Lawn & Garden Tips

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Relieving Compacted Turf

To relieve compacted turf without excessive injury to grass plants has been a formidable chore until recent years when power driven aerators were developed. Today, aerators of many types and sizes are available. They usually have prongs or knives, which pierce the sod to a depth of two to three inches, or they have hollow tines that extract plugs of soil. In either case, the effect is to open up or "aerate" the soil, allowing water, air and nutrients to reach the turf roots.

If you are an average homeowner, you may not want to invest in aeration equipment. You will be wise, however, to give your lawn the benefits of aeration. Call your landscaper or garden centre for information on lawn services or rental companies that have appropriate units. The gratifying results achieved from aeration — plus the savings realized in water and fertilizer, will easily justify the cost.

Fall is the best time for aeration unless you have irrigation, then any time is suitable.


Controlling Disease

Healthy turf will withstand infestation and recover faster than neglected turf. Here are some guides for healthy turf:

  1. Use enough fertilizer to keep grass growing vigorously - but avoid the extreme of over stimulation. 
  2. Mow before the grass gets too tall. 
  3. Cut no more than one inch of the leaf surface at any one time. 
  4. Keep your mower sharp. 
  5. Don't allow clippings to accumulate to the extent that they form a mat. 
  6. Remove thatch as required. 
  7. Avoid frequent waterings which tend to keep the grass wet.


Fertilizing Your Lawn

Feeding Your Lawn: Three Easy Steps

Step 1:
First measure your total lawn area and calculate the square footage (length x width = square footage).

Step 2:
If you’re using our 16-16-16 mix you won’t need as much. The right amount is applied at 8 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. Take your total square footage and divide by 1,000. Then multiply by 8. This is how many pounds of 16-16-16 you need to fertilize your whole lawn.

Step 3
Now you can begin spreading. Divide the calculated amount of fertilizer you need in half. In a criss-cross pattern, spread one half in one direction and the second half in the opposite direction.

Establishing New Lawns

Professional Seed and Sod Starter like 8-32-16 and 10-25-10 are good because new SEED or SOD thrive on high phosphorous fertilizers (middle number) while too much nitrogen (first number) could burn the new roots if not careful.

Step 1:
Prepare the Soil by removing existing weeds, grasses and debris.

Step 2:
For a light loose seed bed, cultivate the soil to a depth of 6 inches. This is an ideal time to add organic matter. Cover the desired area with a 2 inch depth of BigYellowBag® Black Garden Soil and work it into the 6 inches of soil.

Step 3:
Incorporate “Professional Seed & Sod Starter” fertilizer into the prepared seed or sod bed and carefully follow the directions on the bag.

Step 4:
Now your soil is well prepared for the SEED

Quick Guide: 8-32-16 and 10-25-10 Fertilizers
The perfect seed and sod starter fertilizer. Use to establish new sod or a freshly seeded area. This fertilizer is high in phosphorous (middle number) which promotes root growth.

• One bag of 10-25-10 will cover the area of one skid of sod
• 8-32-16 available in 25 kg / 55 lb. Bags
• 10-25-10 available in 2 kg / 4.4 lb. Bag


Grub Control

Protecting Your Investment from Grubs

White grubs are considered the number one lawn insect pest in Ontario. They have the potential to inflict serious damage to home lawns when populations reach a significant level.

White grubs are a general term used to describe the larvae stage of scarab beetles. The two main species of grubs that cause damage to lawns in Ontario are grubs from the European Chafer Beetle and the Japanese Beetle. June Beetle grubs are less common but can also inflict serious damage to lawns when they occur. European chafer and Japanese beetle grubs complete their lifecycle in one year, while June beetles take three years to complete their lifecycles.

European chafer is the most common grub species found in Ontario. These grubs normally hatch mid to late July (depending greatly on weather and soil temperatures). They begin feeding immediately and continue feeding into late fall. They over-winter as a mature grub in the soil just below the frost line and reappear early in the spring. They feed for a short time in the spring (4-6 weeks) before pupating. Following pupation they change to adults. In late June adult European Chafer Beetles emerge and begin their mating flights. Unlike adult Japanese beetles, adult European chafers do not damage trees or other landscape ornamental plants.

Healthy Lawns can Tolerate a Few Grubs

Grubs cause damage to lawns by feeding on the roots of turfgrass plants. They feed veraciously on turf roots weakening the plants and affecting their ability to take up moisture. Turf damaged by grubs often appears as scattered irregular brown patches. Damage lifts up easily like a carpet, due to the lack of roots holding it in place. Further damage to turf can occur from animals digging for grubs including raccoons, skunks, and birds. This type of damage is often more severe than the damage caused by grubs.

Healthy irrigated lawns can tolerate a few grubs per square foot without showing signs of damage. When populations reach 5-10 grubs per square foot damage can begin to appear especially if the homeowner is not keeping up with their watering practices.

