Keeping it Green
Lawns make up a great part of many landscapes and should be maintained to keep them looking healthy and attractive. A well maintained lawn tends to be a healthy lawn with minimal weeds and problems. Lawns should be fertilized regularly, mowed on time and if possible and when needed, watered.
Lawns that were fertilized in April with a fast release fertilizer such as 13-16-10 or 13-5-7 should be fertilized again. This time use a slow release fertilizer such as 24-6-12 which will continually feed the lawn for 5-8 weeks depending on weather conditions and soil type. If there is lots of rain or the soil is sandy and well-drained the fertilizer will be used up more quickly. Fertilize with 24-6-12 throughout the summer months until mid August. After mid August you want the lawn to get ready for winter and dormancy. An application of a fall fertilizer such as 6-3-12 in early September will strengthen the grass roots and help carry the grass through the winter.
Water is another important factor in keeping the lawn green. When you notice the grass has lost its springiness and the colour has faded, the lawn needs to be watered. It is better to water the lawn less often but for longer periods of time. Watering once a week, long enough for the water to go down 15 cm is ideal. It is better to water in the mornings as you loose less water due to evaporation. Allow the lawn to go slightly dry between waterings as you want to allow the air in as well as stimulate deep root development. A lawn that is kept too moist will also increase the chance of moss growing in the lawn. If you are unable to water the lawn during a dry spell, don’t worry, as lawns are able to tolerate dry conditions and will come back and turn green once they are watered again.
Mowing the lawn is part of the weekly maintenance. Keeping the mower blade sharp for a clean cut is important as it makes a nicer looking lawn. Keep the grass length longer as this will provide shade and cooler temperatures for the grass roots, and also prevent it from drying out quickly. Longer grass will also prevent weeds from germinating. If the lawn is too short it slows the development of the grass roots which makes the grass lose its green colour and then it begins to thin, leaving room for unwanted diseases such as dollar spot, leaf spot, rust as well as leaving room for weeds to come in. Mowing the lawn every 5-7 days is usually average or when the grass becomes one-third taller than the mowing height. Letting the grass become too tall and then mowing it, will expose the shaded stems and cause them to burn in the hot sun. By mowing the lawn on time, the grass will assume a dwarf habit by the development of the side-shoots which results in a thicker lawn.
A thick healthy lawn will make it harder for weed seeds to germinate as they are unable to imbed in the soil and also are competing for moisture and nutrients with the healthy grass. If you have unwanted weeds such as dandelions, clover, etc., in the lawn they can be either removed manually or chemically. There are dandelion pullers available that make it easier to manually remove the long tap root. Removing weeds when they are still young and small is much easier than when they get larger with a larger, longer root system. When you see a weed, remove it! If you resort to using a chemical, always read all the directions on the label first.