Everyone loves a lush, green lawn. But that thick neighbor-envying grass isn’t just pretty to look at or comfortable to walk on; a well-manicured lawn can boost your home’s curb appeal and even its value. Maintaining your lawn regularly will also help keep weeds and harmful pests away.

Keeping up with lawn care is a year-round job (just ask any dad!), but the results are definitely worth it. Follow our lawn care calendar for an easy way to create a healthy and beautiful lawn all year long.


Spring (March, April, May)

– Clean up your yard. Rake up fallen leaves and dead grass. Throw away sticks and other debris.

– Test your soil. You want to know if the nutrient levels and pH are in a good range. You can buy an at-home soil test kit or send it over for a professional analysis to your local cooperative extension, nursery, or university. They will advise on any treatments needed. For example, you can use fast-acting lime to restore pH balance.

– Get your mower ready. Sharpen the blades or have them sharpened. Tune-up the mower. Replace the air filter and spark plug if needed. Fill it with fresh gas.

– Aerate your lawn. Aeration makes holes in your lawn, which open up pathways for air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots of the grass. After you aerate, break up the cores of dirt and leave them on the surface of the grass. They will decompose back into the soil.

– Dethatch. Thatch is a layer of buildup between the soil and grass. A thin layer of thatch helps to insulate the roots and keep moisture in. However, any layer thicker than a half-inch can suffocate your lawn. Check for the thatch level by digging up a patch of grass. Use a dethatching rake to break up the thatch throughout your lawn.

– Fertilize. If you live in cooler climates, fertilize in early spring. Warmer climates can wait until mid to late spring. Use a slow-release fertilizer for the best long-term results.

– Apply herbicides. When the soil reaches 58 degrees Fahrenheit, apply pre-emergent weed control, which keeps weeds like crabgrass from springing up. You can find soil thermometers at garden stores. Consider a pet-friendly herbicide if you have pets using your yard.

– Mow your lawn when the grass starts growing. Cut slightly lower than usual for the first few times. Then, mow as usual, and leave the clippings to decompose. They will help add nutrients to the soil

– Water your lawn so that it gets 1 to 1-1/4 inches of weekly moisture, including rain.


Summer (June, July, August)

– Keep mowed grass tall. Put the mower on the tallest or second-tallest setting. Keeping the blades high will help to shade the soil, reduce water evaporation, and fight against competing weeds.

– Treat grubs. These c-shaped pests are actually the larvae of Japanese beetles. They are nearer the surface during this stage. You can have some grubs, but too many in your grass will damage it. Dig up a square foot section of sod and count the grubs. Less than 10 is fine. If you find more, you will want to apply some type of chemical or organic control. (Not that organic treatment options take longer, and sometimes years.)

– Control weeds. You previously treated with a pre-emergent herbicide. Now try a post-emergent one, when weeds are present. Choose from selective herbicides which will target the weed or nonselective ones which could harm the grass around it. If you choose the second option, read the directions carefully.

– Fertilize to increase energy stores for winter. It may be summer but your grass will be storing nutrients for its dormant season. Plan to fertilize 6-8 weeks before your region’s first expected frost.

– Water your lawn. Use a water calculator to give your lawn the ideal amount for your region.


Fall (September, October, November)

– Keep mowed grass short. By late fall, your mower should be set to about 1.5-2 inches shorter than in the summer. This helps prevent shttps://www.bewaterwise.com/calculator.htmlnow mold and leaves from matting into the grass. Make your final cut of the year slightly lower than normal.

– Test your soil. Make any recommended corrections before winter sets in.

– Fertilize. Feed cool season grass to encourage strong root growth. (To know if your grass is cool season, scroll down to types of grass.)

– Treat with pre-emergent herbicides. Once nighttime temperatures are in the 65-70- degree Fahrenheit range, it’s time to apply herbicides to prevent winter weeds from germinating.

– Reduce watering. Your lawn’s need for water will decrease as rainy season sets in.

– Patch and seed. You may have some bare patches or thin areas. This is the time to seed them. Spread the seed, work it in with a rake, and add a thin layer of straw on top. This will help protect it from the birds and the weather. Water these areas regularly for the first few weeks until the grass is about an inch tall.

– Remove or mulch fallen leaves. You want to improve airflow to the grass roots. This will also help reduce the risk of disease.


Winter (December, January, February)

Melt ice carefully. Rock salt can damage your lawn but there are ice melts that are designed to be used on grass.

– Consider a midwinter edging. You can keep your lawn neat with an edge and trim as needed.

– If you have trouble areas, take soil samples. Make sure to thaw them out before you test them.

– Fight winter weeds. You can spot green weeds among brown dormant grass. Apply herbicide as needed.


Know Your Grass Type

Did you know grass type varies by region? If you generally experience cold winters, you live in a place with cool season grasses. If you’re in the southern U.S., you live in a place with warm season grasses.

Knowing your grass type will help you decide what to plant and what will grow best on your lawn.

    • Cool season grasses: Kentucky Bluegrass, Annual Ryegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Fine Fescue, Tall Fescue, Creeping Bentgrass
      • States: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming
    • Warm season grasses: Bahia grass, Bermuda grass, Buffalo grass, Carpet grass, Centipede grass, St. Augustine grass, Zoysia grass
      • States: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas

Some grasses like zoysia work in warm and colder climates. Check with your local garden store on recommendations for what grows best in your region.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.


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