Spring Lawn Care (ft. Nematodes)

Caring for your lawn can be a lot of work, and there are a few things to know when doing so. There are different procedures to follow during the coming seasons. In this week’s article, we will be discussing what steps you can take to care of your lawn this spring! 

Spring: Mid March – Mid June

Finding the Right Lawn Seed

Some grass thrives in cooler temperatures, while others tolerate warmer seasons. Typically grass comes in different mixtures, which creates a stronger and thicker lawn that will allow it to tolerate a wide range of growing conditions as well as protect it from pest damage. Here are the main grass mixtures used for lawns in Canada (also available here at Vermeer’s):

  • Premium Plus:
    • 40% Kentucky Bluegrass
    • 40% Creeping Red Fescue
    • 20% Turf Type Perennial Ryegrass

Premium Plus lawn mixture is also suited for any soil type with Perennial Ryegrass.

  • Sun & Shade
    • 40% Kentucky Bluegrass
    • 25% Creeping Red Fescue
    • 20% Turf  Type Perennial Ryegrass
    • 10% Chewing Fescue
    • 5% Poa

Sun & Shade lawn mixture works in shady areas or in full sun. It performs well on any soil type.

  • Estate LS (Lateral Spread)
    • 50% Kentucky Bluegrass
    • 20% Creeping Red Fescue
    • 30% Sienna LS Perennial Ryegrass

Estate lawn has a dark green colour. This mixture is specially designed for loam to clay soils. 

  • Deluxe Overseed LS
    • 20% Kentucky Bluegrass
    • 20% Creeping Red Fescue
    • 30% Sienna LS Perennial Ryegrass
    • 30% Insight LS Perennial Ryegrass

A good solid mixture for overseeding on most soil types with endophyte enhanced Ryegrass.

  • Hardilawn LS
    • 70% Titanium LS Tall Fescue
    • 15% Insight LS Perennial Ryegrass
    • 15% Sienna LS Perennial Ryegrass

An environmentally friendly mix with endophyte ingredients for sandy soil.

  • Super Shade
    • 30% Creeping Red Fescue
    • 20% Chewing Fescue 
    • 20% Poa Trivialis
    • 30% Turf Type Perennial Ryegrass

Super Shade lawn mixture is great for heavily shaded lawns or homes built in the bush.

Individual Grass Seed Description

  • Kentucky Bluegrass:
    • Prefers rich, fertile soil, well drained with a lot of sun. The underground roots spread to fill in thin areas to provide a thick lawn. Kentucky Bluegrass goes dormant in hot, dry weather but it will recover when rain and cooler temperatures return. It can take up to 28 days for Kentucky Bluegrass to germinate under ideal conditions.
  • Creeping Red Fescue:
    • A fine leafed grass that is drought tolerant, low maintenance, and withstands the shade. Extremely winter hardy. Under ideal conditions it can take 20 days to germinate. 
  • Chewing Fescue:
    • A fine leafed fescue that likes shady areas and low fertility soils. Chewing Fescue is aggressive and resistant to many diseases. 
  • Tall Fescue:
    • Tall Fescue has a slightly wider blade than other fescues. Tall Fescue tolerates heat and drought exceptionally well because of its deep root system.
  • Poa Trivialis:
    • A fine leafed grass that likes damp soils and withstands shade. Used mostly in shade mixtures.
  • Turf Type Perennial Ryegrass:
    • A fine leafed companion grass that works well in any mixture. It is great for overseeding because of its quick germination. Many varieties are endophyte enhanced that show some resistance to leaf feeding insects. 

Fertilizing Your Lawn

Early spring grass isn’t the prettiest sight, and can be hard to put up with. After a long winter, the first thing we want to do is get outside and start working on it. It will take some patience to wake up your hibernating lawn. Fertilizing your lawn (when done correctly) can offer support after a long cold winter. Spring fertilizing is important in the year round cycle of lawn care, but it is imperative not to fertilize too early. Root systems will begin to develop and establish earlier on in the season. Leftover fertilizer that was applied during the fall prior will still release nutrients into the soil in the spring. When the time comes to fertilize, we recommend using a 20-5-10 fertilizer mix. If you fertilize too early you may run the risk of burning vulnerable grass.

Watering Tips

When it comes to watering your lawn, there are several things to consider. Here are some tips to keep your lawn thriving, while also saving money and water:

  • Water before 10am  to avoid evaporation during the day (avoid watering at night to avoid mildew and fungi)
  • Water your lawn with about 1 inch of water per week.  Measure water from rain or sprinklers with a cup or can to determine how much water to manually apply
  • Increase your watering schedule during hot periods.
  • Allow 1 inch of the soil to dry between watering
  • Frequent mowing is preferable to severe cuts when the grass has grown too high. If you let the grass grow too high, then cut it back by half or more, you shock the plant down to its roots. The growth of the roots is slowed and plant growth is halted until the leaves can recover.
  • Allow water to absorb periodically if lawn is sloped
  • Grass at the base of trees will require more water

If you are stuck in a watering ban, you may allow your lawn to enter a dormant state. This will cause your lawn to turn brown, but the growing points of the grass will remain alive for at least 4 to 6 weeks without water.

 

Beneficial Nematodes 

Nematodes are a great way to combat lawns grubs while they also support the ecosystem and protect your garden. Nematodes seek out and kill lawn grubs such as: 

  • Beneficial Cutworm
  • Onion Maggot
  • Japanese Beetle

Nematodes are perfectly safe and 100% natural and would do no harm to people or pets. Nematodes are most effective when they are applied during their prey’s larval stage. The best time of day to apply them would be at dusk or when it is rainy and wet outside, since the nematodes are susceptible to dehydration when it is sunny or dry. You should always water the area before and after you apply the nematodes.

Nematodes can be treated in early spring and in early fall.

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