Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The key to perfect lawn lies in maintenance. It is completely possible to have a lawn as beautiful as a golf course, provided you have unlimited time and energy to maintain it. For most of us that is impossible, so the important thing is to stick to the basics. My personal regimen is as follows:

1) Spring Aeration/Rolling. Rent one of the machines that leaves the little "plugs" on your lawn. This doesn't need to be a yearly task. I try to alternate between Aeration one year and Rolling the next.

2) Spring Over-seeding
3) Spring Fertilizer

I find it doesn't really matter the order here, but unless you are using a fertilizer specially blended for newly seeded lawns leave at least 4 weeks between step 1 and 2.

4) Don't cut it too short, especially in the spring. Longer grass promotes good root growth.
5) Try to spend at least 15-30 minutes of "manual" maintenance (pulling larger weeds) once per week. Realistically you should spend the majority of your time tending perennial gardens but I find it important to at least do some minor cosmetic work on the lawn each week.

6) Fall Over-seeding. I do this in September, before it gets too cold.
7) Fall Fertilizer

I never water unless I have just over-seeded. I water daily for 1 week after seeding. Other then that I never water my lawn. It doesn't need it. If it is dry a healthy lawn goes into hibernation. Is my lawn always a beautiful dark green? No... but it still looks OK because it is weed free, neatly trimmed, and healthy. This probably wouldn't work if I lived in a warmer & dryer climate but it works fine in South Western Ontario.

Once a year I use a pre & post emergent weed pesticide. I find this is enough to control Dandelions, Crabgrass and Creeping charlie, the "Big-3" in the world of lawn weeds. It won't eliminate them completely but it will keep them minimal.

I don't use anything fancy, usually just Scott's Turf Builder with Weed Control. The Province of Ontario just made lawn pesticides illegal this year so now you are stuck with nothing but Corn Gluten based weed control products. It works to an extent but only on pre-emergent weeds (the corn gluten prevents the seeds from germinating). If the weeds are already established your only choice is getting down on your hands and knees and pulling the bastards out by hand. Or driving across the border into Michigan but I would never do that.

Now one thing you don't do if you want a beautiful lawn... shoot your neighbour.