Caring for your lawn
Fertilization is the most important aspect of lawn care. It involves the application of a fertilizer containing one or more essential plant nutrient to improve density, uniformity, colour and recuperative potential of the turfgrass. Dense lawns are not usually invaded by weeds. A good fertilizer program will eliminate most lawn problems.
- Turf is a heavy user of nitrogen. The percent of nitrogen in lawn fertilizers when applied during the active growing period is much higher than phosphorus or potash.
- Fertilizer application can be done using a centrifugal “broadcast” spreader or a gravity feed type “drop” spreader. When using a centrifugal spreader, care must be taken to not get the fertilizer (some containing herbicides) on to nearby flower beds or shrubs to avoid damage.
- When fertilizing a lawn it is a good practice to apply half the recommended rate in one direction and the other half in the other direction crosswise.
- In autumn, quick release nitrogen fertilizers should be reduced so that the lawn does not produce an abundance of succulent tissue prone to winter damage. The fertilizer application at this t should contain high quantities of phosphorus for strong root development and potash for stem strength, winter hardiness, and heat and cold resistance.
Lawns can be rolled in early spring with a light roller. Where frost heaving has occurred, rolling will bring the grass roots back in contact with the soil.
Rolling is not a levelling process and under no circumstances should a heavy roller be used. Heavy rolling compacts the soil preventing the entrance of air, water and fertilizer.
The cutting height will depend upon the type of grass. Generally Kentucky Bluegrass lawns should be cut at 3-5cm (1-2″).
- Cutting height is important. When a large amount of leaf is removed there is a reduced carbohydrate production, because the leaves are largely responsible for photosynthesis. Reduced carbohydrates will weaken the turf and allow it to be invaded by weeds and/or injured by disease, insects or environmental stress. Loss of leaf will also cause a reduction in the amount of root tissue.
- During dry periods the lawn should be cut at a much taller height for deeper root systems and shorter in cool, wet weather.
- The frequency of cut will depend upon the growth rate. It is advisable to never remove more than 40% of the leaf area at any one mowing.
- The quality of the cut may be improved if the lawn mowing pattern is varied. One week it should be mowed in one direction then crosswise the next, then at an angle and so on.
- Grass clippings if short may be left on the lawn to decay. They provide organic matter to the soil and recycle plant nutrients. If the grass clippings are excessively long they should be removed to prevent smothering and possible disease.
During dry weather, lawns may be irrigated to keep them actively growing and green in colour. The mount of watering will depend upon the availability of water.
Lawns are best watered in early morning when temperatures are cool and less evaporation will take place. It should be applied at a rate of 3cm (1 “) per week. Light, frequent waterings are not recommended because they produce shallow root systems more subject to water and temperature stresses.
Lawn Feeding Program
1st Feeding: March – April
- Apply Iron Plus® 12-4-8 fertilizer at 4 kg per 100 m2 (8.2 lbs per 1000 sq. ft.) OR
- If crabgrass was a problem last year, apply Iron Plus® Crabgrass Control Fertilizer. Crabgrass is an annual plant that reseeds itself each fall. The seeds lay dormant over winter and germinate each spring about the time the Forsythia are in full bloom. For best results this material must be applied early before Forsythia shrubs bloom.
2nd Feeding: May – June
- Apply Iron Plus® 12-4-8 fertilizer at 4 kg per 100 m2 (8.2 lb. per 1000 sq. ft.) or, if broadleaf weeds are present apply Iron Plus® Weed and Feed 9-4-8 at 4 kg per 100 m2 (81b. per 1000 sq. ft.). Water in after 48 hours, OR
- If lawn insects (grubs) are a problem apply Iron Plus® Insect Control Fertilizer containing the insecticide Chlorpyrifos.
3rd Feeding: July – August
- Apply Iron Plus® 12-4-8 fertilizer at 4 kg per 100 m2 (8.2 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft.) OR
- If broadleaf weeds are a problem use Iron Plus® Weed and Feed 9-4-8 at 4 kg per 100 m2 (8 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft.). Water in after 48 hours.
4th Feeding: Winterizing
- Iron Plus® Lawn Food should be applied to give your lawn its last feeding and winter protection. Apply in late autumn (October 15 to November) at a rate of 4 kg per 100 m2 (8.2 lbs per 1000 sq. ft.).
- If weeds are a problem apply Iron Plus® 9-4-8 (August to September) at the rate of 4 kg per 100 m2 (8.2 lbs per 1000 sq. ft.). The potash content helps increase plant sturdiness and hardiness.
Courtesy White Rose Nursery.