If your lawn looks like a war zone this spring (or fall) with dead patches, and torn up grass then it’s likely you have grubs. May (and late Aug through October) is the time to topdress, overseed and treat for grubs. Spring is an excellent time to over seed your lawn with cooler temperatures and moist soil.
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Eco Friendly Lawn Seed
For the last number of years there has been a movement towards more eco friendly lawn seed mixtures. Fescues are a workhorse of a lawn seed that do well in both shade and sun. Fescues typically require less fertilizer, growing a deeper root system that makes them far more drought tolerant than bluegrass and because of their extensive root system they can withstand some grub damage.
White clover is another eco friendly lawn alternative gaining popularity as it is completely drought and grub resistant. It requires no fertilizer and can be cut down short in the heat of summer and still survive.
Prepare Your Lawn
When over seeding your lawn, the mistake many homeowners make is to cast out the seed over top of the existing lawn. Properly preparing your lawn is essential, this includes raking up any dead grass and top dressing with a good weed free topsoil or triple mix. This does not include the $1 bags of black earth from the box stores. Black earth has no nutrients and once it dries out resembles crumbly cement making it hard for seed to germinate. If you make the proper investment in your lawn it will honestly save you time and money in the future. Lawn seed should be scattered on top of the fresh soil and kept well watered until it begins to germinate. Germination is usually 5- 10 days for ryegrass, 10- 14 days for fescue mixes and 25 days for bluegrass. This, of course, is directly related to moisture, temperature and proper preparation. Grass seed will not germinate until the ground temperature is usually around 11-15C
If your lawn has been ravaged by grubs then remember that they have 2 lifecycles Spring and Fall The eggs that were laid in your lawn from fall will have already hatched or will be hatching soon and feeding on the roots of your lawn. Nematodes when properly applied are a very effective method of controlling grubs. Usually two applications one in fall and one in the spring can break the cycle of grubs. Nematodes should always be from a Canadian strain and ‘live host’ raised to ensure that they are effective. Independent Garden Centres usually carry these types of nematodes. The optimal time to apply nematodes in our area depends on the weather but generally mid May and mid September.
Lawn care is more challenging than ever for today’s homeowner. The extreme drought paired with ineffective weed killers and a surge in grub damage has left many gardeners completely frustrated. If you are looking for additional information on getting rid of grubs - you'll enjoy our FAQ's post on How to Get Rid of Lawn Killing Grubs | Nematodes.
You can have a beautiful lawn but being proactive is half the battle. Take the time to top dress your lawn every season with a good top quality topsoil and seed. Thick lawns leave no space for weed seed to blow in and germinate. When watering make sure it is always done with a sprinkler never a hose end sprayer for at least 20 minutes per area especially through times of drought.
Lawn care specialists are available at most independent garden centres and can help you be successful with your lawn. Remember a beautiful lawn doesn’t happen by itself!