Most grubs have an annual life cycle so it is important to be on guard against them. There is no way to tell if you will develop a problem with lawn grubs from year to year since it is a matter of where the adult decides to lay her eggs. If grubs have been a problem on your lawn in the past, chances are that you should take a proactive approach. The only form of grub control which is allowed by Health Canada and the Ministry of the Environment at this time is beneficial nematodes. All forms of synthetic chemical grub control are banned for sale and use in Ontario. Unlike synthetic forms of grub control that could be applied at any stage of the grubs life cycle, nematodes need to be applied as a preventive when the grubs have just hatched. The grubs skin needs to be soft so the nematodes can penetrate the skin to kill them. The best time to apply white grub control is mid-august to mid-October depending on weather. Other species of grubs are treated at different times. For optimum control, a spring and late summer treatment is recommended. Since the Niagara region has several grub species, it is important to constantly monitor the lawn, properly identify the pest and treat at the most effective time.
It is not possible to treat surface insects until they are present so it is important to keep a watchful eye on your lawn. A lawn that is watered on a regular basis should stay green. If your lawn starts to show discoloured areas in spite of enough water, chances are that you have an insect problem. If over the course of 3 days, you have watered a section of concern and you do not see any recovery, you need to have the lawn assessed. Never allow more than 3 days to pass without addressing the problem, if you don’t address it, you could potentially lose all or part of your lawn in 3 to 4 weeks.
We offer overseeding is an important way to naturally thicken a lawn, and in doing so will help to minimize weed and crabgrass growth. We recommend that aeration be done with over seeding. We use a deluxe patented blend which is quick to germinate and is insect, disease and drought resistant. Quick germination means not having to wait as long to establish a lawn. With proper cultural practices, we have seen our seed germinate in less than 1 week.
This is an image of a lawn that we seeded with our special blend.
We use gluten meal liquid for control of crabgrass. Crabgrass germinates in early spring so this product must go down early as it interferes with root development of crabgrass. The product should be used consistently every year for best results. The efficacy rate improves each year about 10% if it is used annually. Aeration with gluten meal will give best results. Crabgrass is a thick bladed grass which usually becomes visible in early July but can be seen as early as May if spring comes early. As it grows out from its centre, crabgrass stays flat to the ground; it resembles a crab (thus crabgrass). It begins to choke out the desirable grasses under it. It is an annual grass, meaning it grows from seeds every year. When crabgrass dies off around October, it leaves dead areas which normally need to be repaired in the fall or following spring. Each crabgrass plant can have over 1 million seeds on it which means more crabgrass in following years. Crabgrass usually inhabits weak or bare areas, or areas where there is heat retention such as along driveways, curbs, roadways and walkways. Keeping the lawn thick and healthy and using crabgrass control every year is the best way to prevent crabgrass.
This image shows a lot of crabgrass coming up in an area where damage had occurred from the homeowner applying a non selective product for weeds. The result was that they killed off complete areas of their lawn and they created a whole new problem.
Thatch is a layer of dead and living plant parts that build up on the surface of the soil creating a carpet-like layer that restrict water, nutrients and air circulation from getting to the root zone.
Sod is forced to grow at the sod farm and the process usually causes thatch to exist in new sod when it is purchased and laid. Once sod has been established, we recommend having the lawn aerated to help strengthen the lawn and break through the thatch and allow the roots to go deeper and get a firm hold. If the thatch layer is too thick, a dethatching may be required to make the lawn more manageable. Dethatching consists of using a dethatcher or power raker to lift thatch out of the lawn. The lawn is then raked of the debris and put into brown paper bags which are left at your curbside for organics pick-up. Sometimes it may take a few seasons to remove most of the thatch depending on the lawns condition.
If long grass clippings are allowed to remain on the lawn after it is cut, the buildup of dead plant matter creates thatch. When thatch minimizes the amount of nutrients and water that can penetrate to the root system, your lawn will become unhealthy. As the deeper roots start to move upwards looking for water, they also die and increase the depth of the thatch level. This needs to be removed.
Another reason to dethatch would be in the case where there has been extensive damage from insects, grubs or winterkill. Dethatching or power raking will help prepare the lawn for needed repairs.
Ultra lawn recommends aeration every season as a proactive approach to a healthy lawn. Aeration is a beneficial service for several reasons. It is the process of removing plugs or cores of soil from the lawn with a machine called a core aerator. Removing the soil cores helps to reduce compaction and allows for air circulation. Combined with proper watering and fertilizer, it will help to encourage root development. The cores would remain on the lawn and break down over time with rain and watering, no need to remove them from the lawn.
Aeration helps to break through thick thatch layers (thatch is a layer of living and dead plant matter that sits above the surface of the soil) when a dethatch or power raking is not enough. Sometimes aeration and dethatching are both necessary for a few seasons until the lawn can be better managed.
Aeration is sometimes necessary after a harsh winter when there is a lot of winterkill or snow mould from snow sitting on the lawn for long periods of time. The aeration helps to rejuvenate the lawn at a faster rate.
Aeration is beneficial when done just before an over seeding. A lot of the seed that gets deposited in the holes will germinate very quickly and will have a deeper established root system.
Fiesta weed control is the only registered product which is approved for use on weeds in Ontario. Fiesta is a liquid iron product that works on contact so weeds have got to be present and come into contact with the product in order to be absorbed. The weeds die quite quickly with fiesta. Since fiesta is not a preventive weed control, lawns will experience more growth throughout the season and for this reason, we apply weed control as a season long control “in our programs” without charging extra. Fiesta was designed for broadleaf weeds such as plantain and dandelions but we have manipulated the product so we can manage most other weeds.
Watering is a necessary part of maintaining a healthy lawn. Lawns that are properly irrigated are thicker and get less weeds and crabgrass than lawns that have been neglected and become weak. Watering helps in reducing the chances of developing a surface insect problem such as chinch bugs. Deep waterings are best compared to a shallow watering. We suggest 3 to 4 hours per area each week or 1 inch of water per area each week for best results. Morning is the best time to water to prevent losing moisture to evaporation during hot weather and it also allows the lawn to dry out during the day to reduce chances of developing fungus. Soil type will dictate the amount of watering. Clay soil usually needs 1 heavy watering each week whereas sandy soil which is more porous requires more frequent waterings. Call Ultra Lawn if you require more information.
Fertilizer is an important part of maintaining a healthy lawn. Fertilizing along with proper cultural practices help to thicken the lawn which chokes out weeds and weed grasses such as crabgrass.A well balanced quality fertilizer should be used throughout the season.
The frequency at which you cut your lawn does matter. Lawns should be cut on a regular basis, normally once each week during the summer. In the spring and fall when the grass grows at a faster pace due to a lot of rain, cutting may be required on a more frequent basis (every 4 or 5 days). We recommend leaving the grass at an average of 3 inches when it has been cut, however, different grass species will need to be assessed and adjustments made to the recommendation for best results. Cutting in different directions is recommended as it helps the grass plant to grow straighter. Make sure that your lawn mower blade is kept sharp. If the blades are dull it shreds the grass plant and leaves a discolouration to the overall look of the lawn. Sometimes this leads to disease on the lawn. It is a good idea not to allow the grass to become long before cutting it for the following reasons. If it is too long it has a tendency to lean over or become flattened which hurts the grass underneath of it. If you leave long clippings on the lawn, they won’t decompose which will contribute to a thatch problem. We recommend mulching your lawn but again this must be done frequently so the clippings break down. It is suggested that no more than 1/3 of the plant be removed with each cutting.