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Your lawn: Go for green in 2013

Keeping your lawn hydrated will help it look its best (courtesy: Tanja Kerr)
Keeping your lawn hydrated will help it look its best (courtesy: Tanja Kerr)

Gary Archibald, Weather Broadcaster, The Weather Network

March 7, 2013 — Spring into action Ė start planning for that immaculate lawn now.

Don't let weeds own your lawn
Don't let weeds own your lawn

Iím going to have to get my act together this season as well.

If only I could have my front yard as pristine as my neighbour's across the street. I often see him mowing his lawn and putting down fertilizer during the spring months. By summer, not a blade of grass is out of place. It's perfect: green as the Jolly Green Giant himself.

Meanwhile, I have grass envy Ė- with patchy weeds.

Some places look promising, but they don't come close to a "perfect" lawn -- not by a long shot.

So back to the basics I went. I did some research online Ė seeking out reputable sources, making some notes and putting an action plan together that I would like to share with you now.†

Keep in mind this is just a launching point. Use any and all resources available to you.

Letís start with mowing your grass. According to experts at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food, mowing your lawn to the correct height during the growing season is of vital importance.†

Your aim is to maximize turf density with healthy, deeply-rooted grass. †Try to keep the blade height as high as possible, with no more than about a third of the grass blade being removed at one time. Taller grass (between 6 and 8 cm) looks great and helps to choke out the weeds, and it won't give the chance for broadleaf invaders like clover to claim a vast stake of your lawn (I hate clover).

Dandelions are an obvious pest, too.

Grow thick, lush, uniform, tall grass -- donít let the weeds own your lawn.

Through trial and error, I've learned itís important not to cut too low. Grass thatís too low is starved for nutrients and water and can dry out easily.

Take a close look at a "perfect" lawn, with permission, of course. You'll see tall, uniformly-cut grass that is healthy and dense. The blades will be dark green, they'll stand erect, they'll possess a shine, and if you squeeze a healthy blade of grass it will stain, a sign of good moisture content. Thatís what you want Ė grass stains. It's a sure sign of a healthy cut.

Take your lawn seriously in all respects (courtesy: Frederick Brown)
Take your lawn seriously in all respects (courtesy: Frederick Brown)

And don't forget to mulch it! That's natural lawn food!

It's your own "green" fertilizer, filled with natural goodness. As an added bonus, it saves you the time and effort of raking leaves.

Your lawn isn't the only thing that has to be green.

You can also go "green" with your mowing apparatus.

There are fuel efficient gas mowers, electric stand-alones and push-reel manual mowers. Choose one that suits your budget, but also one that will do the job for your square footage efficiently.

Remember, that like all appliances, there are inherent dangers that can lead to serious injury or even death if not used properly. Safety must come always.

Now on to fertilizers and weed-killers, which are sold across the board at garden shops and big box stores.†

Fertilizer feeds your grass, which is like any other plant really -- it needs its vitamins.

At its core, most spring grass fertilizers provide a healthy dose, provided that itís applied correctly. Consult your local professional garden expert about any substance used to treat your yard. You must know what it will do, over what period of time, as well as the hazards and possible precautions you may have to take with respect to your health, the environment, pets, etc.

Some turf food and enhancers are more kid and pet-friendly than others.

But whatever you use, all pesticides and weed killers should be used according to the manufacturer.

Get expert advice and read all of your product material if you are going to treat your lawn yourself, or hire an expert.

The key is knowing what you want to achieve and creating an intelligent, efficient, and safe methodology.

Take your lawn seriously in all respects.

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