A lush lawn can withstand drought conditions better and has less weeds and other problems. The five keys to a lush lawn are choosing the right groundcover or grass, aerating, proper mowing and watering, and overseeding.
- Plant the right grass or groundcover. Yes, it matters what grass type you choose. Soil, sun, local climate and intended use all affect what you should plant for your lawn. When starting a new lawn you’ll want to consider these things and choose a grass or groundcover that best meets your needs and wants. Kentucky blue grass, perennial rye and fine fescues suit Guelph’s climate well. A blend of grass types is commonly used. You can also consider alternative ground covers, such as shrubs, vines, and native plants, especially for shaded, dry or difficult areas.
- Never mow more than one third of grass height Cutting off too much grass at once, or mowing it too low, weakens your grass. Set your lawn mower height to 7.5 cm (3 in) and mow when the overall lawn height reaches 11 cm (4.5 in). This will encourage deep, healthy roots. Keep your mower blade sharp too; dull blades tear and stress grass, increasing the chance of disease. Leave mown grass and mulched leaves on the lawn—they are free and excellent fertilizers.
- Don’t overwater. Your lawn probably needs less water than you think. Overwatering can cause disease and increase pests. If it hasn’t rained in the last week, give your lawn about 2.5cm (1 inch) of water. This is all it needs once a week. Be sure to follow the watering rules of the City’s Outside Water Use program Get more watering tips on the Lawn tab of our watering tips page.
- Aerate, then overseed and feed your lawn each fall. Soil gets compacted over time. Aerating helps water, air and nutrients get to your lawn’s roots, breaks up thatch, and helps prevent weeds and pests. After you aerate, thicken your lawn by overseeding. Keep seeds and seedlings moist but not overly wet until they are established. After overseeding, feed your lawn with a light sprinkling of fertilizer. Use organic fertilizers such as bone and blood meal, fish emulsions or seaweed, or use compost which will also improve soil quality.
- Protect your helpers. Your lawn’s soil is home to many living things. Protect beneficial insects and earthworms by reducing your use of insecticides and fungicides.
Prevention is the best approach for managing weeds and pests. By following these easy lawn care basics, you will improve the health and look of your of the lawn and end up with less weed and pest problems.