An important defense against grubs and other turf damaging pests is to promote a healthy lawn. A healthy lawn is achieved through proper cultural practices; such as mowing, watering, adequate fertilization and core aeration where necessary. Despite your best efforts to do your part in making sure that these practices are done correctly, grub populations can still build to a level that can cause serious damage to your lawn.


Maintenance of Lawn in Shade

It may be necessary to over-seed on a regular basis with BigYellowBag®'s Lawn Seed (a blend that includes fescue). Read more about Over-seeding in the Lawn and Garden Tips section.

Be sure that leaves and other debris are raked and removed on a regular basis. You want to maintain a maximum amount of air movement and available sunlight in shady areas.

A regular fertilizer program is essential to help maintain your lawn in shady areas. We recommend Greenhorizons' 16-16-16 Fertilizer applied 3-4 times a year on your entire lawn at the beginning of each season.

Be sure to water your fertilizer in, or spread before a good rain. Otherwise, fertilizer left on top of grass will evaporate and not be of any use or may burn the blade of grass.



Mowing your lawn properly is one of the easiest things you can do to improve the look and health of your lawn. Here are a couple of key points that many people tend to neglect. Proper mowing will make a good lawn look better, improper mowing can ruin a good lawn in just a few weeks.

The most important point to remember is to keep the mower blades sharp. Nothing defaces grass more quickly than a dull mower. If the blade is not sharp it will tear the grass instead of cutting it. This not only allows diseases to enter but will make the tip of the leaf blade turn brown which in turn can make your whole lawn look brown.

Never take more than 1/3 of the leaf blade off at one given time. If you take more than 1/3 off the leaf blade it; puts the plant under stress, makes it more susceptible to diseases, and can thin the lawn over time. Be sure not to let your lawn grow so tall that it falls over, for it will be difficult to mow and it will smother itself out. We recommend mowing of Kentucky Bluegrasses at 2 1/4 inches tall but no lower than 1 1/2 inches and not over 3 inches high. You can determine the height of your mower blade by placing it on a driveway or sidewalk, and measuring the distance between the blade and the sidewalk.

We do not just mow our home lawns on that special given day once a week. We check to see how much the grass has grown and mow accordingly. By keeping an eye on this you’ll rarely have to rake clippings which can smother a lawn. This also means that you may not need to mow as much in the dry summer time because it does not grow as quickly.


Renovating Worn Turf

Turf renovation through use of vertical mowers and aerators was once largely limited to golf courses and athletic fields. Now, it has become a common practice for other turf areas, including home lawns.

Fall renovation is in order where it is practical to renew or rejuvenate turf that has been abused but it is still in reasonably good shape. Since roots grow best in the fall and early spring, loosened soil and fertilizer are most needed at those times to encourage turf growth.

The best practice, of course, calls for a continuous management program to prevent deterioration to the extent that it required renovation. Such a program would include: elimination of compaction; application of fertilizer and moisture as grass needs it; and good weed control practices.

Seeding and Over-Seeding

How to Seed Your Lawn

Step 1:
Measure your total lawn area and calculate the square footage (length x width = square footage).

Step 2:
Vigorously rake lawn areas to be seeded to remove debris and expose soil for good seed to soil contact.

Step 3:
Spread starter fertilizer over the entire area to be seeded — Greenhorizons' 10-25-10 (4.5 lb. bag) for small areas under 700 sq. ft. or Greenhorizons' 8-32-16 (55 lb. bag) for larger areas over 700 sq. ft. Spread according to your square footage — 8 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.

Step 4:
Generously spread seed over the area — 1 kg will cover approximately 450 sq. ft. in the shade and 750 sq. ft. in the sun.

Step 5:
To ensure good seed to soil contact, the areas should be lightly raked. Raking too hard will redistribute the seed and also plant it too deep. The average depth of seed should be between 2 – 5 mm.

Step 6:
Roll the area with a lawn roller to get good seed to soil contact.

Step 7:
Cover the area with some type of light soil, compost or burlap blanket. Be sure not to bury seed more than 1/2 cm.

Step 8: Water, Water, Water!
First watering should be a deep watering to the point that water puddles. This will help saturate the soil profile that can act as reserves later in the establishment phase. Caution must be given to avoid soil erosion. Each watering after the first should be light and frequent, never allowing the surface to completely dry out.


How to Over-Seed Your Lawn

Step 1:
Measure your total lawn area and calculate the square footage (length x width = square footage). For over-seeding - 1kg of BigYellowBag® Lawnseed covers 400 sq.ft. in shade and 600 sq.ft. in full sun.

Step 2:      
Vigorously rake lawn areas to be seeded to remove debris and expose soil for good seed/soil contact (VERY IMPORTANT).

Step 3:      
For best results, spread starter fertilizer over the entire area to be seeded - Greenhorizons 10-25-10 or 8-32-16.

Step 4:      
Measure 40 parts BigYellowBag® Garden Soil to 1 part BigYellowBag® Premium Lawnseed (for example, 40 shovels full of soil to one shovel full of seed) and mix together thoroughly.

