Have you ever wondered what goes into having a lush, green, and attractive lawn? It all comes down to performing some basic tasks during each season to keep your property in optimal condition.
Just as your garden has seasons of growth, dormancy, and detailed task checklists by season, your lawn has four distinct times of year for specific seasonal lawn care maintenance. Check out our seasonal lawn care maintenance guide for tips on how to set your lawn up for successful growth all year long.
Spring Lawn Care
Lawns are beginning to awaken, and signs of new life are everywhere once spring rolls in. As your lawn emerges from winter dormancy, it can use some TLC to give it its best start.
Here are some essential spring lawn care tasks to bolster your lawn as it initiates its growth cycle.
Rake Your Lawn During Spring
A thorough raking wakes up your lawn, loosens up thatch, and removes spent roots and stems that can prevent the soil below from absorbing essential water and nutrients.
- Rake up any stray leaves, sticks, and debris.
- Rake the lawn to remove thatch.
- Toss all the contents from your raking endeavors into a pile and get started composting.
Aerate Your Lawn in the Spring
Aeration means removing plugs of soil from the lawn so that air, water, and nutrients can access grass root systems. This is most easily done with a rented gas-powered aerator but can be completed with a manual rolling aeration tool.
Soil can become compacted over time, and debris can accumulate and choke out your lawn, making aeration an important part of seasonal lawn care. The ideal time to aerate your lawn to prevent soil compaction is in the spring, as temperatures begin to warm up.
Spring Lawn Care Tips: Mowing
Before initiating your spring mowing schedule, keep these tips in mind:
- Make sure that your soil is not too wet, the ground is fully thawed, and the grass has awakened from dormancy.
- Ensure that your mower blades are sharp. Dull blades will tear your grass rather than cut it, causing damage.
- Set your mower to 2.5″ – 3.5″ and never remove more than 1/3 of your lawn height when mowing.
Fertilizing Spring Lawns
Fertilize your grass after the first mowing of the season. Use 1 pound of nitrogen fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of grass.
Spring Lawn Repair
Repair dead patches by raking the area of dead grass and planting new grass seed. Keep the area of new seed watered thoroughly as you complete the rest of your seasonal lawn care.
Summer Lawn Care
The summer months are when lawns tend to get the most use. Intense sun, drought, summer picnics, lawn games, and frolicking children on summer break can cause a lot of wear and tear on your lawn. Keep your turf looking its best during the time when your grass gets the most traffic and activity with some regular seasonal lawn care maintenance tips.
The Best Way to Mow Your Summer Lawn
Continue to mow regularly and as needed. Leave the clippings on the lawn, and remove only one-third of the grass height at one time.
- Always use a sharp blade to cut your grass. Dull blades damage grass, which causes your lawn to need more water.
- Cut the turf to a height of about 2.5″ to 3″, cutting only the top third of the grass where it is thinner. These clipping will decompose quickly, thereby feeding your lawn with essential nitrogen.
- Mow grass when it is dry, aiming for completing the task in the cooler mornings and evenings.
- As summer progresses, raise the mower height; taller grass holds up better to heat and drought.
- Alternate your mowing pattern to avoid creating strips or ruts.
Summer Lawn Watering Tips
Water grass during the summer in the mornings as needed; soak until the lawn receives about 1 inch of water per week. As always, adhere to any water usage guidelines for your area.
Fall Lawn Care
Fall brings cooler temperatures which means less stress on grassy areas. It’s time to help your lawn transition to its resting winter phase.
Aerate your Lawn in the Fall
After much of the active season’s foot traffic has ceased, the best time to aerate your lawn is in the fall.
Fertilize Your Lawn in the Fall
The fall is the ideal time to fertilize your lawn because it encourages deep and healthy roots to develop over the winter months.
- Apply gypsum after aerating to assist in opening up your soil so it can absorb water and nutrients more efficiently. The granular minerals deposit themselves into the holes left behind from aeration.
- Fertilize in early autumn with an organic fertilizer, and always follow instructions bag.
- Follow up with a late fall application of cornmeal to prevent spring weeds.
Fall Lawn Care Tips: Mowing
Mow your lawn lower and less frequently throughout the fall months. An organic lawn is traditionally mowed higher to allow more nutrients to develop, but when the grass is beginning to enter dormancy, you can mow it a bit lower. Set your blade to 2.5″ during the fall, and lower it to 2″ for the last season’s cut.
Planting Grass Seed in the Fall
Fall is the perfect time to overseed new lawns or spots that need refreshing.
- Begin mid-October in mild-winter climates; in cold-winter climates, overseed in mid-September.
- Now’s the time to patch up bare patches in the lawn. Use a stiff rake to scratch the soil with a hard rake, scatter your grass seed, and cover with a light layer of compost or high-quality garden soil. Water frequently until grass seed germinates.
Weeding Your Lawn in the Fall
Some prominent weeds go to seed in the fall, so you’ll want to remove them from your lawn before they propagate.
- Pull them out by hand
- Spray weeds with vinegar and dish soap solution, using care not to spray surrounding plants and healthy grass.
Raking Your Fall Lawn
Raking leaves off your lawn makes your landscape look tidy, prevents patchy damage on the turf, and adds essential brown matter to your compost pile.
Winter Lawn Care
Lawns may be resting throughout the winter, but there are still some things that you can do to take care of your lawn and ensure that your turf will receive the best care throughout the year.
How to Service Your Lawnmower
Keeping your lawn tools in tip-top condition is a must as you perform seasonal lawn care maintenance so that they will work efficiently when you need them to in the spring.
- Clean and repair your mower parts.
- Drain the gas from the mower, as any gas left in over the winter can clog your mower’s fuel lines.
- If you decide to leave gas in the fuel tank, be sure to start your mower two times per month throughout the winter months to keep the fuel lines free from clogs.
Seasonal Lawn Tool Maintenance in Winter
This is the ideal time of the year to maintain your rakes and other lawn tools to keep them in the best working order.
- Start by using steel wool or a metal grill brush to clean any debris off your rakes and tools.
- Wipe surfaces with a damp rag.
- Use coarse sandpaper to scuff away any signs of rust on metal surfaces.
- Dab vegetable oil onto a rag and wipe metal surfaces.
- Use a piece of sandpaper to slough away any rough or splintering spots on wooden handles.
- Wipe wooden handles down with a rag wet with linseed oil.
The Importance of Raking Your Lawn in the Winter
Raking leaves up off of your lawn is an important step in seasonal lawn care because it makes your landscape look tidy, prevents patchy damage on the lawn, deters disease, and is an excellent source of nutrient-rich brown matter for your compost pile.
Fertilizing Your Winter Lawn
If your lawn is green in winter, lightly dose it with a nitrogen fertilizer in late winter.