If you ever wanted to learn what it takes to make your lawn green, lush, and vibrant, you came to the right place! The only way your neighbor can compete with your lawn after following this seasonal guide is if they follow the same exact steps.
Are you ready to finally have the nicest lawn in the neighborhood?
A vibrant and healthy lawn requires months' worth of time, energy, and devotion. You cannot simply work on your lawn for a few months out of the year if you want it to survive and thrive all year long. You must pay careful attention to it regardless of the season. You can get a lawn that you can be proud of every month of the year by knowing what actions to take each season to keep it growing strong.
Early Spring (March and Early April)
Early spring is the ideal time to prepare your lawn for the upcoming summer growing season as well as address any repair issues with it. The supplies you should have on hand for early spring lawn care include:
high-quality grass seed (I like Scotts EZ Seed, Pennington Smart Seed, or Kentucky 31 grass seed)
weed killer (I use Roundup Weed and Grass Killer Concentrate Plus, Preen Garden Weed Preventer, or Gordon's Speed Zone Lawn Weed Killer)
a lawn dethatcher attachment or machine (you can rent either from the Home Depot)
a lawn aerator machine or attachment (you can rent a machine or an attachment for your mower from Home Depot)
grass fertilizer (I like to use Miracle Gro water soluble fertilizer, Grow More cold water fertilizer, or Vitamin Institute SuperThrive)
high-quality mulch (my favorites are made by OldCastle, Scotts, and Preen)
Before you do anything else for your lawn during this season, you should first patch any bare spots by spreading new grass seed. Once you lay new seed, you should remember to water it every day until the grass reaches mowing height, which is no less than two inches.
After you patch the bald spots in your lawn, you should then address problems like crabgrass and weeds. Crabgrass can be a particular challenge to address because of how hearty and resilient it is. This thick, aggressive, and unsightly grass has a knack for invading and overtaking healthy lawns quickly.
Along with crabgrass, you also may find yourself fighting troublesome weeds like bind weed and dandelions. These types of weeds also crawl and spread quickly throughout your lawn. They are difficult to keep at bay without using some type of weed killer on them.
Once you patch bare spots and treat your grass for weeds and crabgrass, it is time to do the first mow of the season. You should set your mower at the highest level possible, ideally between two to four inches. You want the extra height during the first mow to make sure your healthy grass has a chance to set deep roots in the lawn. If you mow too closely, you could kill your lawn and have to reseed it.
You should then aerate and dethatch your lawn to get rid of undergrowth and provide a path for healthy nutrients to soak into the soil. If you do not have an aerator or dethatcher attachment, you can rent one from Home Depot.
Getting your lawn off to the best start for the season requires you to know how much seed, weed killer, and other supplies to buy. You can find out your lawn's square footage by looking up your house on websites like Zillow or Realtor.com. Also make sure to set a calendar reminder for yourself by linking to this article so you do not miss out on these important lawn care tips once the first of March arrives.
Late Spring (Mid-April to Mid-May)
As late spring approaches, you should be ready to put more time and effort into your lawn particularly if you want it to look its best once summer begins. The supplies you will need on hand for late spring lawn care include:
an aerator attachment or machine, which can be rented at Home Depot if you do not have either
a dethatcher machine or attachment, available at Home Depot for rent or purchase
lawn seed for overseeding (my go-to favorites are Scotts Turf Builder Thick'R Lawn, Pennington Smart Seed, or Pinnacle III perennial grass seed)
dandelion killer (check out Scotts Spot Weed Control, Compare N Save Grass and Weed killer, or Ortho Weed B-gon)
grub killer (I like to use Scotts GrubEx, Pyranha Wipe N Spray, or Country Vet Purge)
Before you begin with your late spring lawn care, you will want to verify how much square footage you are working with this season. Again, check on websites like Realtor or Zillow to find your house and then discover how big your lawn is.
Next, you should inspect your lawn and determine if you need to make it thicker. After the bald patches grow in from your early spring lawn care, you can decide if your lawn is thick enough or if you want to make it even thicker. Use turf builder grass seed to overseed the lawn if you want a thicker and lusher landscape. Make sure to water your lawn once a day until it reaches the ideal mowing height, around two to three inches tall or as tall as the grass that surrounds it.
You also need to go on the attack against dandelions, which thrive during this time of year. Kill dandelions and prevent them from spreading by using a high-quality dandelion killer like Scotts Spot Weed Control or Ortho Weed B-gon. If you allow dandelions to overtake your lawn, you will find it challenging to keep them at bay and to protect the healthy grass that you want to thrive during the summer months.
Dandelions are not your lawn's only enemy during the late spring. Grubs also can destroy all of the hard work you put into your lawn. Grubs are newly hatched beetles that feast on the roots of grass and other vegetation.
Allowed to thrive, these pests will strip your lawn of its lushness and vibrancy. They will leave patches of bald soil in their wake and make your lawn unsightly. You can kill them quickly by using a grub killer during the late spring when grubs hatch.
Finally, as with early spring lawn care, you need to continue to aerate, dethatch, and mow your lawn. Aerating the lawn ensures that plenty of nutrients and vitamins get into the soil and to the roots of your grass. It helps your grass take root and ensures that it grows healthy and strong during the summer months.
Likewise, dethatching prevents weeds and undergrowth from overtaking your lawn. You should dethatch your lawn at least once a week, ideally before or after you mow.
During the late spring, you can start to mow your grass at a shorter length if you prefer. The bald patches should have grown in by now and have healthy enough roots to protect them during mowing.
What Is The Perfect Lawn Mowing Height?
The ideal height for your mower should be determined by the type of grass you are growing in the lawn. However, most landscaping efforts agree that it should not be shorter than two inches if you want your lawn to continue to do well during the summer.
It is easy to remember the tips for lawn care during the late spring when you set a reminder for yourself. Link your calendar alert to this article so you do not miss out on late spring lawn care starting in mid-April.
Early Summer (Late May to Mid-June)
Early summer lawn care is not quite as intensive or time consuming as the care you gave your lawn during the early and late spring months. Your shopping list for early summer lawn care should include:
lawn food (I like Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food, Vitamin Institute SuperThrive, Miracle Gro Water Soluble lawn food, or Safer Brand Ringer lawn fertilizer)
grub killer (I most often use Scotts GrubEx, Pyranha Wipe N Spray, or Country Vet Purge to kill grubs)
weed killer (my favorites are Scotts Spot Weed Control, Compare N Save Grass and Weed killer, or Ortho Weed B-gon)
a lawn sprinkler system or a high-quality garden hose
The amount of supplies you purchase for your lawn will depend on the size of your property. If you do not know how many square feet of lawn space you have, you can easily find your property on Zillow or Realtor.com to find out for sure.
Before you feed your lawn, you may want to mow it first. Unlike when mowing in late spring, you need to go back to using a relatively tall height on your mower during early summer. This taller height ensures that your lawn's roots remain undamaged as the weather gets warmer. A taller height also allows the grass to naturally shade itself and resist withering and drying out, which can happen quickly if it is mowed down to a shorter height.
Also, you should avoid bagging your lawn clippings but rather allow them to lay wherever they are spread after you mow. They act as a natural mulch for your lawn and can actually help nourish the soil and grass roots.
After you mow the lawn, you can use your favorite lawn food to nourish the grass and introduce nutrients into the soil and roots. You do not necessarily have to aerate the lawn before or after using the lawn food. You can simply spread the food and allow it to soak into the grass on its own.
You still want to be on guard against grubs during this time of year, however. Not only will grubs eat up the lawn food that you spread over your grass. They also will eat away at the grasses' roots if you do not kill them and control their population. Grubs hatch from late spring into the hottest months of summer. You cannot let your guard down against grubs if you want to protect the roots of your grass.
You also need to be on guard against weeds during the early summer. Weeds like bindweed and crabgrass love the warm and humid weather experienced during this time of year. You need to continue using your favorite weed killer all summer long to kill weeds and crabgrass.
Finally, you should finish off your lawn care for early summer by deeply watering your lawn. You ideally want the water to soak at least four to six inches deep into the roots and soil.
This deep watering keeps your grass hydrated sufficiently during a time of year when the weather could dry out the roots and soil. If you do not want to stay outdoors using a garden hose to water your lawn, you should invest in a good sprinkler system that you can move around your lawn as needed to hydrate your grass.
Early summer lawn care should begin no later than the latter part of May. Set your calendar reminder t link to this article so you do not miss out on these simple but important early summer lawn care tips.
Late Summer (Late June to Early September)
As the summer months come to an end, it is important that you do not let your attention be diverted from your lawn's best care. The late summer months are just as important as those in the early spring when it comes to keeping your lawn looking and growing its best.
