Breathe new life into your lawn

Is your lawn looking thin, bare or brown? You can revitalize it in one weekend using just a couple of tools from a local rental or garden centre.

Breathe new life into your lawn
  • A power aerator loosens compacted soil in your yard and breaks up thatch. Thatch is a cushion of old, partially decayed grass roots and stems that develops in many lawns. It separates the actively growing crown of the grass plant from the soil surface, choking growth.
  • A power rake is equipped with vertical, fixed tines to cut the soil and prepare a thinned-out lawn for reseeding.

Time the aerating

For homeowners whose lawns experience a hard freezing winter, August's first dew is your signal that it's time to aerate to ensure lush grass next spring.

  • For homeowners in warmer regions, aerate your lawn in the spring to boost warm-climate grass before it goes dormant in mid-summer.
  • Most lawns, whether seeded or sodded, are planted over a fairly skimpy layer of topsoil.
  • Over time, lawn mowers, pets and pick-up football games compact the soil, making it difficult for air, water and vital nutrients to penetrate to the grass roots. Aerating helps to restore healthy soil conditions that nurture your lawn.

Prepare for seeding

Often, older lawns that haven't been aerated and maintained have turf that's scraggly and thin.

  • After power-aerating the lawn, your first step to correct this problem is to rent a power rake — a gas-powered lawn machine that's roughly the size of a lawn mower but one and a half times heavier.
  • Power rakes work best on lawns with even terrain. On bumpy lawns, a power rake scalps the high spots and rides over dips without cutting the soil.
  • After power raking, lay down fresh grass seed.

What leads to problem thatch

Thatch is a tightly woven layer of partially decomposed grass roots and stems that can develop over several years in the zone between the crown of the grass and the soil surface.

  • Thatch becomes a problem when it's thicker than 0.5 centimetres (1/4 inch). It's a sign that lawns have been overwatered at night, damaged by drought, overfertilized with high nitrogen fertilizer or the soil is too alkaline.
  • Thatch occurs most often in new lawns when sod is installed over dips and voids in a regraded yard, or in poor or improperly prepared soil, and is then incorrectly watered.
  • If the power aerator didn't do the job, you can break down excess thatch by using a rotary spreader loaded with thatch decomposter mix.

Kill the weeds!

With the right herbicide at the right time, you can wipe out your weeds in one hour.

  • Although there are hundreds of kinds of weeds, they all fall into one of three categories — broadleaf, annual grassy weeds or perennial grassy weeds — and specific types of herbicides target each weed group.
  • Early in the growing season is the best time to attack all weeds.
  • Dandelions and ground ivy (also known as creeping Charlie) are common in most yards, as are patches of clover and thistles.
  • Spend an hour spraying a herbicide on your lawn. Within a couple of days, weeds will be wilting. And they won't grow back after you mow them.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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