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2014 Lawns & Dandelions

Lawns and Dandelions by Roy Josephy , Richbar Golf and Gardens

‘Tis the season that fresh green lawns tend to disappear and are overtaken by dandelions. Dandelions are a spring flowering perennial that is most visible this time of the year, as the season progresses they tend to become less prominent. In the past, people were led to believe that the best thing to do for lawns was to apply copious amounts of weed and feed. Weed and feed pesticide and fertilizer combinations have been banned from the Canadian market for several years now but people still ask for it. Here are a few tips that I hope will help to provide you with a lawn that is pleasing and yet environmentally friendly.

The best weed control is a healthy lawn. De-thatch and apply a good slow release fertilizer in the spring. We recommend 25-4-10, our house blend. Research has shown that a little bit of iron in lawn fertilizers cuts nitrogen requirements significantly, slow release fertilizers provide a longer lasting more even feed.

If your lawn suffers from compaction common in clay soil, aerate at least once a year, this will encourage deeper roots. When watering your grass water deeply and infrequently to encourage deeper roots. Set your mower a little higher, the shorter the grass the more stress and the less likely to compete with weeds. Allow yourself to live with a few weeds and only apply herbicides when absolutely necessary: remember the flowering time is relatively short.

If you must kill those weeds instantly, wait for warm weather and active leaf growth. Liquid herbicides, such as Killex , are still available to the home gardener. Be very careful with any lawn weed chemical around flower beds and deciduous trees such as birch, any broad leafed plant may be susceptible to damage. Do not apply lawn herbicides to new lawns that have had fewer than three mowings. New lawns are sensitive to herbicide and once grass becomes established the weeds often disappear on their own.

Properly managed lawns are a net benefit to the environment. They sequester carbon, produce oxygen, absorb run-off and trap air borne particles.

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