the soil temperatures become ideal for growing grass seed. A nice long weekend can be a great opportunity to spread a little love in the form of grass seed and topsoil (preferably triple mix) in those sparse/thin/trouble areas in your lawn. Follow these steps:
- Start by raking the area free of debris.
- Sprinkle a generous amount of grass seed (Choose a sun or shade blend depending on the area. Try to purchase “certified” grass seed as well. Certified seed is better quality and there’s less chance of weed seeds being in the mix) in the area. Handheld rotary spreaders can be effective when spreading seed.
- Distribute a light layer of topsoil to lightly cover the grass seed. It’s important that the existing grass can still grow through the topsoil, so make sure it’s not smothering the lawn.
Checking your lawnmower, your sprinkler and doing little light seeding and top dressing will go a long way to getting your lawn off to a good start heading into the warmer weather so you and your family can enjoy your yard to the fullest! For more information, please contact your local Weed Man!