Our last checklist got you thinking about all the things we’ll need to do to get our lawns and gardens all fixed up for the spring. Now that the ground has dried out and we can walk around our yards here is everything we’ll need to do to get this season going beautifully. Please make note that some of the items on this list are time sensitive. Getting the timing right as everything starts to grow for another season is crucial in having the best looking property on the street.
____ 1. Dethatch Your Lawn
You’re probably noticed your grass is matted down in the spring from being squished by snow all winter. This is easy to remedy with a power rake or a dethatching machine. Long gone are the days of backbreaking work with a dethatching rake. Use one of these machines to lift up your turf and pull out all the dead yellow grass (thatch). Once you’ve passed this machine over your lawn, go over it again with a wide span rake to collect the loosened thatch. This task is BEST completed right after you aerate your lawn because the dethatching process will break up the soil plugs pulled out by the aeration machine.
____ 2. Rake or Power Blow Fallen Leaves
Rake up or use a motorized blower to remove any leaves from the lawn. Leaves left on the lawn can rot and sometimes poison the soil. Maples have chemicals that inhibit growth of other plants. Get them off the lawn now so it will receive the light and air it needs to grow.
____ 3. Turn on Hoses
Hopefully you turned off and drained your hoses in late fall to prevent water freezing inside the lines. When water freezes it expands and can and cause damage to watering systems and pipes. If your lines weren’t drained, now is the time to turn on your hoses and check carefully for splits and cracks, replacing and repairing as needed so they are ready to use in summer.
____ 4. Clean Out Eavestroughs
If you haven’t cleaned them out since last year, now is a good time to clean all the debris from your eavestroughs. This will ensure that the spring runoff will flow nicely down your downspouts. If you didn’t get to this in the fall, keep an eye out for water dripping over the edges of your eavestroughs this spring as it may indicate they are blocked. Clean these out as soon as possible to avoid water running down your foundation walls – if left unchecked for too long it could cause structural damage to your home.
____ 5. Till Flower Bed Soil
If you didn’t do this last month it’s not too late. After being compressed by snow all winter it’s a good idea to turn over the top few inches of soil or mulch in your flower beds. This is hand tilling – a process of incorporating the top layer of soil deeper and bringing the lower layers to the surface. Respect the valuable structure of your soil and do not till deeper than the top few inches. You don’t want to disturb your soil strata. This will improve the nutrient delivery to your plants as well as moisture absorption.
____ 6. Apply Gypsum
Gypsum, lime or baking soda are all good options to neutralize spots of especially high nitrogen levels caused by your dog. Another and sometimes argued more effective solution is to water the spot heavily to leach out the nitrogen. Increasing fertilization of these spots can also help to mask the problem by helping the grass grow greener.
____ 7. Fix Salt Damaged Areas
It is best to aerate salt damaged areas. Apply gypsum or lime to fix the ph levels of the soil and then water heavily in the morning to flush out the salt.
____ 8. Apply Corn Gluten Meal to keep crabgrass at bay
We recommend applying corn gluten meal three times per year in Kanata and Stittsville. Corn gluten meal stops those crabgrass seeds from growing (as well as any other seeds including grass seed) from germinating and helps keep your lawn weed free. Crabgrass dies off every winter, but not before laying it’s seeds for the next season. These seeds will germinate in the spring once the soil temperatures average more than 10 degrees C. Weed scientists use 10 degrees C at a half inch soil depth as the best time to apply corn gluten meal and a pre-emergence herbicide. So once the snow has all melted – and as long as you haven’t overseeded – you should be ready to put down some corn gluten meal in April. The next application would be mid May for dandelion control with a third in June for those summer weeds. It’s also a great idea to do a fourth application in the late fall to help get a jump-start on the next spring.
____ 9. Reseed dead spots and overseed thin spots with better seed
Choose appropriate seed for your dead spots and thin spots. Keep in mind whether a dead spot is due to high traffic or maybe because of heavy shading. Keep in mind that perennial rye and fescue grasses are much better at surviving salt damage than Kentucky bluegrass.
____ 10. Sharpen Mower Blades
Sharp mower blades make all the difference to a healthy lawn. Look at the tips of the blades of grass after you’ve mowed and see if they look frayed and yellow.this indicates blunt mower blades. Frilly, frayed edges are open sores for diseases to enter. They also require the grass plant to use energy to repair itself. This is energy that would be better used to grow deep roots and thick green sprouts. You can improve the look of your lawn instantly by having a clean cut, and also improve its health over time.e by having a clean cut Help your lawn out by sharpening your mower blades. You’ll see the difference in the overall health of your lawn.
____ 11. Edging
If you didn’t get to this last month it’s not too late and it’ll have your property looking sharp all summer. The freezing and thawing of the winter and the spring runoff erodes your vertically edged lawns and gardens. Better get out the stick edger or hand edger and chop all the way around your sidewalks, driveways and gardens to get that clean looking vertical edge back again.
Have a tip for us? Is there something we’re forgetting? Please comment below and we’ll add your ideas into our checklists!