Have you looked over at your neighbour’s lawn and thought “Why is their grass so much greener and thicker”? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Most of us want that beautiful, thick, green lawn and it isn’t as hard as you think to achieve it.
We all know that vegetables and trees require water and nutrients to survive and thrive. Grass is no different. Today I want to focus on the fertilizer and weed control. Look back at the mowing height blog and watering habits (coming at a later time).
Let’s start with weed control. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, how much weed control you put down, you need to come to terms with the fact that weeds will appear in your lawn at some point. What we are trying to do is limit how many weeds do emerge early in Spring so we can thicken up the lawn to choke them out. Since the provincial ban on pesticides has come into effect, there are very few pesticides allowed for use. Fiesta is one of those approved and in use by most companies. It is an iron based liquid and is applied directly to the weeds and not broadcast over the entire lawn. It is safe for pets and children which will give you peace of mind. While Fiesta is effective, for best results applying multiple times is required to ensure weeds are knocked out. Combining this with a good fertilizer program will help eliminate most weeds.
Now let’s discuss fertilizer. Just like people, lawns need energy. This is where fertilizers come in. There are many types of fertilizers and we are all familiar with the 3 numbers on the bag or bottle. We know these numbers are important but what do they mean?
Let’s start with the first number. This represents Nitrogen (N). Nitrogen is associated with growth. This will make your grass grow taller, thicker and greener. Generally, we choose a higher Nitrogen number in Spring and Summer but want it to be lower in Fall as we want the grass to stop growing before winter. The second number is Phosphorous (P). Phosphorous is generally associated with blooming. In grasses, we normally do not choose a fertilizer with any Phosphorous in it. The exception is when we are seeding to help promote root growth. The final number represents Potassium (K). Potassium is linked to disease resistance, cold tolerance and also aids in root development. Just as we choose a high Nitrogen number in Spring and Fall, we like to choose a higher Potassium number in Fall. This will help your lawn prepare for winter. So now we know what the numbers are but what are the actual numbers? These are percentages of each ingredient in the bag or bottle. A fertilizer that is 30-0-10 has 30% Nitrogen, 0% Phosphorous and 10% Potassium. (A great fertilizer for Spring and Summer by the way!) Wait a minute that only adds up to 40%? What the…
Don’t worry the rest of the bag is filled with a filler. In this case 60%. Filler can be a combination of other nutrients and/or products to help your lawn take up the nutrients better and more efficiently. Finally, fertilizers come in a quick release format or a slow release. Slow release has now become the normal procedure. These fertilizers are applied at longer intervals as the nutrients are released slowly and evenly over a long period of time. This helps give your lawn the nutrients and food it requires in small doses. Quick release fertilizers release almost all the nutrients at once. These fertilizers must be watered in to prevent burning your lawn. By feeding your lawn regularly, you are creating a thick, lush lawn. This lawn will increase its root growth as well. By increasing root growth, there is less room for weeds to develop.
Oakridge offers different types of fertilizer and weed control programs to meet your needs. Our goal is to provide you with that picturesque, lush, green lawn that will make your neighbours envious and they will be the ones asking the question.
Call us for a free estimate today!
The snow has melted, the weather is starting to warm up and we are getting excited because we can get outside and start working on our lawn again. We go outside and as we walk on to the lawn we see our grass has these round white and yellow patches everywhere. What is that?! Oh no! It’s SNOW MOLD!!! Ewwwwww! Don’t fret. I am here to tell you it isn’t as big a deal as you might think. There are some practices to help tackle this issue right now and to make it better in the future.
What is Snow Mold? Snow Mold is a common fungal disease that affects most types of grasses. The 2 most common types are gray snow mold and pink snow mold. They will appear as patchy spots on your grass that is matted down and web-like. The spores will often remain dormant during the season and then become active under a blanket of snow in Spring as the snow is melting. The more snow cover there is, the more chances of snow mold conditions. One of the most common ways to deal with Snow Mold, if you have it, is to rake it out in Spring then follow that up with a Spring Fertilizer to promote new grass growth. If the patches are larger and leave a dead spot on your lawn, you can throw down some soil and seed to help grow in the patch. Now that you have removed the problem, the next steps are to develop a strong lawn that will not be as susceptible to Snow Molds.
The main keys are to:
Water our lawns at least weekly (1 inch a week),
Mow at the proper height (2 ½ inches to 3 inches is perfect),
And fertilize throughout the growing season.
I recommend starting with a Spring fertilizer in May (I like to use a quicker release to promote growth right away). Follow that up with a Summer fertilizer in June (a slow release is great). Another Summer fertilizer again in late July (use the same one as in June) and put down a Fall fertilizer in September. The Fall fertilizer will help to create a strong root system and be more disease tolerant.
Finally, as the season is winding down, begin to lower your mowing height. Just one notch per week sometime in September (depends on the season and temperatures). Do not go lower than 2 inches though. The last step that will help to prevent Snow Molds is to rake up leaves on the grass before the snow flies. If the leaves were left on the grass, they create another layer for moisture to get trapped and this can create an ideal situation for Snow Molds.
There you have it. See? I told you it wasn’t so bad. Just some good lawn practices and you should be able to keep the snow molds to a minimum. With our winters and the amount of snow we can receive, it is hard to never have Snow Molds but we can limit it and deal with it properly in the Spring and Summer.
We offer many services here at Oakridge to help you achieve and maintain a healthy lawn. Call us now to book your Spring Cleanup and Lawn care packages for Fertilizer and Weed Control. We also offer weekly mowing programs.
Call now for your free estimate.
What do the numbers on fertilizers mean and how do they work for your plants?
NPK – Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium
Whether you have Inorganic or Organic fertilizer the 3 sets of numbers give the same nutrients to your plants.
