Summer means a chance to step outdoors and connect with nature. For many, it also means yard work, but if you’re not sure what steps to take or the order in which to take them, your efforts might be in vain. Follow our tips for Mississauga lawn care and enjoy a beautiful yard that serves as an extension of the home you love.
Mississauga Lawn Care: 4 Tips for the Best Lawn in Your Neighborhood
1. Know Your Zone and Planting Dates
If you’re going to show your home and lawn to best effect, you need a plan for landscaping. This starts with knowing your hardiness zone, a numbering system intended to identify survivable trees and plants by temperature. Colder weather zones are denoted by lower numbers, so if you live in a 5 zone, you can’t buy plants for a 7 zone. Mississauga is in zone 6a; we suggest you choose plants in zones 6 and under.
From here, it’s important to know your frost-free date so you can safely start planting. This date in the GTA is around May 9, but less hardy options, like tomato plants, should be delayed another month to ensure they survive. Always review day and night forecasts prior to planting and remember the best soil is that which has warmed and dried from winter precipitation.
January and February
Any changes you want to make for your landscaping and/or the upcoming planting season should be planned in these months. Maybe you want to add a water feature or create raised beds for perennials. The point is to get in touch with your lawn care provider now, as they can help with your planning. This means designing spaces that accommodate your ideas and helping you identify plants and vegetables adaptable to zone 6.
March and April
If you really want to get ahead of the season, now is the time to start planting your seeds indoors. Examples that can be started inside include peppers and impatiens. Later in March, turn your attention to more delicate florals – like petunias – and herbs like parsley.
Once daytime temperatures consistently rise above freezing, you can get outside and start on the manual cleaning of and caring for your garden and landscaping. Actions you might want to focus on include:
- Raking branches, twigs, and dead leaves from garden beds
- Adding compost to gardens
- Raking your lawn to loosen and remove dead grass
September and October
Once the summer growing season is over, you can prepare your lawn and garden for winter. Start with mowing; many people stop cutting grass in the fall, but now is the time to gradually lower your mower blade so the grass is cut short just before winter. This allows more sunlight to reach the crown of the lawn, which will help it grow green and plush in the following summer.
Also, have your lawn professionally aerated to help water and oxygen easily reach the roots. Taking this step in cool weather helps heal bare patches. Last but not least, lay your lawn repair mixture now in spots where the grass is thin or brown. In turn, you’ll see a healthier lawn after snow melts.
2. Plant Flowers and Shrubs to Beautify Your Yard
Some of the hardiest and easiest plants to grow are also some of the most beautiful. Daylilies and purple coneflowers tolerate most soil conditions very well. The former produces lots of bright flowers, and the latter will have your garden teeming with butterflies.
Roses can be temperamental but generally bloom well in Mississauga. Poppies similarly thrive in cooler climates and can be used to fill spaces between larger plants. Additional flowers that add colour and can survive the region’s climate include:
Shrubs can be used for different purposes, from serving as hedgerows to providing ground cover. The key, therefore, is in knowing what you want your shrubs to do and then selecting those that are ideal. Elderberry, for instance, prefers full sun and provides rapid ground cover. Chokeberry, on the other hand, is better for screening or border purposes and does well in less than ideal soils.
More examples of border shrubs that thrive in zone 6 include bayberry and nannyberry. Eastern Redbud is a large shrub known for adding colour to streetscapes and gardens. Common ninebark can be used as a stand-alone shrub or screen, and chokecherry is a small shrub that produces edible fruits for both people and animals.
3. Be Mindful of Native Groundcover and Grasses
When planting groundcover, it’s important to be mindful of those that are native to Canada. Wild ginger and wintergreen, for instance, work well in shady areas. Bunchberry is ideal for a woodland garden, while foamflower adds subtle colour to rock gardens. Bearberry attracts butterflies and is drought tolerant.
Big bluestem is an ornamental grass that prefers full sun to partial shade. It can be intermixed with wildflowers for a rustic backyard, but it also complements gardens. Indian grass is of a similar nature in that it, too, is ornamental and can be planted in a variety of flower gardens or along borders.
4. Be Diligent With Yardwork
Dethatch Your Lawn
Thatch is a component that people either don’t deal with or tackle too early. This layer of living and dead organic material grows between grass blades and soil. The problem with thatch is that it can bring mold to your entire yard, but you can stop this with a good raking. Such activity will also promote airflow throughout the grass and assist with germination. The best time to do this is after your second mowing of the season – usually in late spring or early summer.
Don’t Forget to Fertilize
Another step frequently forgotten is fertilization. With grass, it’s ideal to fertilize every six to eight weeks. Keep in mind that each time you mow, underlying soil layers lose their nutrients and need to be replenished. The best schedule to follow is:
- One application in early spring
- Another in late spring
- A third in late summer
- The final application in fall before the first snow
Save Mulching for Last
If you’re going to mulch any parts of your lawn, do so after the soil has dried and warmed from spring rains. Many beneficial insects spend the winter in deep soil layers, and mulching too early can damage them. Remember to lay your weed barrier fabric first and select the heaviest mulch possible so it lasts throughout the summer months.
Mississauga lawn care requires time and diligence. It’s not as simple as mowing and then enjoying your efforts. You must follow a proper schedule, maintain flowers and shrubs, and give equal attention to your grass. For help with these steps, call the lawcare experts at Weed-A-Way Lawn in Mississauga, Ontario, today.