7 Tips for End of Winter and Early Spring Lawn Care in Calgary


7 Tips for End of Winter and Early Spring Lawn Care in Calgary

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With the crazy weather we’ve been getting this winter, Summer lawn care may be the furthest thing from your mind. But beautiful, healthy grass requires special attention in all seasons. There are ways that you can prepare your lawn for the cold weather and help it bounce back from the long, harsh winter. The good news is that grass is resilient; with a little assistance – it can be back to its lush, green self in no time. So, what do homeowners need to do in the winter to ensure a great looking lawn in the spring? Here are seven key tips for keeping your grass strong through the cold months and helping it to perk up as soon as the snow melts.

1. Keep the Yard Clear Throughout the Calgary Winter.

As you’re wrapping up yardwork in the Calgary fall, be sure not to leave anything behind. Rake away all the leaves and put away sprinklers, hoses, garden furniture, yard toys and decorations. If something is left on the surface, the grass will get matted down during the winter months. With the added moisture of rain and snow, this can also make the perfect environment for pests and mold to sneak in and damage the turf or kill it.

2. Protect the Lawn During the Last Weeks of Calgary Winter.

Don’t give into late-winter fatigue. It’s important to protect your grass from regular traffic and snow piles through the last stretch of the season. Keep your driveway, sidewalks and paths clear of snow so that people have a safe place to walk. You should avoid shoveling snow onto the lawn or making snow piles that get in the way, forcing people to trample down the grass. At the end of winter, break up piles of ice and spread the snow around to help it melt away quicker.

As winter shifts to spring in Calgary, new grass growth can easily be damaged by the pressure from feet or piled snow. Plus, piles of snow take longer to melt and can block the grass from getting those first warm rays of sun in the early spring. This results in the grass taking longer to turn green and start growing.

3. Groom the Grass at the Beginning of the Season.

Don’t be surprised if your grass looks sad and worn down when the snow clears. The winter is a harsh challenge for any lawn. In the early spring, lightly rake the lawn to help perk up the turf ahead of the growing season. As soon as the soil dries out a bit, carefully clear away leaves and dead grass using a regular leaf rake. This will break up any matted areas and improve airflow the surface of the blades.

Wait to begin raking until the ground has dried out and firmed up in the spring. If the soil is muddy, you risk damaging the grass by walking and working on it. Also remember to be gentle. The old grass and new growth are fragile, plus moist soil makes it easier to pull the blades out of the ground.

4. Help the Grass Get Some Fresh Air.

It’s important to Aerate and Seed the lawn in peak growing season so that the grass can bounce back quickly. An aerator tool bores small, shallow holes into the ground. The purpose is to break up compact soil, provide adequate space for grass to grow, and allow the roots access to fresh air and nutrients more efficiently.

By aerating in the early spring, you will give the turf more space to flourish and prevent the grass from getting overly compacted during the spring and summer. Aerating your yard will also help it recover after an unusual winter season, like this year, when temperatures fluctuate and the ground freezes and thaws multiple times.

5. Encourage New Growth in the Spring with Over-seeding.

Many homeowners don’t know that grass likes company. Cool-season grasses look best when it is aerated in the Fall. The next step is to spread grass seed over the existing turf to counteract the natural thinning process through the winter. It will also introduce fresh growth to keep it looking lush all year.

Aerating and Over-Seeding in the spring is OK but Fall is the ideal time, so you don’t have to compete with weather, weeds, and crabgrass problems. If you do seed in the spring, you need to do have to monitor it more frequently and water it when needed to speed up growth before any heat waves. The 1st week of April is an ideal time.

6. Give it Nutrients to Grow in the Spring.

Plants go dormant in Calgary’s winter climate, so fertilizer isn’t necessary during the coldest months. This is true even for cool season grasses. But you can help your lawn recover from the harsh weather with fertilizer treatment first thing in the spring. After aerating, as soon as the snow melts and outside temperatures reach an average of 55°, give your grass a healthy snack to energize growth for the spring. Lawn fertilizer is a special mix of nutrients that the roots absorb. Then, the plant stores or uses it as food over time. If you use a spreader, fertilizing can be a quick and easy way to care for the lawn.

7. Don’t Wait Too Long to Mow the Lawn.

Finally, it may seem early, but in most parts of Calgary, grass will be ready for its first trim sometime in April. We recommend that grass be mowed once it reaches about 3 inches in height. By mowing the new green blades when they get to this point, you will prevent the grass from getting overgrown and stimulate continual growth.