Your shopping list for late summer lawn care should include:
liquid lime (I use CAL FLO liquid lime, The Dirty Gardener Cal Flo liquid lime, and Pennington Fast Acting lime)
an aerator attachment or machine, which you can rent from Home Depot if you do not have your own
lawn seed (my favorites are Scotts EZ Seed, Pennington Smart Seed, or Kentucky 31 grass seed)
lawn fertilizer (I use Miracle Gro water soluble fertilizer, Grow More cold water fertilizer, or Vitamin Institute SuperThrive)
weed killer (I like Scotts Spot Weed Control, Compare N Save Grass and Weed killer, or Ortho Weed B-gon)
The first action you should take for your late summer lawn care is to add lime to the soil. During the late summer months, the soil in your lawn can become too acidic. You need to make it more alkaline if you want the grass to continue growing well.
When you add liquid lime to your lawn's soil, you essentially mellow it out and make it more ideal for growing. You also granulate the soil and help it breathe better. The lime improves the soil for growing not only grass but also other vegetation like flowers, trees, and shrubs.
After you add lime to the soil, you should then aerate the lawn again. Aerating the lawn can be particularly crucial if it has experienced a substantial amount of foot traffic throughout the summer. When you aerate the lawn, you loosen compacted soil and ensure that nutrients can get back down to the roots of the grass and vegetation growing there.
When you have finished aerating the lawn, you should look it over and see if there are any bald or sparse patches that need to be reseeded. Elements like the rain and wind as well as foot traffic and even inadvertent neglect can cause patches of your lawn to become sparse and bald.
You can take care of these patches by adding more turf and grass seed to them. Just as in the early spring months, make sure that you water the new seed once a day until it reaches a height for mowing, ideally around two inches.
Along with seeding bald patches in the yard, you should also continue to fertilize the lawn. Fertilizing during the late summer can be important for ensuring your grass's growth into the early and late fall months. You do not want your grass to become dried, withered, and brown prematurely. Fertilizing it will help it remain vibrant and healthy throughout the remainder of the growing season.
The last precaution you should take with your lawn during the late summer months involves keeping it free from weeds. Weeds will assuredly continue to grow late into the summer when other vegetation like annual flowers will be nearing their natural end.
You need to be on the lookout for and ready to kill weeds like bindweed, foxweed, witchgrass, goose grass, foxtail, and sandbur. These weeds thrive in the hot and humid months of late summer and can quickly overtake your yard if you do not kill them with a high-quality weed killer.
The late summer lawn care should begin no later than the latter part of June. You can check on Zillow or Realtor.com to find out how big your yard is and how much of each supply you need to purchase for your lawn's square footage. You also should set your calendar reminder to link to this article so you can be quickly and easily reminded of when it is time to start your late summer yard work.
Early Fall (Mid-September to Mid-October)
Once fall arrives, you might be tempted to stop working in your yard and let the elements overtake it for the season. In fact, there is still plenty that you can do to protect your lawn from the upcoming cold weather. Your early fall lawn care supply list should include:
lawn fertilizer ( try out brands like Miracle Gro water soluble fertilizer, Grow More cold water fertilizer, or Vitamin Institute SuperThrive)
liquid lime ( CAL FLO liquid lime, The Dirty Gardener Cal Flo liquid lime, and Pennington Fast Acting lime are a few to check out)
an aerator machine or attachment that you can rent from Home Depot
mulch (consider OldCastle, Scotts, and Preen)
a dethatcher attachment or machine that you can rent from Home Depot
Your early fall lawn care should start with heavily fertilizing your lawn. You might wonder why you should save the heaviest fertilizing for the early fall. Why not do the heaviest of fertilizing during the early spring when the growing season is just beginning.
In fact, when you heavily fertilize your lawn in the early fall, you stimulate critical grass growth that should keep your lawn alive throughout the winter. The grass will send out filler and runners into areas of the lawn that are becoming bare. The fertilizer will also help your lawn produce food that will sustain it during the cold winter season.
Along with fertilizing your lawn, you should also improve the soil quality by adding liquid lime to the soil. The lime makes the soil more alkaline and improves the condition of the grass roots. It encourages the roots to go deeper into the soil, which is critical for helping the grass survive the winter. The lime also fosters the production of natural nutrients within the soil itself.
Your next step should be to aerate your lawn once more. Early fall aerating activates biological compounds within the soil. It also provides organic matter that the lawn can live on during the cold winter months.
After you aerate the lawn, you should then add a healthy layer of mulch to it. Heavily mulching the lawn adds a protective layer over the grass and its roots. It keeps the grass warm and fed until early spring arrives.
