For most Calgary homeowners, having that perfect green and manicured lawn is the pinnacle of summer property maintenance. There’s something about the perfect colour, the feel of the soft blades and the knowledge that you’ve created a small slice of summer heaven for your family to enjoy all season long. All of these homeowners also know that summer lawncare in Calgary is a lot of work, and there’s a solid list of do’s and don’ts to follow if you want the perfect lawn this year.
DO – pay attention to the time of year
It’s tempting to look at your garden as being two separate entities – the lawn, and then all the other flowers, trees and shrubs. However, it’s essential to remember that grass is a plant just like everything else in your yard. This means that it has growing and dying seasons that coincide with the natural seasons. For example, as spring turns to summer, the temperatures are cool with plenty of rain, meaning that your grass is going to go into growing overdrive. In the middle of summer, with plenty of sunshine but less rain, your grass is in its maintenance phase and still growing but much slower. As fall comes around, the grass starts to prepare itself for the long Calgary winter. Each of these mini-seasons requires its own lawn maintenance program, so pay attention to the weather patterns outside and use them as a guide for your lawncare.
DON’T – over mow your lawn
Humans are creatures of habit, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of “I’ll mow my lawn every Sunday during the summer” as a way of making sure that the mowing gets done. It is remarkably easy to over mow your lawn; a tip to remember is that the green of the grass is what allows photosynthesis to happen for your lawn, and by removing too much of the plant, you’re starving your grass of the essential energy it needs for growth. A good guide is to only mow when it reaches 8cm or so in height. In the early summer season, this might be weekly, but in August and September it will take much longer for your lawn to get back to this height, so be ready for an unpredictable mowing schedule.
DO – aim for once a week watering
A common misconception in Calgary lawncare is that you need to water your lawn daily during the hot summer months. However, longer but less frequent watering periods are preferable to short and sparse bursts. This is because only watering a few millimetres a day will cause all the roots to come towards the surface to suck down liquid, and your grass will become weak and brittle as a result of this shallow root system. Watering 3cm once per week (which admittedly will take a longer time depending on the size of your lawn) allows the water to soak deeper down into the soil, encouraging healthy root growth and avoiding moisture stress. Setting up a sprinkler system to hit your lawn once weekly is a great way of making sure you don’t forget while also saving yourself time and effort.
DON’T – aerate your lawn in summer
Aeration is an important tool for lawncare but you have to be careful about your timing. In midsummer, there is less moisture and precipitation occurring naturally, so turning over the bare patches in your soil only serves to upset the microbial balance that has built up just below the surface. The weather means that there’s little chance of it being rebuilt (even with fertiliser) before winter comes, so by aerating in summer, you’re only creating more bare patches. Aim to till your lawn in early summer after the last frost has happened but before the temperature starts to rise. This is a great time to overseed those areas that need some help as well as to add new topsoil in the areas where everything has completely dried out.
DO – add fertiliser sporadically
Having a good fertilising schedule is the key to maintaining a lush lawn all summer long. Everyone has their preferred mix or brand, and it’s always worth doing research (either online or talking to your neighbourhood lawn king) about what will work best for the size of lawn you have, the amount of shade and the types of grass you have growing. On the whole, Calgary lawns benefit from fertilisation every 4 to 6 weeks during the summer, with an extra kick start once the snow pack has fully melted and the ground has unfrozen. Combine the fertilisation process with your weekly watering time to help the nutrients get deep into the soil to promote healthy root and stem growth.
DON’T – water in the day time
When you water your lawn is as important as how much you water. In the summer months in Calgary, the day time temperatures can effectively evaporate the water as soon as it hits your soil, meaning that you’re having to work twice as hard, and use twice the amount of water, to get the same saturation. The best time is in the cool of the morning (which is a more hospitable time to be working outside in your yard anyway!) as it gives the grass time to absorb the water and avoids dehydration during the hotter parts of the day.
DO – get expert help
It’s easy to see that there is lot of planning, time and effort that goes into maintaining a beautiful lawn in Calgary. If you’re someone who wants the perfect outside space but doesn’t have the time or the knowledge to do so, it’s time to call Scoop Cut N Shovel to talk about our summer lawncare maintenance packages. Our team of lawncare experts will feed, water and mow your lawn to keep it looking its best all summer long, meaning that all you have to do is plan a summer’s worth of outdoor fun for you and your family on you lush green lawn.