Lawn Care Facts
We offer a complete service, including a thorough inspection, and will make recommendations if we feel your lawn requires extra services and help. You probably will not need any extras, but if you do, we will leave a note with our recommendations.
On the first visit we check what your soil needs. Healthy soil equals healthy roots and plants. This soil science information is important in treating your lawn. We want to be good environmental stewards, and we also don't want to waste your money by putting down nutrients that are not needed. This soil check will tell us how to get the best results for your lawn.
Weather conditions and timing are other keys to lawn success so we vary our treatments and timing for maximum lawn health.
Giving the grass the proper food, the right fertilizer at the right time and in the right quantities is key. A lawn that is green on top is not necessarily healthy. Many companies over-apply fertilizers. An overly high nitrogen schedule is not an environmentally healthy practice, and can result in unnatural growth, often killing the good stuff in the soil, and allowing runoff. Over time this can become worse. We know that proper treatments attract good things - worms, nematodes, fungi, and bacteria - that produce nutrients, the very life in the soil! Fall is the most important time to fertilize.
This is why we like sustainable treatments. It’s good for both the grass and the soil. Proper treatments attract and support micro-organisms, feed the soil and the grass, are effective for water and nutrient retention, and are good for the environment. We like treatments that do not hurt the bees, birds or butterflies. Our products are safe, do not contain metals, sewage sludge, manure or animal by-products, so there is no odour.
Excessive nitrogen applications provide top growth only, and can cause leaching (loss of water-soluble plant nutrients), ground water contamination, soil degradation, acidic soil, and contribute to the build up of thatch. The life of your lawn begins in the soil and we do not want to kill the life in that soil: the beneficial microscopic organisms. Our treatments attract these good things that will help sustain your soil and lawn. A provincially licensed technician checks every property, every year, checking the roots and soil and will share the results with you.
To combat pests such as beetles and mites, we use non-toxic natural sticky traps, pheromone lures, beneficial insects (lady bugs), worms and worm casting fertilizer, liquid kelp, starter fertilizers, and horticultural vinegar.
We like to start on lawns in spring after the last frost, when the soil is thawed and in fall before the first frost, in order to protect the blades of grass from breaking. We perform aeration when it's not too wet, otherwise it tears up the turf and damages root systems.
We can often start our lawn and garden treatments as early as April, and finish in September or October, depending on weather conditions. You are covered spring, summer and fall, with at least, 6 visits and 13 treatments.
Thatch is an excessive layer (1/2 inch or more) of dead stems, leaves and roots that can stop rain, oxygen and nutrients from getting to the roots. Thatch is a common lawn problem that is caused by too much fertilizer or incorrect watering.
Thatch can host lawn insects and diseases, and can contribute to summer drought stress. A little thatch can be beneficial, as it is spongy and can help grass stand up to foot traffic. Grass clippings are mostly water and rarely contribute to thatch, unless the clippings are excessively long.
We provide a deep raking to remove the thatch, and remove the bags of debris from your property. This treatment is done in spring only, so the lawn can recover properly in the warm weather. De-thatching can sometimes reveal the need for over-seeding or other treatments.
The Benefits of Aeration
Aeration is the single best lawn care treatment to alleviate compaction, turf’s worst enemy.
- Allows your lawn to breathe
- Helps your lawn absorb oxygen, rain and nutrients and improves nutrient uptake
- Eliminates runoff and puddles
- Improves tolerance to heat, drought and disease
- Encourages deep roots and eliminates harmful gases from the root zone
- Eliminates harmful gases from root zone
- Reduces weeds
It is best to aerate every year. Additional aeration is recommended where compaction stops oxygen flow due to heavy clay or in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic. Our heavy-duty aerator removes cores of soil, 12 holes per square foot and we leave the cores to feed the lawn.
Depending on the conditions of your lawn we perform one of these each season, aeration or de-thatch, sometimes both. Our regular plan includes your choice of one of these treatments.
We use Fiesta, an environmentally friendly liquid iron-based weed control that has been proven to reduce broadleaf weeds (dandelion, white clover, black medic, English daisy, common chickweed, thistle, geranium and others). We take the time to get results, especially on larger properties and corner lots these areas are susceptible to a lot of airborne weed seeds.
Iron -based weed controls cannot be applied to bent grass, new lawns (one year old), newly seeded lawns, high heat (30 C) or in the rain. We really hate weeds and still love a good old-fashioned, tried and true weed pulling and we do this each visit to your property. Some weeds are more controllable than others, and we use horticultural vinegar for the weeds in cracks in driveways, sidewalks and patios.
There are many insects that can damage your lawn. We can help you control these.
