What Weed Is This? Southern Ontario’s Most Pesky Plants

Did you know that every square foot of your garden has weed seeds sitting below the soil? Yep. But only the lucky few, in the top inch of the ground, can suck up enough light to germinate 🌞

When they do, you need to be ready. So, what weeds are most popular in Southern Ontario, and how do you get rid of them? Let’s get started.

Dandelions: Root ‘Em Out

Who: Recognizable by its yellow flower head, the dandelion is a familiar perennial weed on most lawns in Southern Ontario. Whether you view the simple dandelion as a trendy addition to your salad or a gardening nuisance, there will be a time when you need to remove some 🌻

Where: They love suburban lawns, flower gardens, highway ditches, and fields of grass—Timbit soccer goalies love to chat and pass the time with them.

How to remove: They are difficult to eradicate completely, and there really is no substitute for manually removing the entire plant (it may grow back if you leave any root behind). We recommend physically weeding by hand, then overseeding to crowd out this pest for next year.

Chickweed: Cut Regularly

Who: There’s Common Chickweed, and then there’s Common Mouse-Ear Chickweed. The Mouse-Ear variety 🐭 is the one that you need to worry about.

Where: Warmer winters, combined with a wet spring, is precisely what cool-season weeds like Chickweed need to germinate. And just in case you’ve been under a rock for the past decade, you’ve noticed that we’re experiencing more of these seasonal weather patterns here in Hamilton each year.

How to remove: Chickweed creeps and doesn’t root very deeply. So, before you reach for a chemical solution, try raking your lawn with a medium grade rake to lift the roots out of the soil. You might have to give it a few rounds to get it all out and keep an eye to see if it starts to grow back. Also, regular lawn maintenance will work wonders — mow your lawn frequently and these little guys won’t stand a chance.

Canadian Thistle: A Prickly Haircut

Who: It goes by many names.  Introduced into North America in the 1600s, Canadian thistle, creeping thistle or field thistle, is an invasive species that spreads aggressively and grows like… you got it, a weed.

Where: Thistle will grow just about anywhere. They flourish in exposed, low-quality soil areas, during wet seasons. Their knack for surviving in any habitat makes them challenging to get completely get rid of.

How to remove: Use your razor-sharp eye and an even sharper set of garden shears ✂️. Feel for the base of the plant and cut the thistle at their base. Warning: Don’t pull this prickly plant out, or you might split the root and cause it to grow back x2!

Looking to Weed Out a Different Culprit?

Although not a Canadian reference, the University of Minnesota does have a useful tool to identify some of our native weeds. Use its “Is This Plant a Weed?” tool to click through a chain of photos in order to eventually ID the plant you see in your lawn. We’ve officially gamified weeding. What a world 😊

Planting Bulbs Next Fall Will Illuminate Your Spring Garden Landscape

We love spring at Green Collar Landscaping. For us Hamiltonians, the dark, frigid winter has disappeared, Mr. Sun is smiling down on us, and the sweet smell of regrowth is in the air.

But hold on…there’s one last hurdle before full bloom.

Early spring has that drab brown-grey dull transition lull before the vivacious growing season.

Gardening and landscaping with bulbs.

March to May (sometimes more and sometimes less) is a gamble; Mother Nature is preoccupied with creating new growth, but it’s not yet very vibrant, and that makes for boring gardens. So, we patiently wait for the bloom of our favorite season. Thank goodness, we have a sneaky little trick to beat these dark days: bulbs.

Bulbs are quite possibly the most valuable and practical ‘back pocket’ tools a landscaper can have. With a little care, bulbs can almost effortlessly provide an early splash of much-needed garden color after a long winter!

A Tiny Window with Bursting Color

You’re using ephemeral plants when you are working with bulbs; fleeting plants, with a relatively short lifecycle. But they won’t let you down during their tiny seasonal window—they are on display—and they’re going to flaunt every color in the spectrum ????

Surprisingly, there is a massive variety of bulbs, so it makes understanding your inventory critical so that you know how to care for them individually. Tulips and narcissi are probably the most common bulbs, but there are countless others like camassia, crocus hyacinths, scilla, lilies, and too many more to count.

Fall is the Best Time to Plant Bulbs

Correct. Consider that you’re planting them during the fall season as storage—we’re planting them so that they can get ready to grow as soon as the frost melts and the ground warms.

Pro tip: ensure that all your squirrel friends have settled in for hibernation before planting your bulbs; that way, they won’t dig them up while looking for their sleepy snacks.

Heck, you can even wait to plant them in the winter.

Here are a few lawn maintenance and bulb planting tips for those that have never planted bulbs before:

  1. Stay away from areas that hold lots of water and aim for slightly sandy soil to preserve bulbs from rot
  2. ‘Not too deep but not too shallow’ is the trick to digging the perfect bulb hole.
  3. Trying keeping bulbs in tight proximity to enhance the effect of deep color (just don’t have them touching)
  4. Softly blanket your bulbs with soil and pat them down firmly
  5. Twiddle your thumbs until spring and enjoy the colors!

How to Resurrect Your Dead Lawn

Dead grass is a blemish that can leave the wrong impression on your home’s curb appeal. Summer is just around the corner, and if your grass has struggled in the past to survive in the sweet summer heat of Southern Ontario, we have some keepin’ green tips for you!

A happy family on their front lawn.

Tips for How to Resurrect Your Dead Lawn

Your initial task will be to check if your grass is actually dead, or dormant. Cool-season lawns in northern climates like ours will often go dormant during midsummer droughts.

So, before we implement any procedures to rescue your grass, we need to gently examine the crowns—the white/beige part at the foot of the plant, where each blade of grass roots from. If these crowns are still living, your lawn should recover on its own, so long as you water it on a more frequent basis. On the other hand, if these crowns are brownish-yellow and completely withered, the grass has probably seen better days. RIP little grasslings.

