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Lawns & Soils

Fertilizing Your Lawn

Fertilizer

All plants require 3 major elements: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). Nitrogen promotes healthy green foliage; phosphorous develops strong root and stem growth, whole potassium (potash) improves the overall plant hardiness and disease resistance. When looking at a bag of lawn fertilizer the numbers on the bag represent the percentage of Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium. The plant takes up only as much of these elements as it needs, so it’s just as important not to overfeed as it is to underfeed. The following is a recommended schedule for fertilizing your lawn.

Early spring (April-May)

After the long winter, your lawn is starved for nutrients. A feeding of 20-0-5 or 18-2-5 will stimulate your lawn providing a fast greening and thickening of turf.

Spring (May-June)

Later in spring, a second feeding is needed by your lawn to replace nutrients depleted by the fast growth in early spring.

Summer

For summer (July/August) feed your lawn with 20-0-5 or 18-2-5 fertilizer. Ensure that your lawn receives sufficient watering during hot spells throughout the summer.

Fall (September-October)

The beauty of next summer’s lawn depends upon the care you give it this fall. Protect your lawn against the ravages of winter by applying fall lawn fertilizer, so your lawn will bounce back next spring full of life and vigour. A low nitrogen formula or 12-14-22 prevents your lawn from going into the winter with soft top growth. It expands and deepens the root system while increasing the strength and resistance against fungus.

Watering

General watering guidelines:

  • Once a week, under ordinary dry conditions
  • Twice a week, during hot weather
  • Every 10-14 days, during cool weather

Following these guidelines will allow your lawn to dry out slightly between waterings. This allows for air circulation and stimulates deep root development which in turn makes your lawn more tolerant of drought.
During long dry spells try to let grass grow a little longer; leave clippings on the lawn; water during the mornings and evenings.

Aerating

Aerating is a procedure that should be performed every 3 to 5 years. Aerating is a process where you punch holes, to a depth of 3 inches, into the soil so that air and water can penetrate the surface.

Signs that your lawn should be aerated: puddling after rain; rapid browning during dry spells, bare patches due to heavy traffic.
Aerating can be done in the spring or the fall.

De-thatching prevents too much organic matter from collecting at the base of grass stems - 1/2" is acceptable. A thick layer of thatch prevents water, fertilizer and pesticides from penetrating the soil and it can harbour lawn pests. In some cases grass will even root into the layer of thatch. Power rake to remove thatch from the lawn. When mowing, keep clippings small so they decay quickly and avoid over-watering and over-fertilizing.
De-thatching shouldn’t be necessary more often then every 3 or 4 years.

Mowing

Mowing frequently, with a sharp mower blade is required to maintain nice turf. Cut to a height of 4-5cm (2-2.5"). Remove no more than 1/3 of the grass blade each mowing. Regular mowing eliminates the need for bagging grass clippings.