You’ve already started planning out how many barbecues you’re going to have this year and all of the new memories you are going to create in your yard.
There’s only one problem. No matter your efforts, you may look over the fence to your neighbours yard and see that the grass is always greener on the other side. If this is you, we’re here to help! Become the envy of your neighbours this year with these great tips on how to make the grass greener on your side of the fence.
Based on the inconsistent Alberta climate, most lawns are a mixture of 2-3 different types of grass with the most common being the winter-hardy, wear tolerant Kentucky Bluegrass and the shade tolerant, drought resistant Red Fescue. Having a mixture of different grasses allows for a lush, green lawn in a volatile climate when maintained properly.
Lawn care can be broken down into three simple steps: watering, fertilizing and mowing. These are likely not new concepts to anyone with a lawn; but it’s not about the steps, it’s about how you do them. For grass, it is possible to have too much of a good thing as over watering, over fertilizing and over cutting can actually do much more harm than good.
Everyone knows that watering their lawn is essential for growth. However, it may surprise you to learn that in Alberta, less can often be more for your lawn. Experts recommend that it is actually best to water your lawn less often, but for longer periods of time. The best practice for watering is to water your lawn only once a week, but allow for 1-2 inches of water. This much water not only keeps your lawn hydrated, but it also helps develop deeper roots and an overall more resilient lawn. If it has been a rainy week, consider holding off on watering. Your grass has likely had enough water and you will save on your water bill!
Timing is the key to getting the most out of watering your lawn. It is best to water in the morning before it gets too hot outside. If you wait too long, most of the water will be lost to evaporation before it can sink into your lawn and help it grow.
Like any other plant, your lawn won’t grow unless you feed it. For a healthy lawn that will grow thick, use an organic fertilizer. By using an organic product, you are not adding any sort of chemicals to your lawn which will help strengthen your roots, prevent invasive weeds and keep your yard safe for pets or kids to run wild!
In the late spring and summer, make sure to use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Nitrogen promotes fast growth and helps give your lawn that deep green colour. You should fertilize your lawn once in the early spring (April/May), once in the late spring (May/June), once in the summer (July/August), and once in the fall before it snows (September/October).
Another additional fertilizing strategy is to re-use your grass clippings. This is a form of compost that acts as a natural fertilizer for your lawn. If you mow frequently clipping short lengths off the top, you won’t even notice an aesthetic difference!
Now that you have a great watering and fertilizing strategy in place, your grass is ready to grow! Once it gets too long, you still need to cut it and if you want a thick green lawn, there is right and a wrong way to do it. The first thing you need to do is make sure you have a sharp blade. A dull mower blade will actually rip your grass which will harm its growth and even cause it to turn brown.
Once your mower is ready, it’s time for a trim! In Alberta, it is best to never cut your grass shorter than 2 inches, with 2-½ to 3 inches being the ideal length. By keeping your lawn slightly longer, the grass blades are able to hold onto more moisture for longer. This also keeps the ground protected from drying out so your roots can continue to grow deeper.
Growing greener grass is not a complicated process. In fact, you’re likely already doing most of the work! To find more success in creating a greener, thicker lawn, you might simply have to adjust the way you care for it. With these helpful tips, your neighbours are sure to be green with envy when they see your thick, lush, healthy lawn!