Grass from ground angle

We all have year-round commitments: Keeping up with our house, taking care of our family, maintaining our physical health, and caring for our lawn. Sure, lawn care may not be at the top of your list of commitments, but it’s important.

Maintaining a beautiful lawn throughout the year might seem like a huge undertaking. After all, a healthy lawn requires completing specific tasks each season. But understanding the seasonal nuances of lawn maintenance is important if you want it to look great year-round.

In this blog post, we’ll give you some tips for maintaining your lawn through the spring, summer, fall, and winter. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or you prefer using professional lawn care services to handle some of the maintenance, we think applying these tips will help you have a yard that makes you proud.

Spring Lawn Care

Early spring is a critical time of year for lawn care. So, try to get out there as close to the start of spring as possible.

If you have a huge lawn, consider breaking it down by one section of the yard at a time. This will help it seem more manageable. Focus on taking care of just that section and save the rest for another day. It may take a few days or weeks, but it’s a good example of why it’s a good idea to start caring for your lawn early in the spring.

Assessing Winter Damage

Debris from winter may be littering your lawn. So, once spring starts, it’s time to clean up from the previous season. 

You can do this by removing any of the following:

  • Dead grass
  • Fallen leaves
  • Other debris

This clean-up promotes healthy grass roots and prepares for new grass growth.

Note: While you can do this once at the start of spring, feel free to clean up debris throughout the winter. Just be careful to minimize foot traffic.

Spring Cleaning

Once you clean up the debris, it’s time to remove any thatch in your yard. As a refresher, “thatch” is a brownish mix of dead grass, stems, and roots that builds up on your lawn between the soil and the green grass.

It’s important to remove because a thick layer of thatch can block water, nutrients, and air from reaching your lawn’s soil and roots. When this happens, you risk the health and resiliency of your yard.

Fertilization and Weed Control

Weeds can quickly become a huge problem–especially as the weather warms. So, it’s best to proactively tackle weeds during the spring before they get out of hand. 

To do that, consider applying a pre-emergent herbicide. You can spray this chemical on your soil to prevent weed seeds from germinating and growing into plants. A pre-emergent herbicide works great for dealing with weeds like dandelions and crabgrass. This early intervention is crucial for effective weed control.

Mowing and Watering

If you mow your own lawn, keep in mind that your lawnmower’s blades could damage your grass if they are dull. Sharpening your mower blades before your first mow of spring helps ensure your lawnmower makes clean cuts without hurting your grass blades. 

If you aren’t sure how often to mow your grass, here’s a good rule of thumb: Most grass types need mowing once every two weeks during the spring. But cool-season grasses like ryegrass and bluegrass require more frequent mowing in late spring as their growth peaks. 

And if you’re not sure what kind of grass you have, we recommend downloading the PictureThis app on your mobile device. As lawn care professionals, we use this often. It’s free, and it is available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Summer Lawn Care

Maintaining Growth

Before your first mow of the summer, adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. Doing so keeps you from stressing the grass in the summer heat. 

Most grass types need mowing every four to six days during the summer. If you experience a lot of rain, or you have a lot of fertilizer in your yard, you may want to mow every four days. 

But if you have tall fescue and other warm-season grasses, you may be able to get away with mowing less frequently. Just keep an eye on it, and mow on an as-needed basis. Again, the PictureThis app can help you determine the type of grass you have.

Watering and Drought Management

A healthy lawn typically needs about an inch of water per week, either from rainfall or a sprinkler system. During the summer months, it’s best to consistently water your lawn to prevent dormancy in grasses.  

Dormancy refers to the period when grass temporarily stops growing and conserves energy. When dormancy occurs, the grass can become brown. And it can become more vulnerable to damage from pests or foot traffic. 

Grass goes dormant when it gets too cold or too dry. And while it’s normal for dormancy to happen during the winter, you can likely prevent it from happening during the summer. Just ensure it gets about an inch of water each week. 

Broadleaf Weeds and Pests

Two things can significantly damage your grass:

  • Weeds
  • Pests

Fortunately, each of these problems have a straightforward solution.

One type of weed to watch out for is the broadleaf weed. This type of weed grows more aggressively than other weeds. Plus, it consumes more nutrients and water. You can spot broadleaf weeds by their relatively wide leaves that branch from the smaller veins of a main vein. 

To get rid of these weeds, spray them with a post-emergent herbicide, such as 2,4-D. This herbicide kills broadleaf weeds without hurting your grass. 

If you have a lot of grubs and other pests covering your lawn, you can spray the affected areas with insecticides. But be sure to follow all the instructions on the insecticide. You don’t want it to inadvertently damage your lawn.

Fall Lawn Care

Preparing for Dormancy

Fall lawn care is crucial for preparing your lawn for the winter months when dormancy often occurs. To prepare for winter dormancy, we recommend gradually reducing the mowing height of your lawnmower as grass growth slows. 

You may also want to consider overseeding any bare spots throughout your lawn to keep it looking lush and dense. Early fall is the best time to do this, since soil temperatures are still warm enough to support germination. Just buy some new grass seeds and spread them out where necessary. But be sure to overseed your lawn with seeds from the appropriate grass type. 

Fertilization also helps prepare your grass for dormancy. You can apply a slow-release fertilizer that will provide it with nutrients during this period.

Soil Compaction and Aeration

At some point in your life, someone has likely told you, “Don’t walk on the grass!” This is because of soil compaction, which is bad for your lawn. It typically happens as a result of foot traffic, but it also occurs as your lawn settles over time.

Soil compaction makes it difficult for your grass to grow and limits its access to water, air, and nutrients. As a result, your grass becomes less healthy. And you put it at a greater risk of damage due to drought, disease, and pests.

Let’s be clear: Soil compaction is going to occur. Ideally, no one would ever walk on your lawn. But this isn’t feasible–at the very least, you must step on it to mow it. 

To reduce the damage that soil compaction causes, you need to promote healthier root growth. For that, use a core aerator. 

Typically, you only need to use a core aerator once a year (during autumn). The price of a core aerator can be hundreds of dollars or more. And since it’s a once-a-year tool, you may not want to store it. 

Fortunately, many stores let you rent core aerators. For most folks, renting one of these tools or paying a lawn care professional for aeration services are better options than purchasing an aerator. 

Winter Lawn Care

Protecting Your Lawn in Winter

Once winter comes and the dormancy period starts, there are still things you can do to protect your lawn and maximize its chances of looking beautiful when spring arrives.

Start by removing any fallen leaves and other debris that can smother your grass. You may want to do this only once or twice during the winter to avoid unnecessary foot traffic.

Planning for Spring

Late winter is a good time to plan your lawn care schedule for the rest of the year. Consider using a soil test to assess nutrient needs and adjust your lawn care strategy accordingly. 

Your state may offer inexpensive services for testing your soil’s nutrients and pH. You can see if this is available in your area by contacting your state’s department of agriculture and consumer services. Many stores also sell soil test kits and soil testing devices. 

Wrapping Up

Effective seasonal lawn care requires a year-round approach, tailored to the specific needs of your grass type and local climate. From spring lawn care to winter maintenance, each step plays a crucial role in cultivating a healthy lawn. 

It’s easy to forget about maintaining your lawn–especially during cooler months. But remember, consistent lawn maintenance, including proper mowing, watering, fertilization, and pest control, is the foundation of a beautiful lawn.

For more in-depth lawn care tips and advice on lawn maintenance and lawn care services, check out our other posts. We plan to continue posting helpful resources for homeowners like you.

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