Published on May 21, 2013
There are many reasons to consider slit seeding and top dressing: repairing thin lawns or lawns that have been attacked by insects or fungus, or when planting a new lawn (to name a few).
Slit seeding is accomplished with a machine that slices rows into your lawn and drops seed into the slits. The knives are designed to slice into the lawn rather than rip out thatch, leaving the lawn relatively undamaged. The major benefit in slit seeding over conventional seeding is that direct seed to soil contact increases seeding success, especially if followed by top dressing with compost pellets.
Top dressing is the process of applying compost, soil, or sand over the surface of your lawn. Topdressing with compost pellets delivers necessary nutrients to the soil and promotes growth for new grass seed and should be used as part of a complete fertility program
Benefits of Top Dressing:
- Improves drought tolerance
- Improves grass seed germination and establishment
- Quick and easy to apply - no special equipment required
- Compost Pellets are derived from leaf and yard trimming
- Does not contain any manure or animal by-products
- Contains little water (10%) vs. regular compost (can contain up to 50%)
Benefits of Compost:
- Increases soil water-holding capacity resulting in increased drought tolerance and increased irrigation efficiency
- Increase soil nutrient holding capacity, maximizing plant nutrient uptake
- Acts as a chelator of nutrients, holding them in the root zone when otherwise they would be leached from the soil
- Acts as a source of food for increased microbial activity
When to Use Compost:
- To stimulate microbial activity where soil health has been compromised
- On sandy soils and low organic matter soil
- On heavy soils to improve tilth
- When seeding to improve germination and establishment
- As an added service to lawn maintenance programs
Compost should be applied twice yearly, spring and fall, and for best results should be applied after aeration.
Next week: Horticultural Vinegar & Nematodes
Published on May 14, 2013
Five years into the pesticide ban in Ontario, there are no longer any ‘quick fixes’ in lawn care.
When the cosmetic pesticide ban was implemented on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, all lawn care professionals became unable to access the many herbicides and pesticides necessary to maintain healthy lawns. In the ensuing years there has been very little change in the market place for products that will help control weeds and insects.
Enacted on the advice of medical experts – like the Canadian Cancer Society – who have made a convincing case for reducing exposure to pesticides, the ban is part of the Ontario government’s commitment to protect families, especially children, from pollution and toxic chemicals through tough new environmental laws.
While Ontario citizens may be healthier since the province’s cosmetic pesticides ban came into effect, it can leave our lawns looking a little worse for wear. With chemical controls banned, a more organic approach and a consistent, yearly, implementation of a lawn care regimen is essential to creating healthy lawns.
More information on the pesticide ban is available at www.ene.gov.on.ca/environment
Following are services and products available to encourage and maintain healthy lawns. Some of these tips can be used by home owners, and some are products that have become available to lawn care professionals over the last few years.
1. Core Aeration & Fertilizing
Core aeration and regular application of fertilizer promotes root development and optimizes plant and turf growth.
As sod ages the soil underneath compacts making it difficult for grass roots to absorb water and nutrients. This can lead to your turf deteriorating and becoming more susceptible to weeds, insects and diseases. Aeration involves the removal of small cores—or plugs of soil—which are then deposited on the surface. The small holes that remain help to break up compacted areas and allow water and air to penetrate to the root zone. Core aeration works best if performed in early summer or early autumn when your lawn is most actively growing. The benefits of core aeration include:
- Promotes root development through reduced soil compaction
- Improves nutrient and moisture absorption
- Discourages excessive thatch development
- Improves fertilizer uptake and use
- Increases heat and drought tolerance
- Increases tolerances to diseases
Fertilize Three (3) Times a year; spring, summer and fall
Fertilization is a very important component of plant health care in the landscape. Fertilization is necessary to supplement naturally occurring essential mineral elements in the soil to maintain an optimum supply for plant growth.
Use a fertilizer with the appropriate amounts of nitrogen, phosphate, and potash for your lawn. If a soil test indicates high levels of phosphorus and potassium availability, then a fertilizer supplying only nitrogen is necessary.
Fiesta (High Iron liquid Fertilizer to Control Broadleaf Weeds)
Gelderman Landscape Services uses a liquid fertilizer blend (15.5-0-0-2Fe) that contains nitrogen, and a high iron content to help manage broadleaf weed problems in lawns.
Using high Iron fertilizers has helped but has not eliminated broadleaf weeds. There is limited success as there tends to be some regrowth of weeds after a few weeks. For best results, a second application is required within a month, and a third application in the fall.
Next week: Slit Seeding & Top Dressing
Published on April 26, 2013
Exploring the benefits of irrigation, some of the common spring start-up problems, and our recommendations to maximize your irrigation investment.
Why Install an Irrigation System?
Installing an irrigation system will help you create beautiful, healthy lawns and gardens while saving you time and money:
- Ensures your lawn receives the right amount of water - not too much nor too little
- A healthy and well watered lawn prevents the growth of weeds
- Keeps your annuals alive in the heat of summer
- An irrigation system is more cost effective than hand watering
- Allows you to spend your valuable time pursuing more enjoyable activities
- Increases the value of your property
Common Spring Start-Up Problems
Poor over-wintering of irrigation equipment causes the majority of problems you may encounter when you start up your irrigation system in the spring, including:
- damage to irrigation heads
- broken plumbing feeds
- wiring problems
In addition to overwintering problems, irrigation systems can be damaged during snow removal, while core aerating your lawns and you may find rodents have damaged the wiring.
Maximizing your Irrigation Investment
Your irrigation and maintenance contractors need to work together to ensure you are getting the most out of your irrigation system.
Your irrigation contractor should:
- Visit your property monthly to adjust the programming according to the season
- Install a weather station controlled Smart Controller whose programming automatically changes with the weather
- Flag your irrigation heads during start up to avoid damage during core aeration of your lawn
- Shut down/winterize your irrigation system properly to avoid and minimize problems during spring start-up
- Stake the curbs and edges of the lane ways in the fall to help reduce damage during snow removal
Your landscape contractor should:
- Maintain regular contact with your irrigation provider and notify them immediately if they find any problems with the system or areas that are being improperly watered
- Bring any irrigation problems or issues to your attention immediately
- If your snow removal and irrigation services are provided by the same company they should cover any repairs required due to damages during snow removal
More information about Irrigation can be found on our Water Management page.
Published on April 22, 2013
Gelderman Landscape Service crews will begin applying fertilizer for our landscape maintenance customers between April 22 and May 15th.
Fertilizing will be done once spring clean-up is complete and scheduling will depend on rain or other weather events.
New this year:
We will be using a new fertilizing blend this year: C-I-L Golfgreen, a pet-friendly 22-0-5 fertilizer with 0.1% iron.
The granules in this new fertilizer mix are a rusty brown color and will be difficult to see among the grass. More information about this fertilizer can be found [here].(http://www.pthomeandgarden.com/product/862-cil-golfgreen-lawn-fertilizer-with-ddp-iron-22-0-5.)
If we will be fertilizing your property and you have any questions or concerns please contact your Maintenance Account Manager.
For Properties in:
- Oakville/Mississauga/Milton – Jason Brundle – 905-220-7717
- Burlington / Waterdown – Mike DeBoer – 905-220-7716
- Hamilton/Dundas/Ancaster – Jeff Fennema – 905-220-8528
- Cambridge/Guelph/K-W – Martin Horsman – 905-220-7720