Lawn care tips
Did you know? During spring and summer, your water use can jump by 50 per cent because of outdoor watering activities. Save money on your water bills while still having a pristine lawn by following these simple tips.
We also invite you to check out these water-saving tools that can help you manage your lawn and garden. You can also find information on what plants save water and grow well in Alberta climate and be Yard-smart.
Tips for watering your lawn
Check the weather forecast
Including rainfall, your lawn needs only 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water over the week to stay healthy. Check out the White ‘n Green lawn and garden forecast at The Weather Network or Environment Canada.
Use your sprinkler only if you have to
Lay a Frisbee upside down within range of your sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill up. That’s how long you should run the sprinkler over the week, if there is no rain. Your soil can only absorb so much water, so it’s best to divide the sprinkler time up into several smaller time periods throughout the week.
Water in the morning
Avoid watering between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., which is usually the hottest time of the day. Use a sprinkler timer set for first thing in the morning. The water won’t evaporate as quickly and you won’t forget to turn off the sprinkler.
Properly aim your sprinkler
To avoid watering your driveway and sidewalk, be sure that your sprinkler is aimed onto your lawn and garden areas.
Tips for mowing your lawn
Keep your grass three inches long
When you mow your lawn, keep the grass at 3 inches (~7.5cm) long. Longer grass shades its own roots from the scorching sun and chokes out those pesky weeds, like dandelions. Longer grass also helps create a healthier, hardier lawn by allowing longer roots to develop and it holds moisture better so you don’t have to water as much.
Leave grass clippings on your lawn
Leave grass clippings on the lawn to increase organic matter, discourage weeds, and retain moisture. Grass-cycling returns nutrients to the soil. These grass clippings provide free fertilizer to help your lawn grow greener. It’s easy to grass-cycle with your mower. Keep the mower blade sharp and mow when the grass is dry. Clippings left on the lawn will break down easily.
Allow air, water and fertilizer to reach the roots. Leave the small round cones of soil that are cut out of the ground. Rake or mow over these pieces to break them up. The micro-organisms in the cores will help to decompress thatch and allow your lawn to absorb more moisture. Learn more about aeration below.
General lawn and garden tips
Consider replacing your grass with low water-use plants and ground covers. You will save water and time because low water-use landscaping requires less maintenance. Learn more about water-wise annuals and perennials, and trees and shrubs.
Group plants and grade beds
Keep plants with similar watering needs together in areas of the garden that best suit their needs. Grading the garden will also help direct water to the plants that have the highest water needs. See what steps you can take to create a healthy and beautiful yard.
Bark, wood chips and stone help reduce evaporation from the soil, inhibit weed growth and minimize loss of soil, which helps provide extra water to your plants. Learn more about using mulch in your yard and garden.
Be Careful with Chemicals
Rainwater carries pesticides and fertilizers off our lawns in to the storm sewers. Since most of White ‘n Green storm water drains into the river untreated, this is one chemical cocktail the river can do without. Learn more about seeding and fertilizing your lawn.
Ask for Advice
When in doubt, feel free to call 311 and they will help you find answers. Also, consider consulting a gardening book or talk to your local garden-centre expert for how-to info on seeding, fertilizer and disease treatment and prevention.
Prepare for Winter
Before the temperature drops, drain your hoses, empty your rain barrel, and store them away to prevent cracking and freezing.
Here’s what a full Spring Yard Clean Up involves along with the benefits of each task:
Leaf/Debris Clean up & Removal
Besides the obvious aesthetic reasons, removing leaves and other smothering debris that winter has left behind allows your yard to breathe again which is the first step to promote growth.
Power Rake (De-thatch)
Power raking (also know as de-thatching) is an important step in the Spring Clean Up process as it removes and controls thatch. Thatch is a build up of organic material, such as dead grass, that sits above the surface of the soil, which, if not removed, will hinder new growth. Removing thatch also increases the effectiveness of fertilization & water absorption, which benefits a successful and healthy growing season.
First Lawn Cut
The first cut not only leaves your lawn looking clean and manicured, but it is also another beneficial step in preparing the grass for the summer months ahead. It will encourage growth and clean up any remains of debris that may have been left on your lawn once the dethatching is complete.
Core Aeration (Optional)
Aerating is highly recommended and should be done at least once a year in the spring. Aerating allows oxygen to the roots, which results in better absorption of water and nutrients, leaving your lawn nourished. Aeration also relieves soil compaction and is a great way to control thatch, both of which prompt a lush green lawn to enjoy all summer long!
Spring Fertilizer (Optional)
If it’s a thick, green, and healthy lawn you’re after, then adding fertilizer this spring is another recommended step to optimize your Spring Clean Up. In Edmonton we use a quality ‘time release’ granular fertilizer with controlled nitrogen release that feeds the lawn gradually over 2 months for a deep green colour. Fertilizing is a perfect compliment to a freshly aerated lawn as it gives it the nutrient boost it needs to kick the grass growth into high gear!
Getting a professional Spring Clean Up is a great start for your landscape with many benefits which will allow you to spend more time enjoying it, and less time maintaining it all summer long. White ‘N Green Inc is here to help give you the jump start your yard needs this spring, making it easier for you to enjoy your outdoor living space as soon as possible!