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How To Make Your Yard Kid and Pet-Friendly


How To Make Your Yard Kid and Pet-Friendly

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When summer rolls around, it’s nice to have a beautiful lawn to spend time on, enjoying the warm weather. However, having a lush lawn requires some upkeep, especially if you have children and pets. Follow these steps to achieve a healthier lawn that is safe for the whole family:

1. Use Natural Weed Killers

Limit use of synthetic herbicide, which can cause soil damage over time and can be dangerous to children and pets.

Here are a few ideas:

  • For a completely natural weed killer that poses no threat to your lawn or your family, pour boiling water on the weeds to shrivel even the toughest weeds in just a few days.
  • Like most commercial herbicides, vinegar is nonselective. It doesn’t care if it kills weeds or if it kills your flowers. Unlike other herbicides, vinegar is eco-friendly and won’t harm your children, pets or the environment. Vinegar works well for weeds with long taproots like dandelions. Putting dish soap in your vinegar mixture will make it stick better to the weeds.
  • Another natural weed killer can be made from orange oil, vinegar and dishwashing liquid. Again, this weed killer doesn’t discriminate between good plants and bad, so spray before planting or be very careful with your application. These weed killers have no residual action, so will not provide any long-term weed control.
  • Water-powered weeder is what I consider to be the most fun you can have while weeding your lawn. This tool creates a powerful blast of water that makes a small hole near the weed’s root, loosening the root so it can be easily picked.
  • Crabgrass germinates when the soil temperature reaches about 56 degrees F, which happens in mid-April in many regions. Wait until your soil reaches this mark for a few consecutive days before treating with a pre-emergent product. It doesn’t grow well in shaded areas, so no need to treat areas that are well shaded.

2. Take Care of Your Lawnmower

Make sure your mower is in tip-top condition. Dull mower blades tear at grass rather than cutting it cleanly, and this leaves the grass with ragged edges that can invite disease. Here on tips on caring for your lawnmower:

  • When grass is growing, you should sharpen the blade after every 8 hours of use.
  • If you hit something while mowing, sharpen nicked edges immediately.
  • Always disconnect the spark plug when touching the blade or working on your mower to prevent the mower from accidentally starting. Use a pair of work gloves to protect your hands while you hold the mower blades.
  • Monitor the oil level in your mower and look for floating debris or oil that is old. To change the oil, remove the drain plug underneath the mower and allow to drain completely into a safe container. Many auto shops will dispose of old oil safely for a small fee.
  • Clean out the undercarriage. Use a wire brush to scrape dirt and grass that can get caked under the mower. Spray away any remaining debris with a hose.
  • Inspect the air filter to make sure it isn’t clogged or dirty. Dirty filters will put stress on the mower and cause it to burn gas less efficiently.

3. Let Your Grass Grow

Follow the ⅓ rule. Never cut more than ⅓ of the blade height. If you only fertilize once a year, do it in the fall. Here are more tips on growing grass:

  • Let it grow to around 3 to 3 ½ inches and maintain that length for the season. This allows the grass to grow enough to prevent weeds from germinating, and it reduces evaporation.
  • When fall comes, you can cut your lawn short again since weeds are less of a concern. Cutting grass too short stresses it and reduces its ability to resist pest infestation.
  • if you want to keep your grass green the entire summer, water your lawn infrequently but deeply. It’s better to water your lawn once every week or two for an hour than watering for ten minutes every day.
  • Deep, infrequent watering encourages deep roots that are more resistant to drought and disease. Use a well-trusted organic fertilizer like Lawn Restore II, which works on several different kinds of warm- or cool-season grasses, including Kentucky bluegrass, centipede grass, Bermuda grass, perennial ryegrass, tall fescue and St. Augustine grass.

Once your lawn has been established, composting can be done two or three times a year. Composting is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure your lawn stays healthy, lush and green. Regularly examine your lawn for signs of disease or insects.