When you have an All Purpose 20-20-20 Inorganic Fertilizer, the first number represents 20% Nitrogen which helps with the top growth of the plant, promotes lush green growth and is a good choice for leafy vegetables. The second number is 20% Phosphorus which helps with the roots of the plant, making them strong and healthy. Phosphorus also helps with blooming and is necessary for fruit and flower development. Blooming plants like tomatoes, peppers and other ornamentals benefit from higher phosphorus especially when they are ready to set buds. The third number is 20% Potassium and is necessary for stem growth and overall plant vigor. Potassium is especially good for root crops such as carrots, potatoes and beets.
Now if you add these percentages together you get 60%, the remaining 40% is salts. This applies to inorganic fertilizer.
For Evolve Organic Fertilizers such as an All Purpose Plant Fertilizer 3-1-2, when you add (NPK) together you get 6%, the remaining 94% is made up of best compost available.
Oakridge carries a wide variety of fertilizers….Organic, Inorganic, liquid, water soluble, dry granular and spikes.
Dry granular fertilizer is great to use in your flower or vegetable garden or among your trees and shrubs . It releases nutrients over a long period of time. In general you want to apply this fertilizer at least once, in mid spring, and possibly two or three more times over the course of the late spring and summer depending on the weather and what the recommendations on the packaging says.
Tree and Shrub Spikes are another way to fertilize. Pushing these spikes into the ground around the drip line of your trees will allow the nutrients to release slowly throughout the season. You may apply these in mid spring then again in mid summer and the instructions on the package will tell you how many spikes to use per tree and how often to reapply.
Liquid or Water Soluble fertilizer is an instant feed. If your flowers, trees, shrubs or vegetable gardens appear to be stressed and are in need of nutrients, these fertilizers may be your best option. Follow the package directions for mixing instructions. It is very important not to mix stronger than it calls for. You will need to apply liquid plant food several times over the course of the growing season, once a week or every 2 weeks is optimal.
Evolve Rage Plus 0-4-0, is an organic fertilizer that can be used throughout the whole growing season. Whether your plant is trying to produce leaves, flower or fruit or develop bigger stronger roots, this fertilizer is the fuel your plant needs! It works really well on plants that are suffering or on plants that look good but you just want to give them a boost. This fertilizer increases the metabolism of your plant by 100 times and will work on all stages of your plant. It’s great for helping plants that have had a hard time throughout our cold, windy winters. A good example are cedars that are brown in the spring. Rage Plus will help your plants in the fall to store up sugars in the root zone for winter survival. It is great for indoor and outdoor plants as well!
Just a snipped about fertilizers, feel free to come and talk to Theresa about fertilizers, it’s her specialty!
Spring has sprung and your yard looks the same as it did before frost. Surely there are many of you out there that are wondering,”How do I get my yard to look like the neighbours?”Preparation will be a key component to moving forward with this. Doing your homework ahead of time can greatly ease the mind when you will want to put shovel to the ground.
Planning ahead with things of importance to you such as decks, gardens, sheds, playstructures etcetera, will make your vision clearer as you realize how much space these items can take up in your space.
Getting a list of favourite trees, perennials and shrubs as must haves would be the next item up on the list. Get yourself a catalogue with pictures and references as to how big everything can become, and you will soon see ideas forming in your mind as to how everything will start to fit into your landscape.
Landscape consultations and designs would be one of your final steps in achieving the yard of your dreams. You can get a simple design which would be called a consultation. This would be where a landscape architect would come to your yard and get your wishlists from you, and from this, do a basic sketch of your yard with flower beds and all buildings and structures. Keep in mind this is very basic and for just a little more you can get a full landscape design. This would include everything from the basic consultation plus accurate measurements and a to scale drawing where you would see on paper what your yard would look like from a top view. Doing this is great for many reasons. You will get a copy of this plan to find out if you want to do it all in one step and be done. Plant listings can also be available and you can look back to remember what you all have planted everywhere. Another bonus would be if you were to do just some parts of it, you would always have this reference later to remind you exactly where you would continue for your next step.
Call us today to set up your landscape design from Oakridge!
Ahhhh. Spring is in the air. Ok ok. Ignore the recent snow we have been getting. Trust me. Spring will happen and happen fast.
For most of us, Spring is a time of new things. The air is fresher, we have more sunlight and it is a time to start cleaning up. I’m here to tell you that after you open the windows and clean the walls and floor, it is time to take that cleaning attitude outside to your yard.
Every year, your lawn will accumulate a dead layer of grass and organisms. This layer is called thatch. Typically, you want thatch but only to a certain thickness. This is generally ¼ inch to ½ inch. A good rule for me has always been that if it feels like your lawn feels spongy and like a trampoline, you have too much thatch. The best possible way to remove this thatch is with Power raking. Power raking allows for water and fertilizers to penetrate to the roots, giving you a thicker healthier lawn.
Another good spring yard cleanup chore to do is lawn aeration. Over the course of the year our lawns can become very compacted. A compacted lawn does not allow for air and moisture to move through the soil properly. Core aeration will physically remove a core plug of soil from your lawn and deposit it on top of your lawn. This relieves the compaction in the soil and allows for all those essential water and nutrients to penetrate into the soil. “So what about those ugly core plugs left on my lawn?” is what most of you are asking. Just leave them where they are. They will decompose over a few days to a week at the most and will also bring some great nutrients back into the soil. Just leave them where they are.
Oakridge offers full yard maintenance services including Spring Cleanup and Core Aeration. Check out our services page or call us at (204)326-1015 if you are interested in a free quote. Now dust off those rakes and get that mower ready for the season. Or call me, Mike, and I’ll do it for you!