Lawn Care Calendar
We’ve been experiencing a bit of drought here in Steinbach—although the last few days of continuous rain may have us feeling like less of one—and our lawns are bearing the brunt of it! A lot of folks have been asking how best to keep their lawns from drying out. The truth, in short, is that proper lawn care throughout the year is the key to drought-proofing. This lawn maintenance calendar can help you improve the quality of your lawn next year. Luckily, even if you’ve skipped overseeding this spring, you can still reverse lawn damage by starting today.
Spring Lawn Care
Your lawn maintenance schedule in the spring is much more demanding than what you can expect for the rest of the year. However, if you move fast with spring care, your lawn will be much easier to manage for the rest of the year.
Clear Debris – Rake out the lawn to clear branches, thatch, and leftover leaves from the year before.
Aerate the Lawn – Soils in Steinbach, like other areas of Manitoba, tend to be clay-based, which leads to compaction. Aeration is important for reintroducing oxygen into the soil ecosystem and allowing fertilizers and grass roots to penetrate deep into the soil.
Apply First Application of Fertilizer – Apply a good, quality timed-release fertilizer in early to mid-May. We recommend ProScape 33-0-11 or, if you’re looking for an organic alternative, Evolve has a great one! Use a rotary spreader for even, quick application. Apply fertilizer on a dry lawn and then water immediately to dissolve the formula into the roots.
Topdress – Adding fresh, new, compost-enriched soil over the aerated area supplements the compacted clay with soil that is easier for grass seeds to establish in.
Overseed – Hand seed or use a rotary spreader to apply fresh grass seed to replace dead grass from the year before. Water deeply after planting.
Irrigate – Water grass daily until the grass seed has germinated and grown a few inches. Then slowly space out waterings further apart to encourage grass roots to grow deeper into the soil.
Manage Pet Damage – If your pets relieve themselves on your lawn in the wintertime, you’ll likely notice some brown, dead areas. Repair these areas by de-thatching, aerating the area, and applying some Evolve Dog Patch Repair, which does an amazing job at reversing damage quickly and effectively. Then, topdress the area with fresh soil enriched with compost and overseed with new grass seed. Allow the new grass to establish before mowing.
Summer Lawn Care
In the summer, most of your lawn care time will be spent keeping the grass at the right height. Meanwhile, these additional tasks will also keep your lawn looking its best.
Apply Second Application of Fertilizer – Use a rotary spreader to apply the second application within the first two weeks of July.
Mow High – Cut grass to about 4 inches in height in the summer to help with water retention. This also helps prevent weed growth, as less sunlight hits the soil surface, therefore impeding the germination of weed seeds.
Water Deeply – Water your lawn early in the morning as needed. It’s a much better idea to water your lawn generously, but infrequently, as opposed to frequent light watering. This is especially important during times of drought.
Fall Lawn Care
In the fall, lawn care is about preparing the area for winter and the following spring. You’ll thank yourself in May!
Rake Well – Remove fallen leaves and thatch regularly to prevent breeding grounds for pests and diseases.
Cut Lawn Before the Snow – A final mow should be done toward the end of the season. This prevents you from needing to remove a layer of heavy, dead grass from the yard after the melt.
Apply a Fall Application of Fertilizer – A lawn that lasts even the coldest Manitoba winters has excellent roots, and a fall application of fertilizer is a great way to promote root development that will transform your lawn into an overwintering pro!
Overseed – Overseeding your lawn in fall allows the spring melt and change in temperature to germinate the seeds early on in the spring. You do not have to overseed in both spring and fall, but you should overseed at least once per year. If you choose to overseed in fall, try to time it just before a snowfall so you don’t need to water the lawn.
Lawn Maintenance Through the Year
These best practices will keep your lawn looking enviable all year:
Weed Control – The weeds we have in Steinbach are relentless, so a strong weed control plan is always a good thing to have. Check your lawn for weeds daily and hand-pull them so you can remove them before the roots grow too deep. If you must use a chemical herbicide, apply it only to very stubborn weeds and follow the package directions precisely. If your lawn has a serious weed problem, you can apply corn gluten to the lawn early in the spring to suppress weed seeds from germinating. However, this will also suppress the germination of your grass seed if applied in the same time frame. Wait 60 days after spreading corn gluten before topdressing and overseeding with grass seed.
Mowing – Mowing too often can stress out your lawn. Leave a height of 2.5-3 inches in spring and fall, and around 4 inches in summer. Wipe down your mower blades with an oily rag after every use to keep the blades sharp. Sharp mower blades are an easy way to prevent lawn damage and disease.
Lawn care is a big task, but as the saying goes, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ Timed right, a little water and elbow grease can keep your lawn looking green, healthy, and beautiful.