Lawn Fertilizer Guide
By Mark Cullen
Your lawn is a cool weather crop, a perennial that can retain its root structure despite the freezing temperatures of our Canadian winter. And for that reason, it is an excellent choice for covering the large areas of space that surround your yard, our playgrounds, and our neighbourhood sidewalks.
Simply follow these steps for the best-looking lawn on the block.
1. Clear the clutter
This is your first step in the spring once the snow has melted and the ground has firmed up. Using a leaf or fan rake, remove the loose debris from the previous fall. Even if your lawn is free from leaves and twigs, raking will get the grass blades standing up, allowing for greater air circulation.
This is not always necessary but if there are areas with higher foot traffic, the soil beneath will be compacted and the grass above will suffer. There is a right and wrong way to aerate your lawn, so if you're having it done professionally, make sure they specify their method: you will want core or plug aeration versus spike aeration.
Coring physically removes a plug of soil from the ground, allowing oxygen to flow through; spike aeration simply pushes the soil into the ground serving to further compact the soil. If you are a ‘do it yourselfer’ you can rent power aerators and if the area needing aeration is small, we recommend that you purchase a long-handled tool for the job.
Use a quality spring lawn fertilizer like CIL Iron Plus 33-0-3. It contains a high percentage of slow release nitrogen and is specially formulated to move into the soil slowly over a period of time. It will produce faster growth, thicker grass and beautiful, deep green results. This 30% slow-release lawn fertilizer feeds for an entire month.
Fertilize again 6 weeks after your spring application, using the CIL Iron Plus Spring and Summer formula 18-0-8. This combines 4 different types of iron to deliver a consistent, deep green colour throughout your lawn. With slow-release nitrogen, it will stay green even longer.
When fall comes around, a fall fertilizer application is in order. This is the most important fertilizer application as it prepares your lawn for the long winter ahead and ensures a healthy lawn in the spring. CIL Iron Plus Fall Lawn Food, 12-0-18, is formulated for late autumn application. Apply just before the snow flies.
It will provide a boost to your lawn that will produce results early next spring when your lawn emerges from winter dormancy. Snow mould will be minimized. Your lawn will green up more quickly [you can always tell the neighbour that has applied fall fertilizer come spring – they are the ones with the greenest lawn].
Bonus Tip: Cut High. This is essential for strong, healthy grass roots. Longer blades require more moisture and more nutrients so each blade will send out longer roots in search of these essentials. Keeping the blades at 6-8 centimeters high will promote healthy roots that are better able to withstand the Canadian summer.