May Lawn Care Maintenance

Since Ontarians are so sick of winter by the time April rolls around, we tend to get over-excited when we can finally get outside and prepare our lawns and gardens for spring. We can over-do it too early, however. Here are some tips for May lawn care maintenance.

Lawn Disease
A damp ground can be a breeding ground for different types of lawn diseases. Before they rear their ugly heads, there are a couple of things you can do to help your lawn. Help your lawn to dry out by taking a rake to break up dead grass which may have been matted down and not yet biodegraded. After the lawn has dried up a bit, give your lawn a boost with a light fertilization. Don’t do too much, as a full application is best don’t in June, after your soil has been tested.

Lawn Mowing
Even though in April your grass may look like it’s growing, it could just be the weeds getting a head start. You need to give your lawn enough time to awake from its dormancy period before giving the grass a cut. The best time to do this is in May. Also, don’t be tempted to cut your grass too short, thinking you’re giving your lawn a chance to breathe. You should only be cutting off the top one-third of the grass blade with each cutting. Too short, and you’re giving weeds the opportunity to grow, drying out the soil too much and leaving room for insect infestation.

There are different insects that like to terrorize Ontario lawns throughout the year, but the most common in May are leatherjackets (European Crane Fly), or grubs from Japanese Beetles or European Chafer Beetle.
Leatherjackets are the larvae of the European Crane Fly. You have probably noticed these large mosquito-resembling insects clinging to the outside walls of your home, or hanging off your screen doors. They lay their eggs in the moist soil of our lawns at the beginning of spring and the leatherjackets feed off the grass, chewing the blades down to the ground. Keeping the ground irrigated will force the leatherjackets to move to hard surfaces, making them targets for birds or drying out in the sun.

Grubs will do damage to your lawn from underneath as they feed on the grass roots leaving your lawn patchy and spongey. They also attract skunks and racoons looking for a meal and they will dig up your lawn looking for them. Use nematodes to kill off the grubs before the damage becomes too great. Lots of water will kill them as well.

Having an irrigation system installed to give your lawn the proper amount of water – 2.5 cm per week, helps keep your lawn from going dormant during the summer, but also helps keep weeds and insects at bay. With an in-ground watering system, the timer does all the work for you so you don’t even have to think about whether your lawn is getting too much or too little water.