I have gathered some spring maintenance steps for my lawn, but I did not know the best order that I should take for these steps. Can you confirm that the order below is correct:
1. Core aeration of lawn (sometime this week)
2. Fertilize (right after core aeration)
3. Put 1/4″ of top dressing and grass seed on lawn (one temperature reaches 15C)
Your thoughts would be much appreciated.
I plan to thatch in the fall.
Thanks for your inquiry. I would suggest you aerate, then top dress, then fertilize but the timing of each step is important.
First, before you aerate, rake the lawn with a leaf rake. This will help the grass to stand-up and remove any large debris. Do not use a rake that will dig into the lawn.
The best time to aerate is actually in late summer and early fall but if you have not done so then spring time is better than waiting to next fall. Leave the cores on the lawn. Please note, unless freshly installed sod has been laid over compacted subsoil, as is often the case in new subdivisions, typically only mature lawns should need aerating.
Apply the grass seed then apply the topsoil. Lightly roll the area so that the seed makes contact with the soil, then water it lightly and keep the area moist until the seeds germinate and grow.
Approximately 4 to 6 weeks after you have seeded the lawn apply a fertilizer at half the recommended strength.
If you cut your grass on a regular basis and don’t remove more than 1/3 of the leaf blade at any one time, there should be no thatch build-up in the fall.
For more information, The City of Toronto has a good overview of organic lawn care: