Preparing the soil for a new crop
- Turn over the soil to a depth of 10-15cm.
- Add soil amendments such as black earth and topsoil.
- Rake well and level the soil, creating a gradual slope away from the house to prevent drainage problems.
- Roll the area to firm up the soil. Water the soil afterwards to settle the soil.
Starting from seed
The best time to apply grass seed is in the spring and in the fall.
- Add turf starter and work in well into the soil. A fertilizer high in phosphorous (middle number) is needed to encourage root growth.
- Apply seed using a broadcast spreader or drop-type spreader.
- Rake lightly to incorporate the seed into the top 0.5cm of soil. Lightly roll the seedbed to ensure good contact. The seeds need to be near the surface in order to germinate.
- Water thoroughly, then keep the seedbed moist at all times, so that the seedlings never dry out.
- Keep off the new lawn until after the first mowing or turf is well established.
- Cut the new grass when it is about 8cm high. Do not cut shorter than 5 cm on the first cut.
- Fertilize regularly, after lawn in established. If grass does not fill in, fertilizing will promote root growth.
- To lay sod, choose a starting point parallel to the longest straight edge of your yard.
- Stagger the sod strips as if you are laying bricks. Butt edges and ends of sod so they fit tightly; avoid overlapping the edges.
- Avoid standing or kneeling on the sod while it’s being laid as you could leave air pockets underneath.
- Water sod lightly as you are laying it to prevent drying out.
- After sod is laid, go over it lightly with a lawn roller to squeeze out air pockets.
- Water frequently and fertilize regularly once lawn is established (at least 3 weeks later).
- In two weeks, the lawn can be mowed.
- In the spring, remove dead grass and leaves with a fan rake and aerate our lawn to allow for much needed air, water and fertilizer to get to the root system.
- Soil conditions can be improved by adding a top dress that is, a mixture of topsoil and peat moss. This is best done in late April.
- To patch up thin or bare spots, add a top dress and then over-seed.
- For best results, give your lawn a good soaking once a week to encourage root growth.
- Frequency of mowing should be dictated by the growth of the grass; more often in the spring and less often in the hot summer months. During dry periods, the lawn should be cut at a much taller height for deeper root systems.
Fertilizing your lawn
The first application of fertilizer in early spring should be a slow release, high nitrogen (first number in the formula) with crabgrass preventer if there was a problem last year. This fertilizer should be applied when the forsythia blooms. If re-seeding the lawn, do not use crabgrass preventer as it will prevent the grass seeds from germinating. In late spring, apply a high nitrogen fertilizer with a herbicide for weed control when weeds are actively growing. During the summer, organic fertilizer can be applied if the weather is cool and after a rain or heavy watering. In the fall, apply a balanced fertilizer to encourage plant growth before the onset of winter.
Dealing with white grubs
White grubs are one phase of the life cycle of various beetles. These insects are about 2cm in length with a brown head and a white body.
The grub does damage by chewing and feeding on grass roots. When you pull on the grass, you will seed that it detaches itself from the roots. Grubs attract rodents such moles, voles and skunks who also damage your lawn by disturbing the soil.
White grubs hibernate in the soil during the winter. As the soil warms in the spring, they move out of hibernation and resume feeding on the roots. During the mid-summer, the grubs pupate and emerge from the soil as beetles. Within a few short weeks, the beetles will burrow back into the soil to lay eggs and begin a new cycle.
The best time to control grubs is in May/early June when the grubs have come closer to the surface and in late summer after the beetles have laid their eggs. Pesticides used to destroy grubs should only be applied as per manufacturers directions.