Dethatching should be your next step after aerating. Dethatching involves not only getting rid of the old grass clippings on top of your lawn. It also removes undergrowth and fosters an equal temperature throughout the entire lawn, which is imperative for keeping a uniform appearance and quality. Dethatching actually prevents your lawn from decaying during the wintertime.
Once you dethatch your lawn, you should look over the lawn once more to see if there are any areas where you need to reseed. You can also add more seed to renovate the overall look and lushness of the lawn. Continue to water the newly seeded areas for at least a week until you can safely mow over them.
You should give your lawn a final mow during the early fall season. The final mow should remain at a relatively tall height so you avoid harming the grass's roots. This tall height also helps the grass build up a reserve of nutrients that it can survive on until the weather turns warm again.
Set your calendar reminder and link it to this article so you can start your early fall lawn work once the middle part of September arrives. These simple measures can get your lawn ready for the upcoming winter season.
Late Fall (Late October to Mid-November)
As the late fall approaches, you still have plenty of time to protect your lawn and keep it healthy and alive. Your shopping list for late fall lawn care can be relatively short. In fact, aside from a good mower and a handy rake, you may only need to buy weed killer to address any lingering pesky weeds in your yard.
If you have not done so already, you should give your lawn a final mow for the season. Again, you should keep the height of the mower rather tall, no shorter than two to three inches. This height not only fosters the production of nutrients in your grass's roots. It also prevents your yard from becoming a haven for field mice and other pests during the wintertime.
After you mow the yard, you should kill off any weeds that you can find. Crabgrass, chickweed, and bindweed are known to grow far into the late fall months. They are resilient and aggressive, always ready to strangle your lawn for the last bits of nutrients they can soak up and use to be ready to grow again in the spring.
Using your favorite weed killer, you can get rid of the lingering growths of weed and ensure that their seeds do not become burrowed in the soil. This late fall weed killing will ensure your lawn is free from threatening vegetation when the early spring months arrive.
Finally, you should continue to rake your lawn and remove leaves for as long as necessary in the late fall months. The fallen leaves might look pretty as they spread out over your yard. In reality, however, they are a threat to the underlying grass and vegetation.
They can quickly suffocate your grass and cause bald patches to develop in the yard. You should rake them up and make them into compost that you can use in your garden next summer.
The late fall may seem like the ideal time to let your lawn work go. However, you still have enough to do to make sure your lawn survives the winter and is ready to grow healthy and strong next spring. Set a calendar reminder to this article so you know exactly when it is time to start your late fall yard work in the latter part of October.
Winter (Late November to Early March)
As the fall turns to winter, you may think that your yearly lawn work is now finished. After all, how much lawn work can you do when the ice and snow are falling? You have done your best to protect your lawn from dying with all of the work you have done during the spring, summer, and fall months, right?
In fact, your yard still needs your attention after winter arrives. It is still alive despite it hibernating and being dormant for the season.
With that, your shopping list for winter lawn care should include:
an aerator machine or attachment that you can rent at Home Depot
dethatching attachment or machine that you can rent from Home Depot
lawn-friendly rock salt (I like Scott's ice melt, Safe Step, or Quad Melt)
Before the first snow lands on your yard, you should continue to fertilize your lawn as needed. The fertilizer will act as a protective barrier between your grass and the elements. You should also aerate the lawn before the ground freezes to keep the soil soft and well-nourished. Once the ground freezes, you cannot aerate again until it thaws. You should seize upon this last opportunity to protect and nourish the soil while you can.
Additionally, you should continue to dethatch your lawn and remove undergrowth before the ground freezes. This action removes harmful vegetation that could choke the lawn as it lies dormant, preventing the grass from getting off to a good start in the spring.
Finally, you should take care with your lawn during the wintertime to keep the grass as strong as possible. This precaution means minimizing the foot traffic that goes over it during the wintertime. Even the most minimal of foot traffic during the winter can kill off the healthiest of grass.
Further, you should take care with the type of rock salt you use to melt ice and snow. Rock salt that is not lawn-friendly can poison the grass and cause ugly bare patches that you will need to address once spring has arrived.
You can get your wintertime lawn care off to the best start by setting a calendar reminder to this article. You will know exactly when you should begin your winter lawn measures once late November arrives.
Each season demands its own variety of lawn care. When you want your lawn to look its best and grow healthy and strong, it is critical that you know what tasks to undertake according to the time of year. These measures allow your yard to remain vibrant and alive regardless of the season.