4. Choose the Right Grass

Find the right grass for your climate and lawn. Have a lot of trees that shade your lawn? Keep that in mind when trying to make the perfect lawn. Not sure which kind of grass is best for your area? Check out this map from This Old House that shows which grass is best suited for your zone. Consider these other steps as well:

  • Kentucky bluegrass is great for a high-traffic lawn. If you have children, this is an ideal grass for you. It handles cold and drought well, too.
  • Tall fescue is another high-traffic grass, with deep roots to help it survive drought.
  • Zoysia grass tolerates insects, disease, dryness and shade well but doesn’t like the cold. It will go brown as soon as cold weather hits.
  • Bermuda grass loves full sun and will spread aggressively; it’s one of the most drought-tolerant grasses.

If you’re just starting your lawn, spring is the perfect time to put down sod. There’s time for your grass to take root and the weather is still cool. Your sod should be fresh, avoiding rolls that have been sitting outside for a while.

When you purchase your sod, ask someone at the garden center for information about which grass best suits the conditions of your yard and what your watering schedule should be. And pH test your soil, this will tell you a lot about the health of your soil and what it needs to properly nourish your lawn.

5. Fertilize Naturally

Considering using a mulching lawnmower, which leaves organic matter on the lawn and boosts nitrogen levels. Never mow when wet. Synthetic chemicals in fertilizers are harmful to your pets, children, soil health and the environment in general. The chemicals can run off into other water supplies.

Keep these tips about fertilizer in mind:

  • Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for growth, but too much nitrogen can lead to discoloration and yard burn. Leaving your grass clippings can contribute up to 25% of your lawn’s yearly fertilizer needs, and since grass clippings break down so quickly they won’t cause thatch.
  • Too much quick-release fertilizer combined with spring rains can create overly lush growth, which increases fungus problems. Use a slow-release fertilizer instead.
  • Organic lawn fertilizer doesn’t provide immediate results like a synthetic fertilizer but improves the quality of the lawn over time, reducing the need for future applications

Fall is the best time for aerating and dethatching. Even though they are a time-consuming hassle, they really makes a major difference in the health of your lawn. They open up the soil so it can get water and oxygen more efficiently

6. Natural Pest Control

Only use natural products to control pests. Keep in mind these tips:

  • For controlling the pest population in the fall, such as mole crickets, neem oil is a natural insecticide you can dilute with water and spread with a pump sprayer. Neem oil also prevents powdery mildew on plants.
  • Beneficial nematodes will control soil-dwelling pests like grubs, Japanese beetles and cutworms.

With the foot traffic children can create, and the unsightly nitrogen burns that dog urine can leave behind, keeping your lawn healthy and beautiful may seem like an impossible task, but regular maintenance will help your lawn reach its full potential. Prevent nitrogen burn by pouring water on the area where your dog went, and repair by planting new seed to fill in dead grass.

It may seem easier to use synthetic herbicides and fertilizers for faster results, but doing things naturally will lead to more reward in the long run. Your time and effort will create a lawn that is healthy and safe for your family, your pets and the environment.

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What a healthy Lawn Does for you


What a healthy Lawn Does for you

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Enhances your mood, lowers your stress and calms the mind. Studies have shown that the smell and look of a well-groomed lawn helps create a feeling of well being and accomplishment. The calming effect is created when the chemical that’s released from a lawn beginning its regeneration process from being recently cut. This chemical is often referred to as GLV (Green Leaf Volatiles) and is responsible for the wonderful aroma.

Stress Relief

Enhances your mood, lowers your stress and calms the mind.  Studies have shown that the smell and look of a well-groomed lawn helps create a feeling of well being and accomplishment.  The calming effect is created when the chemical that’s released from a lawn beginning its regeneration process from being recently cut.  This chemical is often referred to as GLV (Green Leaf Volatiles) and is responsible for the wonderful aroma.

Natural Air Conditioner

Lawns are typically 5-10 degrees cooler than concrete surfaces; this helps keep you and your home stay cooler Lawns absorb the suns energy rather than radiating it back into the air and raising the temperature.  Don’t believe it? Next time on a hot summer day try standing on concert in your bare feet and compare how hot the pavement is compared to how cool your lawn is.  This temperature difference makes lawns the perfect heat sink and can take away the suns heat from your home and can save you money on your air conditioning bill.

Saves Water

Thick, dense, turf requires less watering than a patchy arid lawn full of weeds.  The grass leaves provide shade to the soil below from the sun’s rays, preventing evaporation and allowing the grass to utilize more water more effectively.  This helps during those hot summer days when rain is no where in sight.  Proper lawn maintenance such as cutting at a higher mowing height, and watering infrequently will not only do wonders for your lawn but it will help save you money on your water bill as well since you won’t have to water as much or as often.

