Lawn care is much more than simply mowing every week and making sure to water – as your grass goes through its natural life cycle, it's important to adjust your treatment plans to conform to that life cycle. As we usher in the start of the new year, we've put together a Lawn Care New Year's Resolution plan to help you keep your lawn healthy and fighting for every year of the month!
During the winter, grass growth is especially slow. Grass may be all-but dormant or completely dormant during this time of year, so while it is important not to mow too often, an occasional mowing will help keep grass at the right length as well as helping to break down fallen leaves and pine needles. The shredded leaves will help to insulate your grass and feed it during the spring.
During the winter, it's normal for your grass to take on a less green, more yellowish hue as it goes dormant during the colder months. When this happens, winter weeds can be easy to spot, as they'll be the only deep green spots on your lawn. These weeds can be spot-treated with products that do not hurt the dormant grass, and your spring lawn will be better for it.
Grass might begin turning more verdant as time goes on at this point, and you will start to notice much faster growth. By keeping your mower blades high, you can ensure that your grass isn't cut too short, but that it is being cared for regularly during this early spring period. If you've noticed a lot of fallen branches or sticks, it's more important than ever to get those off the lawn as they will post a risk both to your lawn and to your mowing.
Now is the time to get into the nitty gritty with lawn care. Rake your lawn early to remove leaves, sticks, and grass that did not survive the cold, and prepare to aerate and overseed your lawn. As weather starts to warm, it may be time to ramp up watering sessions – just be careful to not overhydrate!
This time of year, water is all-important. Ensure your lawn is well-hydrated during this harsh time period. At the same time, spend some time pruning your trees with damaged or dead branches. Pruning now will prevent damage at the hand of falling limbs during summer storms.
August is one of the hottest points in the year. Make sure that you're watering regularly (as much as 2-4 times per week!), and if you're noticing that your lawn isn't absorbing the water the way it should, now might be a good time to aerate.
At this point, we're getting ready to settle into autumn. This is the best time of the year to perform tasks such as core aeration and overseeding. In the meantime, keeping those mower blades low will encourage your grass to take on deeper roots, helping keep it alive through the impending cold. As leaves begin to fall, be sure to rake often to maintain your grass's access to sunlight.
As the weather starts to cool down, the main challenge for a lawn is access to nutrition. For your grass, this means a clear view of sunlight and metered access to water. Conduct tests on your lawn to ensure the pH is healthy and that grass roots have plenty of access to nitrogen. If your newly overseeded lawn has started to germinate, try to mow grass at least two times before the first frost.
While it may feel like it, now is not the time to stop mowing the lawn. You may need to do so less often, but continuing to mow the grass before it goes completely dormant for winter will help it stay healthy through the winter. Rake often, as tree leaves will block grass's access to the sun, as well as creating a moist area for fungus to take hold.
This month is all about protecting grass while it is most vulnerable. Now that the grass is likely completely dormant, try to reduce lawn traffic as much as possible to prevent weakening and breakage. If you plan on putting up holiday decorations, be careful on the grass to avoid creating dead spots when the weather warms up again.