What kind of grass is growing in your yard? It's a simple question, but just how many people really know the answer? From turf grasses to fescues, seed blends to low maintenance options, there are literally dozens of different lawn seed varieties. The trick is knowing which type will flourish in your Ottawa lawn. From the city to the valley, let's take a closer look at your lawn.
Plant Hardiness and How it Affects Your Lawn Seed Choice
The Ottawa lawn sprinkler installers at Nutri-Lawn begin every lawn care project with a look at two different maps – the Canadian Climate Zone map and the Canadian Plant Hardiness map. When it comes to the local climate, Ottawa falls in the temperate Humid Continental region. In regards to hardiness, Ottawa actually straddles two different zones: the city itself is in Zone 5, while the Upper Ottawa Valley is designated part of Zone 4. The lower the Zone number, the hardier the plants will need to be in order to survive the annual frost.
Other Factors to Consider During Your Seed Selection
The survival of plants, including grass seed, is affected by many factors in addition to low climate "zones." The lawn sprinkler system installers at Nutri-Lawn Ottawa must also consider the following issues when maintaining a healthy lawn:
- Freeze/Thaw Cycle: Days of unseasonable warmth in the middle of winter way be enjoyable for you, but to your lawn this fluctuation in temperature is absolute torture. Freeze/thaw cycles often cause more damage than consistent cold temperatures.
- Snow Cover: Did you know that snow is actually good for your lawn? A thick layer of snow creates a blanket of insulation over your plants and lawn. Less snow could result in more damage.
- Road Salt and Other Pollutants: Not all grasses are hardy enough to withstand the effects of winter road maintenance in Ottawa. As such, some grass seeds will succumb to salt spray, even during mild winters.
Glorious Grass Types
After analyzing the above information, it's time to make a final grass seed decision. Since Ottawa is located in the Humid Continental region, the inground sprinkler system installers at Nutri-Lawn strongly recommend considering cool season grass seeds. This type of grass seed grows well in the fall, winter, and through early spring. Cool season grasses are known to flourish when the summers are warm or hot, but dry. Most importantly, these grasses can withstand a wide range of winter temperatures – from mildly wet to frigid and snowy. The three most common types of cool season grasses used by homeowners in Ottawa include: bluegrass, bent grass, ryegrass and fescue grasses.
But which is the best?
While it's impossible to select one clear winner (every lawn has its own unique characteristics, after all), the inground sprinkler system installers at Nutri-Lawn highly recommend two hardy types: Tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. Both types of lawn seed can take the heat of a dry Ottawa summer, both can manage the cold, and unlike some other cool season grasses, both are recommended for heavy traffic areas.
- Tall fescue grass is a tall, dense, clumping grass that grows well in the sun and the shade. It is relatively low maintenance and is capable of tolerating infrequent mowing. While it can survive without water, the Ottawa lawn sprinkler installers at Nutri-Lawn recommend applying adequate water and fertilizer treatments in order to achieve maximum turf quality.
- Kentucky bluegrass mixes will with fine-leaved fescues and is known for being extremely tolerant of heat. Kentucky bluegrass flourishes in the fall and spring, but can sometimes require frequent watering from an inground irrigation system during periods of drought.
A rich, green lawn begins with the proper grass seed application. For help with your final grass seed decision please contact the lawn care and inground sprinkler system experts at Nutri-Lawn Ottawa for a personal recommendation.