Back to School means Back to work on the lawn

Just because the kids are going back to school soon, doesn’t mean the summer is over, at least not for your lawn and trees.  In fact, we are just embarking on the best growing weather you can ask for when it comes to your lawn.

After a tough summer of heat and drought stress, fighting the difficult battle against weed grasses (like bentgrass, annual and rough bluegrass, crabgrass  and the like), fertilizing just to keep the grass you do have and watering just to keep the lawn alive,  THIS is when your hard work starts to pay off!

The nutrients are in place, the weed grasses and broadleaf weeds have been weakened.  Now it’s time to continue with your proper care regimen of frequent mowing and deep watering, over-seeding, as well as repairing and renovating weaker areas in your lawn.

After all, grass grows actively until the ground freezes which can be as late as December in Southern Ontario!  That’s right, the top growth might slow down by early November, but the roots will keep growing and building up reserves to fight back with a vengeance next spring!

Here’s a quick recap of what to focus on:

1. Mow frequently- every 5 or 6 days, often enough to make sure you never remove more than 1/3 of the blade. If you don’t have many weeds and are mowing often enough, you can leave the clippings on the lawn- which makes this job even easier.

2. Mow high- 3″ is the ideal height for Kentucky bluegrass and perennial rye-grass if you want to crowd out the weeds and undesirable weed grasses.  Don’t work against your selves, these grasses were meant to be this height, you can’t change it!

3. Water deeply- proper watering through the late summer months is essential.

4. Fight the weed seeds!- Bag your lawn clippings if the weeds are in seed (flowering), this prevents working against yourself.

5. Rip out the Crabgrass- Crabgrass is an annual plant, so it doesn’t even matter if you get the root system out.  It’s going to die after the first frost. The goal here is to remove the seed heads that can put out 100’s of seeds per plant that will grow back next year, if you let them have their way!   Don’t let the seeds stay- rip them out too!

6. OVERSEED – anytime through the late summer and early fall is a great time to seed bare spots or areas that contain weed grasses.  Be sure to vigorously rake to rip out what you can of the old stuff, loosen up the top inch or 2 of soil, spread the seed, step on it and keep it moist!

7. The goal here is to get your lawn back into shape so you can return to the #1 position on this list, and in the neighbourhood hierarchy of lawn heroes!

PS.  Don’t forget your trees, After a long hot and dry summer, Your trees are thirsty and can use a nice deep watering using LawnSavers slow drip method.  You may also want to consider deep root feeding them this fall!