A beautiful carpet of green grass is the finishing touch for your home. Not only is it a welcome to your guests and an asset to your neighborhood, but it’s a major contributor to a healthy environment. Bet you didn’t know that a 50-foot by 50-foot swath of lawn absorbs carbon dioxide, traps and breaks down pollutants, and releases enough oxygen every day for a family of four.
All that goodness deserves — actually demands — care. And the easiest way to make sure it gets that care is to have a lawn treatment schedule that gives you a plan for the whole year. The climate where you live will determine the finer points, but there’s a general flow to the process that you can fine tune for your personal locale.
Here are the basic steps to drawing up your own seasonal schedule:
We’re in the middle of the season now where the most important things you can do are water and some light maintenance.
Water in the morning just after the dew has dried, because keeping the lawn continuously wet can encourage certain fungal diseases. Water deeply but less frequently, making sure your lawn gets an inch of water each week.
Mow regularly, just taking down one-third of the grass blade height each time. The higher the grass, the deeper the roots are, and the more moisture they retain. Leave clippings in place as mulch and to shield the soil from sun that will dry it out.
Keep weeds in check by hand-pulling annual, shallow-rooted weeds and doing spot treatments on hardier ones.
When the weather starts cooling, it’s the right time to do the jobs that will ensure that the lawn is ready for winter and a fresh rebirth in spring.
It’s time to overseed your lawn after the stressful heat of summer has abated. What this means is sowing the seed over your entire lawn, not just the areas that are bare or thinning. The process will improve the density of the lawn, revive its vibrant color, and improve its overall health, making it more likely to fend off weeds.
If your turf is on a twice a year fertilizing schedule, and you fertilized in the spring, now is the time for the second round of fertilizing so the grass can benefit from the extra nutrition as it gets ready to go dormant for the winter.
Pre-emergent weed control may also be called for, depending upon where you live. Weeds may not pop up until early spring, but perennial varieties will be busy growing roots and storing up energy for their reemergence. Stopping them now is a good idea.
Mow until the grass goes dormant, and then put away your mower ‘til spring. Ahhh.
Clean up by raking weeds and debris, and remove toys and lawn furniture so they don’t compress the ground and invite pests and disease.
If your grass is dormant and all you see out the window is snow, then kick back and enjoy some well-deserved time off. In warmer climates, you can cut down your watering schedule since there are fewer hours of daylight and, with luck, there’s some rain.
Wherever you live, you can spend some time getting your tools ready for spring. Scrub off old dirt, remove rust, lubricate pivot points, and sharpen blades on hand tools and your mower.
This is the season when grass most deserves your attention. Doing these annual jobs will determine how lush your lawn is through the summer.
Rake vigorously to remove surface leaves, dead grass, thatch, and debris.
Aerate the soil to correct compaction caused by weather and foot traffic. This opens up your lawn to receive nutrients and adequate hydration.
Test and correct the pH. Grass thrives in neutral pH, so you’ll want to adjust soil that’s too acidic or alkaline.
Pre-treat for weeds. The best time to stop them is before they start.
Fertilize to give your grass a strong root system and the energy for a long growing season.
Check The Lawn Institute for lots more information that will help you to a lawn that’s beautiful all year round.