weeds

(Question)

We live in Markham, Ont. We were away all the summer. We had a company just cut and trim our lawn. On our return there are huge patches of weeds of all kinds and large bare spots. Our lawn is 100 ‘ by 70’. How can we get rid of the weeds the best and quickest way possible and also should we re-seed our lawn and add top soil now.
Also, is it a good time to fertilize the lawn now. Thank you

(Answer)

Fall is the ideal time to take steps to rejuvenate your lawn in readiness for next year.  A thick vigorous lawn is the best prevention against weed invasion. Since we are well into October the following chores need to be done right away before it gets too cold. Unfortunately, there is no way the weeds or bare spots in your lawn will disappear overnight.  Patience is required!

First you need to rake the lawn to remove any debris and fallen leaves. If there is an accumulation of thatch (dead grass) it also needs to be removed. This process is called scarifying and there are special rakes for this task. You may need to aerate the lawn if the soil appears hard and compacted.  You can rent a machine from a building centre (they are heavy though) or get your lawn company to do this task. This will improve surface drainage of the lawn.

Next a good quality top dressing should be applied. Since your lawn is a good size it probably makes sense to deal with the bare patches first. Spread the topsoil evenly over the bare spots and then distribute a high quality grass seed. In order to germinate and become established, the seed must come into contact with the soil. Tamp down the seed with the back end of a rake. Water often enough so that the soil remains moist. You can also apply fertilizer at this time but make sure the package is labeled autumn lawn feed.  Just follow the instructions. Next spring you should see a vast improvement in your lawn.

The following websites will provide further useful reading:

https://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/08-017.pdf

https://www1.toronto.ca/city_of_toronto/toronto_public_health/healthy_public_policy/pesticles/files/pdf/go_pesticide_free.pdf

https://www1.toronto.ca/city_of_toronto/toronto_public_health/healthy_public_policy/pesticles/files/pdf/natural_lawn_guide1.pdf