Spring Maintenance Tips

Lawn watering

  • No watering required.  During the Spring, watering is on Mother Nature's tab and she usually provides more than enough rainfall to meet your lawn and garden needs.  Best of all ...  rain is free.

Mow like a pro...

  • Mow High.  Raise your lawn mower blades to a height of 7.5 cm (3 inches).  Longer grass has deeper roots, can crowd out weeds and most importantly, retains the lawn soil's moisture.
  • Cut correctly.  Mowing your lawn every week is a ritual ...  not a mandatory requirement.  Mow your lawn only when needed during the Summer.  Never remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade.  Short blades of grass are stressful for your lawn and make it difficult for the soil to retain moisture.
  • Leave the grass clippings.  Stop bagging or racking up your lawn clippings.  Clippings provide valuable nutrients (nitrogen), help retain moisture and make it difficult for weeds to grow.  Clippings break down quickly and disappear within a day or two.
  • Choose the right mower.  A mulching mower is ideal for large lawns because the grass clippings are finely chopped and returned to the soil, which helps retain moisture.  For smaller lawns, think of using a reel (or push) mower ...  it gives a good cut which keeps the soil moist and doesn't contribute to noise and air pollution ...  
  • Keep your blades sharp.  Dull mower blades tear the grass, and this can lead to disease and heat stress.  Sharpen your blades twice a season.
  • Mow before weeds go to seed.  

Weed & seed

  • Drop grass seed to discourage weeds.  Use grass seeds after you get rid of your weeds.  This makes it harder for weeds to grow back and keeps your lawn thick and healthy.  A friendly reminder: Pull or dig your weeds when the soil is moist, making it easier get more of the weed roots and disturb less of the soil.
  • Use alternatives to pesticides.  North Bay's Pesticide By-law restricts the use of pesticides, but you can use certain lower-risk pest control products or use natural methods.  For more information visit our pesticides section.

Fertilize on time

  • Fertilize late April, early May.  Fertilize your lawn before the first mowing of the season.  Fertilizing on time keeps your lawn vibrant, your soil healthy, and promotes low maintenance during the months ahead.  It's always best to fertilize after aerating your lawn.  

Aerate to free the flow.

  • Use a lawn aerator to help your lawn breath.  Use an aerator to remove plugs of soil from your lawn, allowing water, oxygen flow and fertilizer to reach your grass' root zone.  Aeration is an excellent way for clay-based and compacted soil to retain nutrients and moisture.  For smaller lawns use a pitchfork, aerator shoes or a foot-press aerator.  If you have a large lawn, you can rent or purchase an aerator at most garden centres or equipment rental locations.

Seed to grow

  • Repair your lawn by over seeding.  Apply grass seed to areas that need some attention.  The right type of grass seed can help thicken the lawn, make it resilient and crowd out weeds.  Weeds grow and spread quickly in a thin lawn.  Use a blend of grasses, especially perennial ryegrasses and fescues ...  these need less care, less water and can resist bugs.  However ...  always check with a gardening expert about what works best for you.  After all, soil type, the amount of sun, and where you plan to plant seeds, must all be taken into consideration.  Young grass can survive the winter and turn into a thick and healthy lawn in the Spring that will only need 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water a week, including rainfall.  Early Spring is the best time of year to repair your lawn and the Fall is usually best for your lawn.

Mulch for moisture

  • Apply mulch to your lawn and garden.  Leaves, grass clippings and wood chips are just some of the mulches available to help your garden and lawn retain moisture, provide valuable nutrients and reduce weeds.  Mulch also reduces water loss.  Another important fact: as mulch decomposes, it adds humus to the soil, helping it hold the moisture even more.  Talk to your local garden centre about what type of mulch works best for your plants.  Rule of thumb: mulching is best done in the late Spring - before hot weather arrives and your perennials and annuals are small enough to work around.  Topping off your mulch is best done in the Fall.  Always check the depth of your mulch.  Place 1" to 2" layer of fine mulch or 2" to 4" layer if it's a coarse mulch ...  and spread it evenly.  Don't pack it down and give it a good soak by using a watering can or soaker hose.

Read More at organiclawncare101.com