Increase in Property Value

When people look at your home the first thing, they see is the outside and its curb appeal. A green lawn, beautiful trees and maintained walkways will make it more aesthetically pleasing and could boost your resale value as much as 5-12%. On an average home in Calgary it can mean an extra $20,000 to $48,000 that you could see if it came time to sell your home.

Lawn Care & The Environment (Title)

Cleans the Air

Like all plants, grasses absorb Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and release Oxygen (O2 ) through photosynthesis.  A lawn that’s around 2500 ft2 (232 m2) produces enough Oxygen to provide a family of four fresh air every day. But that’s not all, it helps control pollution as well, by absorbing pollutants such as Carbon Dioxide, Sulfur Dioxide, Hydrogen Fluoride and even Peroxyacetyl Nitrate a pollutant present in Smog into their leaves.  When it rains, the water helps push the pollutants into the soil, once there the soil microbes begin breaking down the pollutants through a process called Biodegradation into nontoxic substances such as water, salts, or harmless gases.

Purifies Water

As water passes through the soil membrane the soil microbes begin to break down any chemicals that may be present in the water providing filtered water.  In fact, this filtration system is so effective that rainwater that gets filtered vs normal rainwater that is running off the sidewalk is as much as 10 times less acidic.  This water is known as effluent water and it can be used for Turf Irrigation in parks and/or golf courses or it could be filtered to be drinkable water but would require a high level of treatment to do so.

Controls Erosion

Healthy turfgrass acts as the best defense against soil erosion. Soil erosion can occur from several different ways most common ones being through water runoff and heavy wind storms.  Grass  has a strong root system it binds more effectively than any other plant, reason being is that 90% of the weight of a grass plant is in its roots.  A single grass plant can have over 300 miles of roots under the right conditions.  This also means that during heavy windstorms it has a strong foundation keeping the soil intact and can protect the soil from being blown away by trapping flying dirt into its leaves returning the dirt back to the soil over time. 

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Top 10 Snow Removal Tips


Top 10 Snow Removal Tips

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With the winter season upon us, it is more important than ever to properly prepare for all that comes with winter weather. Icy and snowy conditions are often responsible for damage to properties, vehicles and in some cases people. While snow may be beautiful to look at and even play in, it can also be a huge weather-related liability for both homeowners and business owners.

For this reason, it is important that people take the necessary precautions during the winter season to prevent injuries due to snow and ice. Something as simple as properly shoveling a sidewalk or salting a pathway can greatly reduce weather-related liabilities this winter season.

Prepare in Advance for Inclement Weather

As a home or business owner, it is always your responsibility to keep abreast of incoming inclement weather during the winter season so that you can be properly prepared. Don’t wait until a winter storm is upon you to get the necessary snow and ice removal supplies. By that time, most of the items you need will be sold out.

Purchase items such as salt, shovels and snow blowers well ahead of time so that they are readily available for usage when a snow or ice storm arrives. Preparation is key to prevent winter weather-related accidents.

Do-It-Yourself Snow Removal

Making sure that the exterior areas of your home or business are properly prepped for winter weather is important. Any area that is frequented by individuals on a consistent basis needs to be properly salted and shoveled on a regular basis during winter weather to avoid accidents that could result in a possible liability. A slip and fall that results in a broken arm or leg because of the failure to prep an exterior surface is preventable.

As a home or business owner, you have the responsibility to clear all pathways leading to and from your property to ensure the safety of others and reduce the potential for liability due to injuries. Salting passageways to help melt ice as well as removing snow periodically during a snowfall can greatly reduce the chances of someone injuring themselves in front of your property.

Contracted Snow Removal

For those dealing with larger spaces, such as businesses with multiple pathways, steps, and parking lots, contracted snow removal is often the best option. Businesses must be extra careful to remove snow and ice from their premises in a prompt manner to ensure the safety of all that come in contact with the property. The use of a licensed and insured Winnipeg snow removal company is highly recommended to ensure that the snow removal is completed in a professional and thorough manner.

Better Safe than Sorry

When it comes to injuries related to ice and snow, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Taking the necessary steps to prevent a weather-related liability is the responsibility of the property owner. This winter season, take the necessary precautions by obtaining the snow and ice removal products and services that will ensure the exterior of your property is safe for everyone.

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