These days, it sure feels nice to step outside. We’re finally seeing the weather turn a corner, just in time to offer some respite from all the working from home we’ve all been doing. Fortunately for us, the best weather of the year is still yet to come, and now is the perfect time to prepare for it. If you have time to spare (and let’s face it—most of us do!), why not get outside and work your way through this spring lawn care checklist?
Check the Soil
Before we add anything to the soil, take a little walk on it. If it’s still squishy, leave it alone—it’s too early to work with. In some parts of Guelph, the soil is dry enough right now, but more sheltered areas may need a week or two more. Test the ground to see which category you fall into.
Once the soil is ready to go, the first order of business is to give it a good dethatching. This is the only time of year we carry dethatching rakes, which look a little bit like medieval torture instruments but are excellent for pulling up the dead stuff. It’s quite a workout, but since all the gyms are closed, maybe that’s not such a bad thing!
Smooth Out Lumps and Bumps
Especially here in Southern Ontario, very few of us have perfectly flat lawns. If you’ve got some lumps and bumps to smooth out, top up the low areas with Viva Lawn Repair Mix. This is my favourite soil mix for lawn repair, and it’s a nice rich blend of peat, compost, and wetting agent that makes a nice substrate for your grass seed. Speaking of which…
Overseed the Lawn
The next step is to put down your grass seed. We carry five different grass seed mixes, but the main thing you need to know before choosing is what kind of sun exposure your yard has. We have four options for full to partial sun, and one that tolerates both sun and shade. As far as what I personally prefer, Hardi Lawn is the one I tend to recommend the most. From my experience, insects aren’t so keen on it, which is ideal if you’ve had grub issues in the past. I also find that it tends to hold its colour better than others when conditions are harsh, so while all your neighbours have brown lawns, yours will still be green. Or at least, on the green side of brown.
Spread grass seed with a spreader and work it into the soil with a fan rake turned upside-down (so the tines face the sky). The goal here is just to work the seed about an eighth of an inch below the soil, just covered enough that the birds don’t peck too much at it.
Next comes the fertilizer. Use a spring-specific fertilizer for this step. Different times of year require different fertilizers, so if you want to make things easy on yourself, I recommend a fertilizer program. These programs give you a package of the full year’s fertilizer blends, at a savings of 20-30% versus buying each product individually. We carry three different programs for different needs. First, there’s the Standard program, which is great for all lawns. It comes with a Spring formula you can apply with your spreader now, as well as a Summer formula you can apply later in the season. The program also includes the Fall formula, which you can apply later in the year.
We also carry a Weed Control program, which as you might guess, is ideal for lawns that struggle with weed pressure. In addition to the seasonal fertilizers, the program comes with corn gluten, which must be applied within the next few weeks before it won’t be effective any longer. If you tend to struggle with weeds, I suggest picking this stuff up right away, even if you’re not ready to apply it yet. It’s better to have it on hand when you need it than to gamble with stock levels during the last few days you can apply it.
Finally, there’s the Grub Control Program, which comes with an excellent new product for controlling grubs. The product, Grub B Gone, acts in a similar way to active biologicals like nematodes, but unlike the nematodes, it doesn’t require refrigeration. This will come as great news to those who are seasoned veterans of the war against grubs!
Once your grass seed and fertilizer is down, you’re ready to water. Give the whole lawn a good soak with your hose or sprinkler. Now is a nice time to get all this done because it’s cool enough that the morning dew will keep your soil moist, and the spring rain is bound to take on your watering duties several times per month. Keep the soil and seed moist as you wait for it to germinate, and make sure to hold off on mowing until the grass is at least two inches tall.
Time is of the essence when it
comes to staging your spring lawn care properly. We’re pleased to offer delivery service for our online store orders, so you can get everything you need delivered straight to your doorstep. Just need a few bags of fertilizer? For orders under $30, we’re happy to arrange curbside pickup at Royal City Nursery. There’s no getting around it—this spring is a weird one, but we’re doing all we can to help you make the best of it!