The new year is here and if you’re like many people, your lawn is just about the last thing on your mind. The weather is anywhere from nippy to downright freezing, and your landscaping may be covered in snow.
Seasonal Lawn Care Guide
You’re probably thinking that there’s nothing do about your yard but stay by the fire and look through catalogs of the flowers you can plant in spring. But if you’re looking forward to a lush garden and carpet of grass bursting forth after winter is gone, there are a few things you can do now to help it along. Here’s a guide to taking care of your lawn all through the year.
If you’re in a climate zone where winter brings bitter temperatures and snow, enjoy the respite from lawn care. You’ve got enough to do with shoveling paths and staying warm. But do stay off the lawn and certainly don’t drive or park on it on it because even heavy foot traffic on snow-covered grass is going to lead to compaction of soil and roots that will restrict grass from growing later.
In more moderate climate zones, cut down your watering schedule since there are fewer hours of daylight and usually some precipitation. If you don’t have “smart” irrigation controls, remember to adjust sprinkler timers and be aware of weather forecasts, so you’re not wasting water when it’s going to rain.
Whatever the weather, 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 when your lawn needs the most care, and doing these jobs will help to guarantee a beautiful lawn through the summer.
- Rake energetically to remove surface leaves, dead grass, thatch and debris.
- Aerate the soil to open up your lawn to receive nutrients and adequate hydration.
- Test and correct the pH. Grass does best in neutral pH, so adjust soil that’s too acidic or alkaline.
- Pre-treat for weeds. You’ll be glad you stopped them before they started.
- Fertilize to give your grass a vigorous root system and the energy for a long growing period.
- Overseed if you’ve got a cool season grass like bluegrass or turf-type tall fescue, but then don’t pre-treat for crabgrass and weeds because the products that stop those seeds from germinating will stop the grass seed, too. You can read more about overseeding your lawn on the list for Fall.
When the weather is hot, the most important things are watering and some light maintenance.
- Water in the morning after the dew has dried; having the lawn continuously wet can encourage certain fungal diseases. Water deeply rather than frequently, making sure your lawn gets an inch of water each week.
- Mow regularly, cutting only 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 the clippings as mulch and to shield the soil from sun that will dry it out.
- Control weeds by hand-pulling annual, shallow-rooted weeds and doing spot treatments on hardier ones.
After summer weather subsides, these are the jobs that will prepare your lawn for winter and regrowth in spring.
- Overseed in early fall after the stressful heat of summer has ebbed. This entails 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 color and improve its overall health, making it stronger and more able to fend off weeds.
- Fertilize again now if your turf is on a twice-a-year schedule and you fertilized in the spring. The grass will benefit from the extra nutrition as it gets ready to go dormant for the winter.
- Pre-emergent weed control may also be a good idea, depending upon where you live. Weeds may not sprout until early spring, but perennial varieties will be actively growing roots and storing up energy for their reemergence.
- Mow until the grass goes dormant, and then store your mower until spring.
- Clean up by raking weeds and debris, and remove lawn furniture, so it doesn’t compress the ground and welcome pests and disease.
For more useful information, check The Lawn Institute for tips to keep your lawn healthy and thriving.
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