Protecting Your Grass from Extreme Weather Changes

This passing winter I could barely close my hall closet, not because I had too many cloths, but because I had to keep both my family’s winter and fall jackets out all winter long. Usually once the cool weather comes into the GTA you know it is time to bring out the winter jackets and put away everything else. However this winter (2015-2016) it seemed like the weather couldn’t decide whether it’s going to snow, rain, hail or be hot for longer than a few hours a day, each day.

The extreme daily changes this year not only affected my wardrobe, skin, mood, utility bills (those pesky thermostats) but also my outdoor landscape, especially my grass.  The freezing, chilling, fluctuation between low and high temperatures and salinity are adverse growth conditions that grass must face on a regular basis. These stresses can delay growth and development, reduce productivity, and, in extreme cases, cause grass death. Since even short periods of mild stress can affect your turf quality, what can you do to protect your landscaped grass from Mother Nature’s volatility? How can you reduce the impact of extreme variations in weather conditions and temperatures so your grass remains healthy all-season long?

If you are installing new sod you have to make sure that the process is done properly, that the grass that is being used is region appropriate and that you properly maintain it. You can find more information about these points in our previous posts.

If, however, you are trying to renew your already established grass cutting it is not enough; especially not after the winter we just had (and keep on having).  You can help your grass grow better and go dormant safely, which is equally as important, by following a few simple best practices.

Aeration and Dethatching

You should aerate at least 2 times a season, once in the spring and once in fall. Why? As precipitation falls, soil slowly compresses and forces air and moisture out of the ground; roots suffocate and die back without nourishment. Aeration is the process of removing soil plugs from the lawn to improve pore spacing.  Aeration is best combined with dethatching. Dethatching is the process used to remove the excess thatch (dead grass).Thatch can keep water, air and nutrients from getting to the roots. And if that isn’t enough, lawns with excessive thatch are also more likely to have problems with diseases. The grass variety in our area is best to dethatch in early fall.

Fertilizing and Corn Gluten             

Speaking of nourishment, fertilize!  Give your grass some soul food, about 4 times a season. Fertilizing helps your grass to grow stronger, greener and most importantly denser. The denser your grass the less chances weeds have to multiply and spread.  Since the ban on pesticides came to affect we don’t have many options to kill weeds with and those that are available don’t work. If weeds are an issue Corn Gluten is a weed preventer that will block the spreading of weeds into your lawn.

Lawn Top Dressing and Over Seeding

Finally, you can also lawn top dressing and over seeding. Top dressing and over seeding usually go hand in hand, however we can provide these services separately.  Top Dressing is the process of applying compost, soil, or sand over the surface of your lawn. It adds organic matter to soils can build up the soil flora and change soil structure; it will help reduce lawn diseases and traffic stress on your lawn. As well, help reduce the need for fertilizing and often detach. Over seeding is the process of adding new grass into worn-out or damaged lawn. By doing so we help you rejuvenate existing turf with minimal disturbance to your existing lawn and you only need to add water.

If none of the above helps or after the snow melted you feel like your grass has no fighting chance then we suggest re-sodding your lawn and start fresh.

Dormant Grass

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