Hooray the summer season is upon us in Vancouver and the time for lawn care is upon us! Coming out of one of the most dreary winters in recent memory, I think we can all agree it’s now time we start focusing on our gardens so we can soak up all the beauty that urban landscapes bring in BC.
Many, if not most homeowners have lawns on their property. If you are determined to keep it looking healthy, then here is our simple 7 step guide of lawn care tips and best practices to help you through the growing season.
Prepare your lawn with core aeration followed up with a lime application after the last frost is gone. Typically, in Metro Vancouver this will be mid to late February.
Aerating and liming is an important step in getting your lawn to look lush, healthy, and green.
What is core aeration?
It involves perforating the soil either mechanically (by machine for larger lawn areas) or physically (by hand aerator for small areas not easily accessed by machine). This activity results in ‘plugs’ of soil being removed from the lawn which are then left on the surface to dissolve and filter back into the ground.
The holes allow the surrounding soil to shift, thereby alleviating compaction. This better allows water, air and nutrients to reach the root zone of your lawn so that it can grow more vigorously and better fend off pests such as the European Chafer.
Lime is also applied at this time to adjust the pH of the soil to a more favourable balance for the grass since we live in an inherently acidic climate on the West Coast.
In early spring you will want to inspect your lawn for moss.
Moss can accumulate to high levels in most lawns but grows particularly well in poorly draining and shaded areas. While moss on its own won’t kill your lawn, it does fill in the gaps where the turf is not strong and will prevent the turf from growing properly. It is also an indicator that you may have other problems, such as low fertility, low pH, poor drainage, excessive watering, or compacted soil.
To combat moss in your lawns, we recommend applying a moss control treatment in conjunction with power raking, as just treating the moss and leaving it in place does not allow the lawn to fill back in enough to outcompete the moss in the future.
When in doubt, you can always hire a professional landscape company to help address any lawn issues you have. The BC Landscape & Nursery Association has a directory of landscape companies in your area.
Apply organic based fertilizer to lawns three times a year in May, June and July. We recommend using a slow release product that will help create vibrant green grass over a longer period of time.
You can visit your local garden centre for recommendations on which fertilizer is best suited for your specific lawn needs.
Don’t let weeds take over your lawns!
An application of an organic weed control product that is applied in mid-summer will help kill unwanted weeds in the lawns such as dandelions and black medic. Or good old fashioned hand weeding is also an effective method.
What is a weed?
The definition of a weed is “any plant that is unwanted or out of place in your garden landscape.” Weeds compete with lawns for nutrients in the soil, as well as water and sunlight. In an urban landscape, weeds are considered unsightly to a healthy looking garden.
Weeds are genetically designed to germinate, grow and propagate faster than most grass varieties and they are adept at spreading prolifically if left to seed. Unfortunately, once weeds set root into your lawn they can remain there for a long time. So best practice is to consistently remove weeds throughout the growing season.
The application of organic matter to lawns is also an option in a good lawn care plan. Organic matter will add valuable nutrients to the soil that are important to the health and vitality of grass.
We must not forget that one of the largest and most vital aspects of proper turf maintenance is lawn cutting.
Throughout the spring, summer, and even fall months, you should keep all the lawns on your property looking sharp, full, and pristine. Lawn cutting is an extremely important element of turf maintenance as it truly helps unite all features of your landscape, so using the proper tools and the correct mowing heights will help achieve a healthy lawn you can be proud of!
Water! We are generally blessed in the Lower Mainland with a lot of rainfall, but in addressing the climate crisis, we must do our part to conserve water during the hottest months of the summer.
Metro Vancouver lawn watering restrictions are set in place from May 1 to October 15. It is important to understand the rules of when you can water your lawns during these months.
Want to learn more about the Year of the Garden 2022 and how you can celebrate? Click here for all you need to know!