Creating an enviable lawn isn’t a “one and done” project—it isn’t self sustaining. But, with a little work every season (and a little more in some), you can nurture a lush, barefoot quality lawn with major curb appeal.
This is the time where a little prep work makes all the difference. Planning now means that come spring, you’ll be all ready to go.
1. Sharpen Your Mower Blade
A dull blade will tear your grass, so sharpen it now and once a month during cutting season. Now is also the time to buy a backup blade.
2. Tune Your Mower
Purchase a new spark plug and air filter for your mower. It may not need it now, but it’s a good habit to change them each year so they don’t blow out on you while using your mower.
3. Buy Fresh Gas
Stale gas can take in moisture. Moisture will ruin small engines. After months of storage, it’s a safer bet to get new gas. Be sure to properly dispose of the old gas.
4. Rake Your Lawn
We can hear you groaning. Yes, you raked your lawn last fall, but giving it a fresh rake will remove any dead grass or debris lingering from fall. It also controls thatch, stems and roots that have not decomposed and accumulate near the soil surface, which prevents new growth.
Birds are singing, grass is starting to grow and mowing is almost in full swing.
Even if you fertilized before your grass went dormant, fertilizing now is essential to enriching your soil with nutrients.
Aeration punches holes in the ground which gives water and fertilizer access to roots. It’s best to aerate a damp, but not soaked, lawn.
3. Apply Pre-Emergent Herbicides
To preemptively strike at crabgrass and weeds, apply herbicides when your soil temperature is at 58℉, the temperature at which crabgrass begins to grow.
Watch out for grubs! Now that the weather is warmer, grubs may begin to grow under your sod. If you notice brown or wilted patches that aren’t from a pet (if they are, simply dilute the area when they’re done with their business), pull back the sod and count the white, c-shaped grubs. If there are more than 10 per square foot, apply a pesticide.
You’ll notice you’re pulling out the mower more often now. Be sure that you’re only cutting off 1/3 or less of the grass blade to make sure it grows throughout the season.
2. Remove Weeds
If any weeds somehow evaded your pre-treatment, remove them with a garden fork. If you feel you have an especially prevalent problem, you may want to treat your lawn again.
Summer is the height of growing season. To keep your lawn healthy and green:
- Set your mower blade to 3 inches.
- Water the lawn deeply and infrequently. Aim for 1 inch per week.
- Clean under the mower once a month to keep a clean cut, and to prevent debris and disease. Sharpen the blades while you’re at it.
- Regularly rake up the clippings and twigs since they block sunlight and decompose.
As your lawn starts winding down, so can you. Now is the best time to repair your lawn in preparation for the next growing season. To patch bare or thin spots, follow these steps:
- Remove the dead grass.
- Break up the soil with a garden trowel.
- Add 1 inch of compost and work it into the soil.
- Add grass seed.
- Work it 0.5 inches into the soil with a hard-tooth rake.
- Sprinkle over with grass clippings to keep in moisture.
- Lightly water the area once a day.
The growing season is over and you can finally take a break! During the fall, your only job is to keep your lawn leaf free. So maybe it’s not much of a break…
- If you’re in the northern third of the country, fertilize your lawn now to lock in nutrients during winter.
- You can mulch leaves to add to the soil. This is optional.
- If necessary, now is the time to start your lawn over by seed.
Ok, now you can actually take a break.