The ultimate guide for maintaining a perfect lawn

Who doesn’t dream of having a beautiful lush, green lawn? It requires work, but thanks to these simple tips for maintaining your lawn, it will be greener on your side – with minimum effort.

The ultimate guide for maintaining a perfect lawn

Rate the quality of your soil

If you plan to sow a new lawn or replace a damaged portion of it, it is better to first know what kind of soil you’re working with so you can prepare it properly.

Take a sample shovel in several places in the garden to a depth of about 50 centimetres (20 inches).

Check the pH of your soil. Cheap soil testing kits are available at garden centres. If the analysis indicates that the soil is too acidic or alkaline, you will have to adjust the pH (acidity level).

  • Grass prefers a neutral pH of about 7, which allows for a more efficient absorption of nutrients.
  • To correct soil acidity (pH less than 7), you can apply garden lime or finely ground limestone.

To correct alkalinity (pH above 7), balance the ground by applying garden sulfur.

Choosing the right lawn: seed, lumps or blades of grass?

  • That is the question! Choose a lawn suitable for its climate, your garden, the traffic it receives, and the time you have to devote to your landscape. But how should you choose the type of grass, and especially how you should properly sow it?
  • There are several varieties of grass and each is suited for certain conditions.
  • Climate is the main factor that influences the health and vigour of your lawn. But the sun, soil and rainfall also play an important role.

Turf
This is the fastest way to start a lawn. But ask around, and you will find that turf rolls cost about 20 times more than seeds. There are advantages, however: It provides more instant results, it doesn’t require a lot of water, and it’s the best option in summer when high soil temperatures may prevent seeds from germinating.

  • You can plant your sod in the spring, summer or fall, but do it within 48 hours after delivery. Why? To prevent the death of roots.
  • Make sure the soil is moist to encourage rooting and keep your garden moist during the first two weeks with two to six light watering sessions daily.
  • Plant the fertilizer after a month.

The grass seeds and strands
Sowing seeds is the cheapest way to start a new plot of grass or a new lawn. Herbs are divided into two groups — cool season and warm season — based on the type of weather they prefer. The bulk of Canada cultivates cool season varieties.

  • The best time to plant a new lawn is in the middle of spring or early fall.
  • Check the seed labels. They must indicate the germination of each variety of grass (85 per cent for most varieties) and the percentage of other grains, such as weed seeds (up to 1.5 per cent).
  • Choose the grass’ appearance depending on the traffic. The tip of the blade usually cannot tolerate busy traffic. Grasses that are frequently used are better suited for lawns.
  • Spread half the seeds in one direction and the other half in the opposite direction.
  • Finally, sprinkle the seeds with water, but do not hose them with a strong jet of water.
  • Do not apply mineral fertilizers in the first two weeks since seeds and fertilizers are incompatible and this can burn the roots.

Aerate your soil

Most lawns should be aerated once a year to improve drainage and aeration. But what is the best time to aerate your lawn?

If your lawn is exposed to winter frost:

• Aerate in the first dew of August. This will yield a lush lawn in the spring.

 If you live in a warmer region:

  • Aerate your lawn in the spring to invigorate the grass before it loses vitality mid-summer.

Use a mechanical ventilator, which withdraws the soil and releases much of the accumulated thatch. Then, spread a good layer of compost (about one kilogram or two pounds per square metre) to reduce soil compaction and feed the grass properly.

Apply fertilizer

A regular supply of fertilizer helps fight against weeds.

  • The type of fertilizer used depends on the season. Use nitrogen fertilizers in the spring; in the fall, opt for fertilizer high in phosphate to stimulate root growth.
  • Use a balanced fertilizer. Freshly seeded lawns require three nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
  • Each box or bag of fertilizer has three numbers on the label, which represent the amount of the three primary nutrients — in the order mentioned above — contained in the bag, can or bottle.
  • Promote a slow release formulation of 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratios, which is generally considered safe for most lawns.
  • If your soil is infertile, offer it balanced, granulated commercial fertilizer designed for new lawns, with a ratio of, for example, 7-21-7.
  • Do not fertilize your lawn too often. For most lawns, proper fertilization in the spring, followed by fertilizer at the end of the summer, provides sufficient nutrition.
  • Water after adding fertilizer: It works best if the water flows to the roots of the grass within 24 hours.

