The beautiful beach weather has arrived in Ontario, and we couldn’t be more pleased. We’ve had great weather for the Canadian long weekends, and the kids are outside playing rather than running up and down the stairs.
There is only one downfall to this weather, and it's our grass. By now much of our lawns exposed to the sun for any portion of the day is brown and crusty, and it's far from pleasing. So let's talk about a few ways to manage this.
Tip #1 - Watering the Lawn
Our cool season grasses are not the most ideal for planting, but the reason we use them is to have something suitable for entertaining on while still durable enough to survive the "torture" and Ontario winters. With that in mind, our grass wants to stay moist and to do that we have to water them.
Following our municipal by-law, we should water the lawn once a week. Water deep to ensure we've put a decent amount to soak the root zone. We want to put approximately 1 inch of water on the lawn. Measure this by placing a cup 10-15 feet away from the nozzle of the sprinkler. Once it reaches the desired amount for our yard, we've watered it for the week.
Tip #2 - Cutting or Mowing
Although water is a critical element to the health of our lawn, the most controllable physical control (yes, we're getting technical here) is how we mow the lawn.
First, let's check our lawn mower blade(s) to make sure they are still sharp. If we find that the blades of grass are shredded, not cut straight or have brown tips, then we want to sharpen our blade(s). Our blades should be as sharp as a butter knife. Any sharper and we run the risk of denting or chipping the blade(s). Not to say we can't have them sharper, but let's leave that to the professionals! Doing so ensures that the lawn isn't susceptible to disease and keeps its focus on fighting the heat rather than fighting disease in addition to the temperature.
Secondly, we need to adjust the cutting height of our mower. Most consumer push mowers do this by little handles on the front and back wheels. They don't usually have markers on them that indicate the height so we may have to use a special trick.
If they do have marked measurements, we want to adjust it to cut the lawn at 4 inches in height. If they don't, we should mow the lawn for 5-10 feet. Take a measuring tape and measure how high the grass is from the bottom of the stem (where it meets the soil). Rinse and repeat until the grass blades measure 4 inches.
Doing so ensures that the plant is large enough to develop and store glucose (sugars, nutrients) to survive, adds extra fluff to keep the top layer of soil and roots cool and help prevents weeds from taking over the weaker areas of our lawn by suffocating them from any sunlight.
Lastly, only cut the parts of the yard that have grown. Although we may not know this by eye, we can take a measuring tape to the lawn until we've got the hang of it. Usually, these parts will be green and taller than the rest. When we avoid cutting the brown and crusty, we prevent further stresses to the lawn. It's already struggling enough, why would we stress it more!?
Now there is a whole lot more to turf management, but if you nail these tips this summer, you'll be well on your way to keeping your yard in decent shape.
If you've decided to take back your free time to enjoy the summer, contact our team at Soares Landscaping to maintain your lawn for you!