It is that time of year again when we all start thinking about our lawns.  In the Spring, we all start out with the best intentions of having the nicest lawn in the neighborhood.  The television advertisements and articles in gardening magazines get us inspired to get out there and make our lawns all they can be.  That becomes especially difficult when we have a Spring season like the one we are having this year.  That being said, the nicer weather will get here eventually and you want to be ready when it does.  I have compiled some tips on improving existing lawns and tips on brand new lawn installations.

Whether you are seeding a new lawn or over seeding an existing lawn, the principles are the same.  The most important step is to make sure the seed makes contact with loose soil that has been enriched with a seed starter fertilizer.  For brand new installations, ensure the area has been worked to ensure a fine seedbed and all foreign material like roots and rocks are removed.  Next, apply a starter fertilizer to help the seed develop faster and grow into a thicker, healthier lawn.  Apply your lawn seed with a spreader.  Spreading by hand is not recommended as it s difficult to achieve even coverage.  A tip to ensure even coverage is to divide your seed into two equal amounts and apply half in one direction and the other half in the opposite direction.  After applying the seed, lightly rake the soil surface to ensure good seed to soil contact.  Be careful not to burry the seed too deep as it may fail to emerge.  A planting depth of 2 millimeters is ideal.  Keep the seeded area moist by frequent, light watering until the seed is established.  Overwatering can affect the germination of grass seed.  Seed germinates best when the soil temperature is above 17 degrees Celsius (62 degrees Fahrenheit).  Once your lawn is established, it is important to remember to feed it regularly with a lawn fertilizer.  Three to four feedings per year is recommended to keep your lawn healthy.  A good healthy thick lawn not only looks great, but it also aids in weed and insect control.

If you are over seeding an existing lawn, make sure you give the lawn a good vigorous raking in order to remove any thatch and loosen the soil that the seed will come into contact with.  Follow the same steps listed above for fertilizing and seeding.  Be sure to use an over seeding mixture of grass seed.  This should be comprised of a mixture of annual and perennial rye grass.  Once the seed and fertilizer have been applied, top dress the lawn with black loam.  Again, try to avoid applying the soil too thick.  This will stop the grass from emerging and could damage the existing lawn.  Follow up by raking areas where this may have occurred.  Again, the steps for watering and feeding mentioned earlier should be followed.

Finally, you have the option of sodding your lawn.  This method is more expensive, but you get instant lawn when you are done.  Again, you need to prepare the area where you will lay the sod.  The same starter fertilizer is applied before you lay the sod.  It is important to get the sod laid as soon as possible after purchase.  Leaving sod rolled up is extremely harmful to the grass, especially in the center of the roll.  If you have to store the sod for a length of time, it is recommended that you unroll it to prevent these types of problems.  Once the sod is laid, water immediately and water often until the sod is established.  To fill in the seams between rolls that may be exposed, follow up with grass seed in these areas.  Again, feed your new sod on a regular basis, especially during the first year.

For further tips or advice, stop in and talk to one of our lawn experts in the garden centre.

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