- Grubs: European Chafer: March to June and August to November
- Japanese Beetle: (can come back for 3 years) April to June and August to November
- Chinch Bug: June to August
- Crane fly: April to July
- Sod Webworm: May to September
- Leatherjacket April to May and September to November
Nematode Treatment For Grubs
The nematode is a microscopic worm that is the natural enemy of the grub. We apply nematodes to control grubs, like the European chafer, the Japanese beetle, and the Leatherjacket, to approximately 50% effectiveness. Nematodes are naturally occurring in soil and are safe for your family and pets. We like to apply nematodes on a rainy day, an overcast day or at least early in the morning. Often we use a watering can to keep more nematodes alive. Our beneficial nematodes are shipped by overnight courier in special cool packs so you get the highest quality possible.
Overseeding and Topsoil
Overseeding is done in early spring or fall, and we use a variety of seed to match your lawn. It is important to keep the lawn moist for 10 to 14 days after overseeding. We are generous with grass seed and topsoil, and this helps with germination. We recommend aeration first, then topsoil.
GTA crew leaders--the 2 Mikes, always do a great job
Lawn Care & Mowing Schedule
We try to honour our schedule 100% but we don’t cut in the rain, lightning or summer/drought or when grass is not growing - no charge. We will return as soon as possible. Weekly customers get cut Thursday and Friday and bi-weekly customers get cut Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Tips If You Mow Your Own
Please be very careful. There are hundreds of serious accidents every year. In addition, keep kids and pets away when you are cutting your lawn.
Do not cut your lawn just because it's Saturday or because you are going away. Cut your lawn only when it needs it.
Change direction each time you mow to keep the blades growing straight up.
Always use a sharp mower blade, and never remove more than 1/3 of the plant.
A dull blade will rip and tear the grass, and not provide a clean cut. The result not only looks bad, but ragged edges can let in diseases. We recommend sharpening your mower blade three times per season. We sharpen our mulching blades every 48 hours of operation.
Cutting just once, too low, before a drought can be devastating for your lawn, causing it to go dormant or die.
Do not mow lawns that are in drought stress. During drought, grass is not growing and has less moisture content to protect the cell structure from permanent damage. Mower wheels can break and damage the fragile grass blades, leaving unsightly stripes across your lawn.
When grass begins to discolour and wilt, water one to three times a week (depending on conditions) in quantities sufficient to provide one inch of water. If you lawn has gone dormant, protect the crowns by lightly watering about an inch every two weeks. This light watering will help keep the grass alive while it is dormant. If you cannot water because of a watering ban in your area, we can help your lawn recover when rainfall resumes.
Summers are getting hotter, so you need to water. Watch the forecasts to save water. 1-1 ½” inch per week in the morning (not at night) is ideal. If it’s a super-hot summer, cool the lawn off with a nice watering, anytime. Watch for drought conditions: footprints when you walk across the lawn, a change to darker colour, or blades folding inward. Insufficient watering lets in weeds. Please keep off a dry lawn and do not mow.
Do's & Don'ts
Proper lawn maintenance will always enhance your property and may add to the value of your home. Lawns need to be fed and fertilized in order to thrive, and without good care, both lawns and gardens can suffer weed infestations, thanks to weed seeds in the air/environment, and may die completely. In this case we may have to recommend creating a new lawn altogether using sod, and on an average sized property, a good sod job can cost thousands of dollars.
There are many things to avoid when caring for your lawn. A few examples:
- Mowing during a drought
- Applying salt to weeds (salt will sterilize soil)
- Using beer as fertilizer
- Buying and using low quality topsoil that may contain weed seeds
- Using too much topsoil which can smother the grass
- Using fire or boiling water to kill weeds (this is expensive and dangerous)
- Using artificial grass or rubber mulch
- Over-fertilizing which can damage or kill the lawn. Using grass seed that does not match the established lawn (uniformity of both colour and species is important)
- Cutting the lawn too short and watering too much or too often
Truth in Advertising
No lawn care company can guarantee you lawn perfection. Nature always has the upper hand. The reality is there will always be a few weeds; nematodes for grubs are not 100% effective, and the Ministry of the Environment has not approved anything yet for chinch bug. Corn gluten may suppress weed seeds, but it cannot control established weeds, and it also may stop the growth of grass seed.
It takes teamwork, time and good weather to have a great looking property. Proper mowing and watering are important steps in maintaining your lawn. Sometimes homeowners do not water enough and too little water can contribute to weeds and chinch bugs. Others may cut their lawns improperly, using a dull blade, or they may cut too short. If you ever have a concern, call us immediately and we promise to assist you or answer your questions. We are a team.
We Always Appreciate You
Please don't hesitate to call us! If in doubt, please ask. It is important if you see something unusual like a growing brown spot or insect activity. Your home is your castle. We will call or e-mail when we are coming unless you prefer we do not.