If your lawn has a few small dead zones, you might be able to play Doctor Green Thumb yourself. But, if you need to restore your entire lawn, you may need support from a professional lawn care provider, like us!

Here’s how to bring those dead patches of grass back to life:

  • Use a high-quality herbicide or manually tug-out weeds to eliminate nasty, grass-killing plants from your lawn.
  • Dethatch your yard to encourage the circulation of air and water; this will also help to disburse nutrients down to the soil below.
  • Add some really rich organic compost to improve nutrient density, loosen clay soil, and improve the water retention of sandier soil. Pro Tip: till your soil approximately 5 or 6 inches deep.
  • You’ll also want to play chemist and sample your soil to determine if there are sufficient levels of phosphorus. If not, you can supplement with some ‘grass-starting’ fertilizer—you’ll suddenly notice some serious bright green growth!
  • Reseed the section and cover the grass seed with a small coating of soil. A slightly less economical shortcut would be to lay new sod. Just ensure the new sod portions are placed securely against any surviving grass and that their roots are touching fresh soil.

Want to know whether you’ll require new sod or If you can simply reseed? Give us a shout.

Avoiding Dead Grass in the Future

Okay, so you’ve managed to bring your lawn back to life—it’s alive! But how do you keep your neighbors green with envy?

  • First things, first. Make sure to irrigate your new lawn to preserve moist soil. Remember: you don’t want the grass to be squelchy (yuck), and you want those baby roots to establish themselves; slowly lessen the amount of water so that it can establish itself.
  • Secondly, mow your lawn no more than once / week.
  • For the first year, fertilize through the fall season (every four or five weeks). From then on, feed your grass one time in spring and once in the fall.
  • Don’t forget to dethatch and aerate every year to maintain circulation within the soil.
  • Keep Banjo off the grass. A puppers urine can be highly acidic and damage your grass. If your pets need to ‘use the lawn,’ dilute the soiled area with some water afterward.

Maintaining a healthy and less-stressed lawn during the summer months can be a challenge, no doubt. If you don’t have the expertise, time, or equipment to revitalize your lawn, call our professional lawn maintenance team for a free no-obligation quote. We offer an extensive assortment of lawn care services, from landscaping design to lawn maintenance, and everything in between!

How You Can Maintain a Beautiful Lawn This Summer

When it comes to lawn maintenance during the summer months, many Hamilton area homeowners look to the experts to help them determine how to keep their lawn healthy all season. There is a ton of information out there that provides tips for achieving a beautiful carpet of green grass but maintaining it during the hot summer season requires a few tricks for success.

lawn

Here are some guidelines to help you achieve a beautiful lawn, but more importantly, keeping it lush, healthy and well maintained all season long.

Weeding

Weeds are a fact of life in lawns, but you can improve its appearance by being proactive. Pull weeds, roots and all with a handheld weeder. You might have to use chemical herbicides if weeds are out of control. By controlling weeds, you give your lawn a chance to improve its appearance because grass pushes weeds out.

Remember to Spring Clean Your Backyard

Now that spring is right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about waking up your backyard by giving it a good spring cleanup. As the snow melts away from your lawn, shrubbery and trees, you’re going to finally see the unsightly remains that winter produced and the mess it’s left behind.

After the rough winter we’ve had these last few months, you’re going to discover the packed leaves and fallen branches that remained on the property over winter. However, if you get a jumpstart with a good spring cleanup, you’ll be better prepared for the new growing season.

landscaped front yard brantford

Raking & Yard Cleanup

Cleaning up the yard is your first priority because the winter leftovers are pretty disgusting. A good raking around the shrubs will clear out any leaves, broken branches and rubbish that may have blown into your yard during winter storms.

You should rake the rest of the lawn to remove any lingering leaves and plant debris. Once the remnants are removed, your property will look neater. You will also be removing any lingering plant debris that might harbor disease or homes for pests.

Pruning Best Practices

Pruning is one of the most important cultural practices that you can do in your landscape management. Proper pruning helps to keep plants attractive and vigorous while adding years to the plant’s beauty and usefulness. Many homeowners get apprehensive with the idea of pruning but knowing how, when and why to prune will end these fears.

Man holding pruning shears

General rules of thumb for the pruning timetable:

  • Non-blooming Trees and Shrubs: Prune in late winter while fully dormant.
  • Summer-blooming Trees and Shrubs: Prune in late winter.
  • Spring-blooming Trees and Shrubs: Wait until immediately after they bloom. They are the exception to the rule, but you still should prune them as early as you can.

How to Maintain Newly Laid Sod

Newly laid sod can transform a disheveled or bare lawn into a picture-perfect image of outdoor tranquility, but it will not stay that way without the proper care. Sod, when it is first put down is fragile and requires good maintenance. The following are some tips to help you ensure that your newly laid sod becomes the beautiful lawn you’ve always wanted.

Green Lawn and Patio Furniture

Don’t Forget about Lawn Maintenance in Hamilton/Brantford when Taking a Vacation

So you’ve arranged a boarding kennel for Fido and asked Mr. Johnson next door to empty the mailbox while you’re away— you know, the typical preparations you need to make when going on a trip. Eager vacationers, however, often forget one important thing: lawn maintenance for Hamilton and Brantford homes. Neglect this and you might come home to an overgrown— or worse, decimated— lawn.

Things to Do and Not to Do in Lawn Maintenance for Hamilton and Brantford Gardens

Keeping an appearance in a garden or lawn is one great action to commit to, as there are a lot of facets to be considered. One of these is that a garden’s appearance helps create an impression of the property towards people who gaze at it for the first time.