2021 GTA Turfgrass Year in review

2021 was quite a year!
For those of us who work in the trades or service industry, as life started to get back to normal for most people, the labour market shrunk dramatically, and finding skilled labour has become increasingly difficult.  But we continued to work hard to service our clients.
The growing season began early for turfgrass growth in the GTA with an early snow melt and some welcome warmer weather.
Unfortunately this presented some additional challenges as the surface water quickly drained from the soil, with little to no meaningful precipitation experienced until the end of June.
Normally we dont think of watering through April and May, because we’re used to the old proverb “April Showers bring May Flowers”.  But if you didn’t water, your lawn suffered this summer.

Did you know? Weather records show this as the longest drought for March through mid-June in over 51 years!

What does this mean?  When grass roots are actively growing to support plant growth through the hotter drier months, it needs water.  And without supplemental watering, by the time the hot weather hits, BOOM, there isn’t enough resources established in the plant to support growth coupled with inadequate root systems, so it either dies or goes dormant- which means it turns yellow or brown.  And this is when chinch bugs, disease and even worse, weeds take hold and flourish in the weak turf.
And as we learn every year, cool-season grass types found in lawns in Ontario (they are made up of “cool-season” grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass)  cannot grow in high temperatures (anything over 28 deg. C) and suffer in long durations without rainfall or ample watering.  (you can see this info on the weather charts- 2021 GTA Actual weather data
Then we get the additional challenges due to the excessive heat and drought stress.

  1. Lawns that were not watered frequently or deeply enough before AND during these periods did not have deep enough roots to survive hot soil temperatures near the surface.
  2. Lawns that were mowed too short (below 2.75″- 3″) dried out quickly and were damaged by heat and sun burning the fragile crowns of the turfgrass plants.
  3. Lawns that were mowed during high heat on dormant and stressed grass blades suffered additional damage.
  4. The variable weather from freezing temperatures in early Spring to periods of high heat prevents the turfgrass roots from having time to acclimatize and develop protective reserves to harden off and transition.
  5. The extreme variability of weather between hot, cold, and warm caused uncontrollable fungal issues like Ascochyta Blight that further damages the lawn. With the unfortunate result being that lawns finally succumbed to the extreme stress.

Just like good human health involving a proper nutritious diet, regular exercise, drinking enough water (and good genetics), LawnSavers always stresses that Maintaining the health of your lawn is a partnership and a 3 part process:

1/3 LawnSavers Services, Analysis and Advice.
1/3 The Weather
1/3 YOUR Contribution to Good Maintenance Habits!

Seasons like this underline the importance of being on the right program year to year and partnering with professionals to build a stronger and more resilient lawn from the ground up that has a better chance at surviving these extreme weather fluctuations we experience in Ontario.
The good news is, October into early November brought ideal growing conditions with warm enough temperatures for grass to flourish and thicken as long as you kept your mowing up! (and the leaves fell extra late, preventing growing issues from leaf cover left on the lawn too long). Our technicians and clients reported impressive thickening occurring during this ideal growth period

Call us today and let one of our Customer Success Advisors work with you to develop a plan to rehabilitate and get your lawn back in shape for 2022.