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Toronto Lawn Care Tips: Outdoor Checklist

When the warm weather arrives, every homeowner has an inventory of outside chores to do before summer vacation:  feeding the lawn, weeding the garden, washing windows and cleaning the eaves are at the top of everyone’s list, including mine.

This year however, I’m adding some new ‘must-do’ items to make my outdoor space more enjoyable.

Top dress the lawn

I’m taking lawn care a step further and reseeding my entire lawn this spring!  Every July when the hot weather hits, I have yellow patches in my grass. I’ve been told slugs or hot dry weather are the culprits.  The truth is, most of our lawns are Kentucky bluegrass which naturally goes dormant in the heat.  To combat this, I will add a second variety of seed, a rye fescue, because it stays green all season long.  You, or a lawn care professional, can do this by adding a 2-kilogram bag of seed to a 20-pound bag of topsoil, mix them in a wheelbarrow, and spread across your existing grass.  The ‘seed-to-soil’ contact is what makes this lawn maintenance method work!

Remove the mold

As an allergy sufferer, getting rid of the mold that forms in damp, warm weather is extremely important.  Washing the outdoor cushions is only one part of the equation.  Mold can form on decks, furniture, siding and eaves troughs.  I use a two-step process for effective mold removal. First I wash away all the surface dirt, grime and mildew with a product called Concrobium House & Deck wash. Not only is it safe around the plants, so I don’t have to cover all my shrubs, it doesn’t contain bleach so it won’t damage the deck. I also have old stains that are deep in the wood so the second step I take is to use Concrobium’s Mold Stain Eraser product that removes just the staining without damaging the wood. I also love that it doesn’t require any scrubbing. Now my siding is spotless, everything made of plastic looks new again and I can finally get rid of those mold spots on my wooden deck.

Fill the cracks

I try to avoid the use of herbicides as much as possible.  That said, the weeds that keep growing up in the cracks of my patio stones have avoided everything I’ve thrown at them.  Now it’s war!  Instead of going with a chemical, I’m using an everyday household item.  Vinegar is my new household herbicide of choice when it comes to unwanted weeds.  The key to winning the war is the strength of the acetic level.  Regular vinegar that is great for your French fries is only 5% strength and isn’t going to do much to a plant.  Instead, look for the vinegar designed for cleaning which is a 15-20% concentration.  Spray this directly on the weeds and voila…they will quickly yellow and disappear, not bad for a household herbicide.  Once my weeds are gone, I’m filling in the gaps of my patio with polymeric sand, which will bind and seal the gaps once and for all.

Mulch late

Mulching the garden is very important but most people do it too early.  I’ve always tried to mulch when the snow melts to conserve water by keeping the ground moist.   Unfortunately, this slows growth in my gardens.  Mulch acts as an insulator, protecting the plants from the elements.  However, if you spread it before the soil is completely thawed the mulch keeps the ground colder for longer!  The best time to mulch is when the ground is 5-7 degrees Celsius.  You can measure ground temperatures by completely burying a thermometer in a resealable bag.

Our time outside is short in Canada so everyone wants to be outside as much as possible.  My lawn care  tips will help keep your spaces looking their best all summer long!

By Carson Arthur, TV Show Host and Outdoor Expert

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