Maintenance Calender for Your Lawn
To keep your lawn looking good year round, listed below are some lawn tips that you can follow throughout the year. The bold items indicate the minimum you should do to maintain a usable lawn with the least amount of effort. Other items of the schedule may be done occasionally or in alternate years to upgrade the program. Timing may vary two weeks or more depending on your area and from year to year.
- Use broadleaf herbicides for perennial and winter annual weeds not controlled in the fall.
- Over seed thin spots early if missed last fall.
- Before growth starts, power rake or mow to remove excess old growth; this also speeds soil warming and lawn green-up. Watch for moles, traps are an excellent means of control. Repellants containing castor bean oil and baits containing Warfarin are also effective.
- Have the soil tested if you have not done so recently.
- Start mowing as needed at recommended heights.
- Remove excessive and heavily diseased clippings. Watch for leaf spot and mildew diseases.
- Aerate if thatch is heavy or soil is compacted.
- Use crabgrass-preventers by April 15. Start topdressing low spots as grass grows.
- Fertilize as rapid spring growth begins to slow.
- Apply post-emergence broadleaf herbicides for summer weeds. If needed, start post-emergence control of crabgrass, goose-grass, or nut-sedge near the end of the month.
- Watch for first brood of sod webworm. Apply insecticides about 10 days after major moth flight.
- Start watering as needed. Water infrequently to a depth of 6 inches. Over watering can promote fungal growth, but water frequently enough to prevent drought stress. All grasses under stress are susceptible to disease. Avoid puddles and runoff.
- Increase mowing height by 1/2 to 1 inch if grass stand is thin.
- Rapidly growing lawns need frequent mowing. Taller mowing heights (2-1/2 to 3 inches) reduce the chance for turf scalping. Be alert for sod webworm.
- Lightly fertilize and treat webworm-damaged areas.
- Let clippings remain unless they are excessive.
- Continue frequent mowing, and irrigate only enough to prevent turf wilting (about 1 inch of rain or irrigation per week). When irrigation is needed and conditions are hot and humid, water between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. to reduce disease occurrence.
- Irrigate two to three times a week as soil absorption allows. Avoid frequent, daily irrigation.
- Search for white grubs in brown areas.
- Dead turf in those areas easily can be peeled from the surface. If five to ten grubs appear in one square foot, treat with an appropriate grub insecticide near the end of the month. Thoroughly irrigate to move the insecticide into the zone where grubs are active.
- Fall seeding and sodding is best; prepare seedbed now.
- Continue watering and insect control. Make plans for fall lawn renovation. Select and purchase grass seed and fertilizer. If lawns are to be totally renovated, kill all vegetation with a glyphosate (Roundup) application near midmonth. If trying to kill Bermuda grass, apply glyphosate on Aug. 1 and again one month later.
- Have soil test made if you are unsure of basic fertility level.
- Soak dormant lawns in last week to start fall growth.
- This is the most important time to fertilize; use well balanced lawn fertilizer to apply 1 to 1-1/2 pounds per 1,000 square feet.
- Plant or sod new lawns early; keep soil moist.
- Aerate where needed.
- Rake, de-thatch, kill weed patches; over-seed thin spots. Resume topdressing if needed.
- Late September is the best time for broadleaf herbicides, especially for perennial broadleaf weeds.
October and November
- Mow at regular heights until growth stops.
- Apply lime if soil test indicates need.
- Fertilize moderately after cool days slow leaf growth. Nutrients at this time will encourage root growth and thickening of turf. Soluble nitrogen fertilizers are used more efficiently by turf in late fall.
- Keep leaves from packing and smothering grass.
- Be sure turf goes into winter with moist -- not wet -- soil.
- Recondition lawn mower; store with clean oil and empty fuel tank.
- Use soluble fertilizer or calcium chloride instead of salt for melting winter ice.