You don’t have to be a master gardener to have a lush, green lawn. But you do have to know what needs to be done at the right time to keep your lawn in top shape.
We have compiled this simple list of tips to help you enjoy a great-looking lawn throughout the season, from spring through fall.
Lawn Care Checklist
- Dethatching is one of the most overlooked spring chores. Thatch is a layer of living and dead grass stems and roots and is the natural consequence of a healthy lawn. The right amount of thatch provides a softer surface for bare feet and makes the lawn more resilient to wear and tear.
- However, an over-thatched lawn is too dense and is typically green on top but brown and dead-looking underneath. When you mow an over thatched lawn, the brown layer is exposed, making the lawn look “scalped.”
- If your lawn is soft or spongy, or you have dry spots despite regular watering, your lawn probably needs to be dethatched. For best results, dethatch your lawn about every one to two years in March or April.
- Control crabgrass which is Step 1 of our 4-Step Lawn Care Program. Apply a crabgrass preventer in early to late-April before the soil temperature reaches 60° Fahrenheit.
- Use weed-and-feed which is Step 2 of our 4-Step Lawn Care Program. Apply weed-and-feed when weeds have emerged usually from April 20 through May. This will provide post-emergent control for dandelions and other weeds. It also supplies key nutrients for a healthy lawn.
- Mow as needed. Mowing at the right height will help maintain a dense, smooth, uniform lawn and will help control weeds. Different grasses grow best when mowed at different heights:
- Kentucky bluegrass—1 to 2.5 inches
- Fine fescue grasses—1.5 to 3 inches
- Perennial ryegrass—1 to 2 inches
- Bluegrass/fescue mix—1.5 to 2.5 inches
- Keep those clippings. There’s no need to remove the clippings from your lawn as long as they are small enough to work their way down into the grass. In fact, clippings that decompose on your lawn reduce the need for fertilizer.
- Fertilize in the summer which is Step 3 of our 4-Step Lawn Care Program. Apply a good lawn fertilizer around the 4th of July. Use a blend that will provide a generous amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as sulfur and iron.
- Apply insecticides. The end of May through the month of June is a good time to apply insecticides to lawns to control white grubs. Early detection is critical to minimize damage. Grub-infested areas appear as irregular brown patches that expand over time. Turf in these areas will feel spongy and can easily be lifted from the soil, revealing the pests underneath.
- After applying insecticide, apply half an inch to ¾ inch of water to help move the insecticide into the grubs’ feeding zone.
- Aerate your lawn. This is best done in the cooler weather of late summer (mid to late September). Aeration helps relieve soil compaction, increases water and oxygen infiltration into the soil, and helps control the development of thatch.
- By limiting compaction, aeration helps control a shallow-rooted lawn that is more susceptible to disease, insects, and environmental stresses.
- Control weeds. Now’s a good time to treat for broadleaf weeds. Since lawns typically contain a variety of weeds, use a weed-control product that contains a combination of ingredients.
- Apply winterizer and lawn starter which is Step 4 of our 4-Step Lawn Care Program. Fall is one of the most critical times for your lawn, since it is preparing to go dormant for the winter. Fall fertilization will help your lawn get off to a quicker start in the spring.