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Lawn Mower

Lawn Care FAQ

 

What “Spring & Fall” means for grass seed in Newfoundland and Labrador:

 

Most guides talk about spring and fall. Anyone having lived in NL knows our weather patterns don’t always correlate with the calendar. So this leaves the question, what does spring and fall actually mean?

 

Spring is the time of the year the soil temperature warms up. Soil temperature does vary from air temperature. In NL our soil doesn’t tend to reach the temperature for grass seed germination until the middle of June.

 

In the past couple of years we have been getting hot and dry in July but September has been nice. This means many lawn care practices such as aerating and dethatching should be done around the end of August to mid-September.

When aerating, overseeding should be done to help combat weeds.

Needs to be done early enough to allow the existing grass roots to have strengthening time and for the new seed to get more established.

Fall fertilizer can be applied at this time too. Applying to early or to late can lead to weeds, less strong grass or wasted money. September is usually a safe time to do fall work.

October can be hit or miss depending on the year.

Many years November and December are told cold for successful grass establishment. 

 

See specific sections below for more information. 

 

Seed:

 

Different types of grasses and different varieties do better in different growing conditions . We only carry seeds that do well in our climate. 

 

The majority of our lawn seeds are sold in mixtures. Using a mixture helps protect against harmful bugs and different grasses will take in the different microclimates in your yard (full sun, partial shade etc.). We recommended Atlantic Green for most lawns and Shady Mix for underneath trees or other high shade locations. We also sell 100% Kentucky Bluegrass for those wanting a full bluegrass lawn or to add only more bluegrass to existing lawns. For erosion control we have Highway Mix, Clover or a Timothy/Clover blend (Triple Mix). We sell white clover in the bulk bin for those who want to add clover to their lawn. White clover is low growing, helps add nitrogen to lawns. 

Many grasses will go dormant, which means brown, if we have a hot and dry summer. Once temperature falls and moisture returns the grass will come back. 

Growing Grass

 

Having a thick lush lawn takes a bit of prep work and care over the season. 

General Grass Growing Consideration:

 

Watering:

 New lawns, which are areas that have been cleared and reseeded or have new sods require daily watering. The soil needs to be kept moist for seeds to sprout and young grasses to grow.

Using irrigation tools like soaker hoses that can be hooked up to your regular hose and allow water to slowly release over the reseeded area. This limits water pooling and allows water to get to the roots easier.

Sprinklers and other tools are more beneficial for infrequent deep watering's. 

Consider using greywater for some of your watering needs during water conservation times.

 Once the grass is established, gradually reduce the frequency but water deeply to encourage deep root growth.

Water early in the morning to minimize evaporation and reduce the risk of diseases.

Established grass should be watered deeply once a week during drier times. Watering deeply less frequently is better for established grass stands. Frequency may change depending on weather conditions and soil or land characteristics. 

Soil Preparation:

Test your soil to determine its pH and nutrient levels. This will help you choose the right soil amendments.​

LIME IS ESSENTIAL IN NL. 

Our soil is acidic and requires amendments to bring it to the 6.0-7.0 pH range which is the optimal range for grass.

If soil upkeep on the property has been done, soil may be neutral or close to it but requires yearly maintenance to keep it that way. 

Home test kits can give an idea of how acidic your soil is.

Professional testing can also be done by the province's soil lab on Brookfield Road.

Test pH before adding any organic material, lime or fertilizer for best results.

 

Choose the Right Grass:

Grass varieties need to be selected that do well in your climate, soil type, and lawn use. We only carry varieties that do well in NL. 

Seeding or Sodding: Decide whether to seed or sod your lawn. Seeding is more cost-effective but takes longer to establish, while sod provides an instant lawn but is more expensive.

Follow recommended seeding rates and methods. Keep the soil consistently moist until the grass is well-established.

 

Fertilizing:

Use a balanced fertilizer with the appropriate nutrient ratios for you grass and soil. See Fertilizer for more in-depth information on fertilizing.

Follow a schedule for fertilizing based on your grass type and local recommendations. Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can lead to excessive growth and thatch buildup. Nitrogen runoff is money washing away and also causes damage to local aquatic ecosystems. If testing early in the spring for liming nitrogen may show low as it is a process versus a nutrient that builds in the soil. Once the soil microbes are awake the tests are more accurate, this would be around the same time as we can start grass seeds in NL so mid-late June. 

Mowing:

Regular mowing encourages a dense and healthy lawn. Follow the one-third rule: never remove more than one-third of the grass height in a single mowing.

