In the spring Dave gets tons of questions about lawns. We thought we’d share…with Dave’s ok of course, some of his tips, tricks and timing to help you have a glorious lawn this year:
Know thine soil…alright, those weren’t exactly Dave’s words but the idea is sound. It is important to know what type of soil your have, whether it is clay, sand, loam etc. You get the picture. Each soil type will have a different water and nutrient holding capacity. Dave especially recommends a PH test and be sure to take the soil sample around the 2 inch mark so you have an accurate reading around the root zone of your lawn.
Generally in the Pacific Northwest, we get a lot of rainfall which tends to leach the nutrients and often results in a low PH or Acidic soil. Optimal PH for lawn is around 6.5-7.0 (which is slightly acidic to neutral). If your lawn is either too acidic or too alkaline, it isn’t able to take up the nutrients as well…kind of like putting a kink in a straw when you are trying to drink. Once you know what you are dealing with here are Dave’s steps:
- Apply Dolopril Lime - (optional if your PH is optimum…yes, I AM a bit jealous).
- Wait, yes, wait for 2-3 weeks. When dealing with lawns, patience is key to avoid compaction, stress (for you and the lawn) and wasting your money by applying fertilizer/moss killer etc. before your lawn can absorb it!
- Apply a good quality, slow release starter fertilizer. We are really proud of our Triple 17+Iron and the Scotts products are pretty good too.
- Wait at least 1 week.
- Apply Moss Control – (optional if you don’t have moss…probably the same guy that has the perfect PH!). Read the label on the moss control, the optimum temperature is above 10 degrees Celsius and for most products you need it to be dry for 2 days after application!
- Aerate / Topdress / Overseed. You don’t have to do this every year if your lawn is satisfactory but if you do wish to do it, it is more effective when the ground is well drained and the night time temperatures are warmer.
- Notice Dave didn’t say dethatch. If you have thatch, see Step 6. Aerating, topdressing is far more effective at breaking through the thatch layer. Though dethatching looks dramatic, your friendly neighbourhood aerator is your best bet for your money.
- Second application of a good quality, slow release fertilizer in late spring, early summer.
- Weed control – either manual treatment, there are some great back saving tools out there or spot application if desired. Notice we didn’t say weed and feed, weed and feed doesn’t do a particularly good job of either. (FYI Weed & Feed is no longer available in our market.)
- Apply a good quality slow release Fall fertilizer, one that has a low nitrogen number and no you cannot use spring fertilizer for this step. This is one of Dave’s favorite things even if you only get to it every second year, it really gives your lawn a strong boost when the air temp is cooler but the ground is still warm and the grass roots are growing.
This should help to clarify some of the steps and timing intervals that may have mystified you in the past…they certainly mystified me! If you have more questions about your lawn or about when to start fresh, come in and see Dave, if he’s not up to his eyebrows in mud or using his secret Ninja tractor repair skills (and especially if he IS up to his eyebrows in mud) he would be glad to answer your questions!