Here are some other
things you can do
to help get your lawn off to a
Snow Mould Diseases
Snow mould fungal diseases cause less trouble
when snow melts relatively rapidly and at an even rate. Significant
damage from snow mould can be expected when snow is deep and
melts slowly, particularly when a receding snow drift remains
stationary for a few days. Snow mould diseases will often grow
rapidly on the honeycombed face of a stationary drift, causing
severe damage to the grass.
There is no chemical licensed for home use
to control snow mould diseases, so other preventive measures
must be taken. In late winter and early spring, break up large
drifts and snow piled during winter shovelling and spread the
snow over bare patches of the lawn. Continue this operation
periodically until the snow has disappeared. This practice should
help to break up the fungal growth (mycelium web) and minimize
damage from snow mould diseases.
Raking and Thatch
After the snow has melted, the lawn can
be raked to clear off debris accumulated during the winter.
This should be done quickly because as little traffic as possible
should be on the saturated lawn at this time.
A more thorough raking to remove thatch
can be done when the lawn is dry. Thatch shows up as a light
brown layer of decaying vegetation, mostly old leaf sheaths
and root growth from previous years. The clippings serve as
an effective mulch. Grass develops fine feeding roots
in the thatch layer, which is rich in organic matter and contains
many humid air cells that promote root growth.
Thatch therefore encourages shallow rooting,
which makes turf management difficult during the dry periods.
The shallow roots cannot reach the reserve moisture in the soil,
and so the lawn tends to dry out quickly. The dried-out thatch
is difficult to moisten. It forms a water-resistant layer that
prevents water from reaching the soil.
Before raking, determine the amount of thatch
present by slicing down with a spade and examining the cross
section. If the thatch layer is greater than
1/2 inch, the excess thatch should be removed. Rake the lawn
with a dethatching rake (solid construction with v-shaped teeth)
or a gasoline powered rake, (a verticle slicing machine). This
will bring the less decomposed vegetation to the surface so
that it can be removed. If a thick layer of thatch has developed,
it may be wise to rent a power rake and vacuum for this operation.
section on de-thatching
Power raking need not be done annually --
every third or fourth year will suffice. A word of caution.
Power raking should only be carried out on healthy, solid turf.
It is too rigorous a treatment for turf damaged by winter diseases.
Whole patches will lift, and this will severely delay recovery.
To promote early greening of the lawn, cut
off the dead leaf blades with freshly sharpened blades
on your mower, when the lawn is dry enough to mow. Adjust the
lawn mover to 1.75 inches. The clippings should be raked off
After the initial mowing, mow the lawn as
necessary to a height of about 2 inches. No more than
one-third of the leaf blade should be removed in any mowing.
Clippings of this size can be left on the lawn. The mower blades,
whether rotary or reel, should always be sharp to avoid torn
ends on the grass. The brown, ragged ends are unsightly, and
grass blades with torn ends tend to lose moisture more rapidly
than intact blades.
Many people are anxious to get at their
fertilizer program in order to have a green lawn early in the
spring. In most years, however, it is not advisable to apply
fertilizer before May 20. Nitrogen carried over in the plant
from the previous year should be sufficient to produce greening
in the early spring. We will devote an article in this series
The main purpose of aeration is to reduce
compaction so that moisture and air can be absorbed into the
soil. Aeration should be considered when stress patterns
appear in the lawn from poor water penetration or wear.
Or in areas with very heavy soil. The best time to do
aeration is in mid August to early September as this is when
the life cycle for the grass plant begins.
For more info see Core Aeration
We provide spring and fall
clean-up services to our season mowing clients,
we do not provide these services on call without a season maintenence
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