Step 5: 
Spread this mixture about 1/4 inch over the area to be seeded.

TIP: Divide the mixture in half. Spread the first half evenly over the entire area and repeat. It's better to go over an area a second or third time than to run out of seed before the whole area is covered.

Step 6:       
Lightly rake the mixture with a leaf rake to get good seed/soil contact and then roll the entire area (VERY IMPORTANT).

Step 7:       
WATER!!! The key to success is frequent watering. Water until the top surface stays moist. Your seed will take four to twelve days to germinate, so water often during that period - 1/4 inch daily for 2 weeks and then cut back to every other day for 2 weeks.

Best Time
For best results, plant BigYellowBag® Premium Lawnseed in late April or May, or during the last 2 weeks of August and first 2 weeks of September. This is when temperatures are cooler and there is more rainfall. If you seed during the drier summer months, you must be consistent with daily watering.


Snow Mold

Over the past several years, we’ve been noticing large amounts of snow mold on Homeowners lawns. These grey or pinkish circular patches reek havoc to lawns. The picture shows how it can look very much like the results of dog urine.

Once you notice these rings rake them out immediately! By doing this you allow air to get at the crown of the plants. Otherwise the grass plants could be smothered and have the potential to die.

We would highly suggest a heavy raking over the entire area. Once you’ve “raked out” the snow mold; in a month or so your lawn should bounce back. If it does not, you could repair the lawn by over-seeding. However, if you would like instant repairs you may want to sod the areas that were heavily infested.

The best thing to do in early spring is to rake your lawn even if you aren't sure you have snow mold. A little raking is good, but a good aggressive raking is a lot better. The idea is to get the thatch out of your lawn so it can breathe right down to the crown of the plant. In addition, the heavy snow and ice can cause the blades of grass to lay over, so you’ll want to get them standing straight up. Don’t worry too much about tearing off good blades because the overall results will cover the loss in no time.


Installation Guide: 7 Easy Steps to a Beautiful Lawn

Step 1: Bare the area
Your 3D SOD BLEND should be laid on bare soil. This can be achieved 3 ways:

• Rototill, rake debris, level surface, lay sod.
• Rent a small sod harvester and remove the old turf to make way for the new sod.
• Set your mower very low to the ground. Mow and rake off debris. Put down a thin, good quality layer of top soil before sodding.

Step 2: Grade Surfaces
Carefully level all surface to be sodded. Soil surfaces should be 1 inch below walks, patios, and driveways, to accommodate 3D SOD BLEND thickness. A light rolling will show up soil depressions or surface irregularities. These can then be leveled.

Step 3: Fertilize the Area
Your free turf starter fertilizer can be applied either on soil surface or on top of sod after it is down. Fertilizer will be used by sod over the next few days as it is watered. Apply fertilizer evenly at the recommended rate. Rake in lightly. Be sure the soil is even and smooth before laying 3D SOD BLEND. Use Greenhorizons turf starter fertilizer for best results.

Step 4: Lay Sod
Begin laying sod as soon as possible upon delivery, especially in the spring (May, June) to avoid damage from heating. Sod that will remain stacked on a pallet for an extended period of time must be unstacked to allow air circulation.

Sod laying tips ...
• Don't overlap
• In brick-work fashion
• Stagger your joints

Lay the first strip of 3D SOD BLEND along a straight line (use string for a guide). Butt joints tightly; do not overlap edges. When laying second strip, stagger joints, much as in laying bricks. Use a sharp knife to cut sod to fit curves, edges, sprinkler heads, etc. Don't overlap.

Step 5: Water, Water, Water!
If a large area is being sodded with 3D SOD BLEND, do not wait until the entire area is laid before watering. As soon as a "sprinkler-sized" area is laid, begin watering it. Then go on to the next section. On a hot day do not leave laid sod for more than an hour without water. On a cooler, overcast day, do not leave it for more than 2 hours. Increasing sod laying success by a whopping 99% by watering!

Watering newly layed sod:
• Water is the single most important tip for successful sod installation.
• Water Immediately! Our basic rule has always been: a half inch of water in the first 10-15 minutes is better than 6 inches of water a few hours later.
• Water Deeply! To maximize results, the ground must be kept moist.• Check to see if water has penetrated the sod by lifting a corner and checking the ground underneath.

Step 6: Roll New Sod
Roll your new GREENHORIZONS lawn to even out the turf joints and to ensure good contact between turf roots and the soil. Rolling is also effective in eliminating air pockets.

Step 7: Keep Moist
Keep your new 3D SOD BLEND well watered for at least two to three weeks. This will assist the turf edges to knit and the roots to become established. Now you're ready to enjoy years of pleasure with your beautiful new Greenhorizons lawn!

Weed Control

The best weed control is a good, healthy turf. When your lawn is thick and vigorous, weeds simply have no place to get started and you have fewer problems.

Step by Step Guide to Top Dressing

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