Adjust the mower height based on the grass type and the season. Taller grass generally develops deeper roots and is more resistant to pests and diseases.

Keep mower blades sharp. 

Weed Control:

Keep an eye out for weeds and address them promptly. Use herbicides or manual removal, depending on the extent of the weed problem.

Maintaining a healthy lawn reduces the ability for many weeds to establish.

Aeration:

Aerate the lawn once a year to improve soil compaction and allow better water and nutrient penetration. Aeration is also helpful to reduce Moss . 

The best time to aerate in many areas in Canada is late in the summer.

Soil should be moist but not overly wet when you aerate.

Avoid aerating during times of stress, which is when the soils is water logged or overly dry conditions.

It’s recommended to overseed at this time to improve the grass density. 

 

Dethatching:

If thatch (a layer of dead grass and roots) builds up, dethatch the lawn using a rake or specialized equipment.

Similar considerations to aeration, soil cannot be soaking nor can it be overly dry.   

Pest and Disease Management:

Keep an eye out for signs of pests or diseases. Treat any issues promptly to prevent wide spread damage.

Seasonal Care:

Adjust your lawn care routine based on the seasons. Apply the right fertilizers at the right time, aerate and dethatch your lawn at appropriate times and overseed to help maintain grass thickness.  

Frost Seeding:

See: https://www.ontario.ca/page/frost-seeding

Most successful with legumes like Clover. Grass tends to stay on top of the soil and does not germinate early enough, unlike clover which is dense enough to get into the soil and germinates earlier.

Frost seeding is most beneficial in early spring when ground is in a freeze and thaw cycle to incorporate the seed into the ground.

We do not have enough snow cover or solid cold weather to frost seed in the fall or December, especially on the island portion.

Early germination in a warm spell risks death of the young grass when cold weather returns so choosing the right time is very important.  

Moss

The key fact to remember about moss is that it is opportunistic, not invasive. It grows where grass cannot.

Getting rid of moss depends on the location where it's growing and the extent of the problem.

Here are some general information on why moss grows and how to fix it:

Sunlight:

Moss thrives in shaded and damp areas. Regular grass mixes will not thrive in these areas, WE DO however have a mix that will.

Our Shady Mix has grasses and varieties selected that will do well under trees, in areas shaded by buildings, decks or other features for too much of the day. 

Other options to help include: increase sunlight exposure to the affected area by trimming overhanging branches or removing obstacles that block sunlight.

Depending on location a garden feature, for example mulch or rocks may be most appropriate.

 

Aeration:

 Moss often grows in compacted, poorly-draining soil.

Aerating the soil can help by allowing water to drain more effectively.

The best time to aerate in many areas in Canada is late in the summer.

Soil should be moist but not overly wet when you aerate.

Avoid aerating during times of stress, which is when the soils is water logged or overly dry conditions.

It’s recommended to overseed at this time to improve the grass density. 

 

Moss tends to grow in acidic soil:

In Newfoundland the soils are usually acidic.

If soil upkeep on the property has been done, soil may be neutral or close to it.

Test pH before adding any organic material, lime or fertilizer for best results.

Home test kits can give an idea of how acidic or alkaline your soil is.

Professional testing can also be done by the province's soil lab on Brookfield Road.

Adding lime can help raise the pH and make the soil less conducive to moss growth, it does not remove the moss that is there however.

Remove Excess Moisture:

Address any issues causing excess moisture in the area. This could include fixing leaky gutters, improving drainage, or adjusting irrigation practices.

Established lawns prefer infrequent deep watering instead of daily shallow watering. New lawns, which are areas that have been cleared and reseeded or have new sods require daily watering.

Consider using greywater during water conservation times to meet some of your watering needs.

Using irrigation tools like soaker hoses that can be hooked up to your regular hose and allow water to slowly release over reseeded area. This limits water pooling and allows water to get to the roots easier. Sprinklers and other tools are more beneficial for infrequent deep watering's.

Soil or land improvements may need to be done. Some soils and areas have poor drainage. Any areas that hold water or pool water in spring time especially may need to be addressed before grass will grow.  

Physical Removal:

For small areas, manually remove the moss by raking it away.

Our 20-0-0 with Moss Aid is good for larger areas. It burns up the moss and makes it easy to rake out.

If the underlying issue is not addressed however and lawn care upkeep not maintained, moss will return.

Re-seed or Re-sod:

After removing the moss, consider re-seeding or re-sodding the area. This will help establish healthy grass that can outcompete moss.

Preventive Measures:

Once you've removed the moss, take steps in this section and Growing Grass to prevent its return.

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