Are you environmentally conscious and want to avoid chemicals in your fertilizer? Try a homemade liquid fertilizer.

Irrigation

It’s essential to determine the proper volume of water needed to irrigate your lawn. It’s simple: Grab some cake pans, place them in the grass and measure the water they collect in an hour.

  • Your lawn should receive about 2.5 to five centimetres (about two inches) of water weekly — depending on weather and soil conditions — preferably early in the morning so the grass dries out during the day before it gets dark.
  • It is time to water when you see the grass wither or lose flexibility, and when the soil is too dry.
  • Never give a little "sip" of water to your garden with the idea that it is better than nothing. This promotes the growth of surface roots rather than deep, healthy roots — a condition easily solved by installing a sprinkler system.
  • Also avoid overwatering. If puddles form or water pools in your yard, you are simply wasting water.

For environmental reasons, why not use your grey water to water your garden?

  • The wastewater comes from sinks, showers and washing machines.

Lawn mowing

It is not enough to care for the lawn by just mowing it any which way — it is still necessary to know how to mow properly. Two common mistakes including cutting the grass too low and letting it grow too long before mowing.

Common lawn problems

Even the most beautiful lawn can pose its share of challenges. But what are some steps you can take to correct them?

The lawn is dead or has dry areas
Immediately repair these areas with bald patches or turf rolls.

Grass doesn’t grow in the shade
Visit a specialized lawn centre to buy a mixture of grass seeds that can grow in the shade.

The lawn is mouldy in areas
Cover the area with a plastic sheet made of permeable landscape fabric.

  • The tissue blocks weeds from growing while allowing air to circulate and water to penetrate the soil.

The lawn is dotted with spots
Spots are often the result of a fungi overgrowth. Large brown grass stains that mark the lawn in late summer are probably the result of small white worms living in the soil.

Your lawn is overgrown with weeds
Weeds can be an eyesore and sometimes take a good year to get rid of.
Explore in more detail how weeds occur, and most importantly, how to get rid of them.

Weeding and weeds

Most weeds can be easily uprooted manually, but it must be done regularly.

  • Do it before they produce seeds, ensuring you remove all the deep roots.
  • Water before weeding so that they are easier to pull out.
  • You can also sprinkle the weeds with salt and pour boiling water over them.

To control stubborn weeds, cover the floor with a non-woven anti-weed cloth barrier non-woven that you can find in stores. Then, put mulch between the plants to prevent unwanted weeds from growing on the surface.

The fastest way to stop grass weeds from growing is mowing before seed formation, which takes place in summer.

Herbicide
It's sometimes recommended you use herbicide to treat bad grass. Choose the right herbicide, and do not treat near plants for consumption. Use the right herbicides and strictly adhere to their user manual.

Essential tools

For routine care, you will need a variety of tools such as a lawn mower, a trimmer, a digging fork, hose and a lawn sprinkler.

Lawn mowers
The first step towards creating an appealing, tidy lawn is choosing the right mower. They come in all shapes and sizes.

  • There are garden tractors, electric mowers, petrol without motor mowers and shredders — you are spoiled with choice.
  • Pick one that’s easy to use. The size of your garden and your budget will determine your choice.
  • Remember to clean your mower after each use to maintain it well and especially remember to respect the safety rules when using it.

Watering systems
Several types of sprinklers exist: water hoses installed on your land, conventional sprinklers connected to a hose, rotary sprinklers, sprayers, all just to name a few. Choose the model that suits you depending on the size of the field and the time of year you’ll be ready to tackle this task.

Automatic irrigation systems
This is one of the best ways to carefully water lawns and large gardens.

Sprinklers

This type of watering system is suited for a large majority of soils since you can adjust the water volume and watering speed.

Portable garden hose
The easiest way to water your lawn is to use a portable system.

• Whatever type of portable sprinkler you choose, make sure that your hose is long enough to reach the full extent of your lawn.

Other tools
If you’ve never cared for a lawn or garden before, other basic tools you will need include a good rake, solid gardening gloves, a trimmer, rake, spade, a fork, a pruner and a hoe.

A beautiful lawn lends an element of magic to any landscape. Its fine textures and bright green colour contrast with the larger leaves of shrubs, trees and perennials, framing and unifying the plantation on its perimeter. Refine your green thumb by following these pro tips!

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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