As the weather gets warmer and the sun begins shining again after a long winter, there are many reasons for Canadians to want a green lawn. It is hard to beat walking barefoot across a healthy, green yard or throwing down a blanket under a tree for a spring picnic.
Having a healthy, green lawn isn’t just about your front yard looking spectacular, an average sized suburban Canadian lawn produces enough oxygen to support a family of four. A well-kept lawn provides cooling effects for hot summers which are why kids love to play on lawns. If you dream of creating that perfect, deep green lawn I have good news for you. It is easier and less costly than you might think!
Here is my recipe for a great looking lawn:
1. Rake your lawn lightly in the spring to remove loose winter debris. Place the fallen leaves and duff material into your compost.
2a. If your lawn is thick and healthy, fertilize with a quality lawn food that contains iron and slow release nitrogen. Repeat applications in late spring and mid fall.
2b. If your lawn is showing signs of snow mould, dog burn ‘spots’, or thin patches of grass, it’s time for Lawn Recovery. Golfgreen Iron Plus 4-in-1 Lawn Recovery is applied through your lawn fertilizer spreader. It contains iron, fertilizer and features pelletized compost (the same stuff that you put out at the end of your driveway last fall, only reconstituted) and grass seed. After you spread it, the dry compost swells on contact with moisture (either rain or water that you apply) and provides a medium for the grass seed to germinate and grow. The fertilizer sustains the newly germinated grass plants for about 3 weeks, at which time you should apply a slow release lawn fertilizer.
3. Cut your lawn 6 to 8 cm [2 ½ to 3 inches] which is high to encourage deep feeding roots. Use a mulching mower to return the nitrogen-rich goodness of the cut grass blades back to the root zone of your lawn.
4. Where weeds are a problem either dig them out using a long handled Easy Weeder or remove them by:
a. Raking the area that is dominated by weeds
b. Spread Lawn Soil over the area about 3 to 4 cm. and rake smooth with a fan/leaf rake
c. Broadcast quality Golfgreen lawn seed over the area either by hand or using a small, hand-held broadcast spreader at the rate of about one kg per 100 sq. meters [one pound per 400 sq ft].
d. Rake the seed and soil together, about two centimetres below the surface of the soil.
e. Wearing flat soled shoes walk on the seed/soil combo or use a lawn roller half filled with water to firm the seed and soil together.
f. Water thoroughly and keep moderately wet until germination has occurred [grass is visible above the surface of the soil]. Keep your new lawn damp at the root zone until well established, which usually takes 2 to 3 months.
Understanding your lawn fertilizer
To achieve your green lawn, it is important that you work with the correct, quality formula. A three number analysis is required by law on all fertilizer packages in Canada. The three numbers represent the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous and potash that the product contains, by weight. These are the three most ‘in demand’ elements in the soil that are used by plants to function.
What do they do?
Nitrogen: Provides fast growth and green colour. It is a mistake to simply look for the highest percentage of nitrogen in a bag of lawn fertilizer as a slow release ingredient works much more effectively. Golfgreen Iron Plus [formula: 18-0-8] contains slow release SCU [sulphur coated urea] which releases nitrogen when your lawn needs it most: when temperatures rise, rain falls and microbial activity in the soil picks up. Look for the yellow prills in the bag, which is evidence of sulphur coated urea.
Phosphorous: Feeds the roots and flowering functions of a plant. Most lawn fertilizers in Canada do not include phosphorous due to environmental concerns.
Potash: Potash is an enabler that helps to facilitate the uptake of nitrogen. It strengthens grass blades and gives your lawn endurance through drought and excessively wet periods.
In addition to the three basic elements, Golfgreen Iron Plus, includes a boost of 1% chelated iron. In my experience, it works like magic to produce a visibly greener lawn within 72 hours when you water it in, or your money back! Just as iron helps to make our blood darker, it also helps to darken the green colour of your lawn. Chelated iron is a special form that is taken up by grass plants quickly and efficiently
Using this simple recipe is sure to produce the green, healthy lawn you are looking for. For more information on this topic, look for Mark Cullen’s new best seller, The New Canadian Garden in stores now.