Do you want a lush, green lawn that’s inviting and adds to the beauty of your home but feel overwhelmed with the work required?
If so, you’re not alone.
There’s a lot of information out there on how to care for your lawn, and it can be daunting to wade through it all and decide what's best for your situation. That’s why we, the team Pure Turf, created this simple guide to seasonal lawn care.
Today, we want to make lawn care understandable and straightforward. To do that, we are going to take it step-by-step and look at what you should do for your lawn in each season.
But, before breaking down lawn care for each season, we need to address three factors affecting seasonal lawn care.
There is also a transitional region across roughly the center of the country. In this region, either warm or cool season grasses can flourish. (Pro tip: Choose a warm and cool season seed blend to keep your lawn green longer!)
Grass type informs the optimal times for soil testing, dethatching, aeration, and seeding. We'll focus on a combination schedule since Tennessee falls squarely in this transitional zone. Just remember, you may need to adjust time frames slightly.
There's notable climate variance even if we only consider the transition zone. For example, Southern Pennsylvania tends to have longer winters than Northern Alabama. Keep this in mind and adjust our seasonal recommendations based on the climate in your area.
There are almost endless lawn care options out there. That’s why setting goals for your lawn and how much time you want to spend caring for it is important. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
What do I want my lawn to look like?
How much time do I want to spend doing lawn care?
Am I okay with a decent yard, or do I want the best in town?
These questions will help guide what you prioritize and invest in. And remember, you can always hire a professional and massively reduce the amount of time you spend caring for your lawn!
Now that we’ve addressed these initial considerations, let's dive into our seasonal guide.
The Seasonal Lawn Care Guide
Spring Lawn Care
March, April, May
Spring is an exciting time! As the weather warms, you may need to resist the urge to get started on lawn preparation too early. This won’t actually help and could cause harm to your lawn. Ensure the ground isn’t frozen, and your grass is greening and beginning to grow before you begin!
Begin by raking leaves, dead grass, small sticks, and any other debris that has collected over the winter months.
Test the Soil
Give your lawn a strong start by testing the soil nutrient and pH levels. This will guide how you fertilize your lawn later in the season. This is something you can do yourself with an at-home soil testing kit. You can also get your lawn professionally tested as part of a lawn care package or by working with a local nursery or university.
It's best to fertilize at the start of the grass’s growing season. For cool-season grasses, mid-spring is the optimal time. Fertilize warm-season grasses in late spring.
Late spring through early summer is the best time to treat grub larvae.
If you have an irrigation system, ensure everything is in working order. Repair any damages you find, so you’ll be ready for the summer irritating season.
If you’re concerned about weeds, apply pre-emergent herbicides in early spring to prevent new weed growth. If you’ve overseeded your lawn, skip this step, as it will stop your grass seeds from sprouting.
Topdressing refers to the practice of spreading a thin layer of organic material over the surface of your lawn. This improves soil texture, improves soil microbes, reduces thatch, and more.
The number one summer maintenance task is mowing. How often and how high you mow will vary based on weather and other factors like HOA requirements. However, here are a few general guidelines you can use.
Mow every four to five days.
Be careful not to mow your grass too short.
We recommend waiting till your grass is at least three inches high before mowing. Remove only the top third for optimal regrowth.
If you applied herbicides in the spring, weed shouldn’t be a huge problem. If you do have weeds in your yard, you can pull larger ones by hand or apply a post-emergent herbicide.
It's important to irrigate regularly, especially if you live in a dryer climate. Be aware of the weather patterns and don’t over water.
A lawn's beauty can be marred by fungal ailments such as Brown Patch, a fungus that can harm all cool-season grasses. It thrives in conditions of high humidity and nighttime temperatures above 60˚F, leading to prolonged leaf wetness, commonly occurring in mid-May in Middle Tennessee. Our prevention plan consists of four treatments, commencing in mid-May and spaced 28 days apart to safeguard your lawn throughout the summer.
Treat for pests just as grubs, beetles, etc., as needed.
While not strictly necessary, some homeowners prefer to fertilize regularly. If you choose to do this, apply fertilizer in the early morning while the weather is still cool.
Autumn Lawn Care
September, October, November
Lawn care maintenance continues strong into the early autumn months. You’ll also want to start preparing your yard for the winter months ahead.
Continue weed control methods as needed. Clearing weeds from lawns in the fall is essential for multiple reasons. It prevents weeds from competing with grass for vital resources, such as nutrients and sunlight. It can also reduces the risk of diseases and pests harbored by weeds spreading to the grass.
You won’t need to mow as often as the weather begins to cool and the growth rate slows. Leave the grass clippings on the lawn for added fertilizer and protection from the cold. If you live in a cooler region, mow your lawn shorter, 1 ½ - 2 inches shorter than you did in the summer. This reduces the risk of snow mold and makes raking leaves a lot easier.
Choose a slow-release fertilizer that will slowly enrich your lawn over the winter. Fertilizing your Tennessee lawn in the fall is vital for strong roots, efficient nutrient uptake, and weed suppression. It aids in recovery from summer stress, ensuring a lush, vibrant spring growth, and a resilient lawn.
If you’re reseeding your lawn, ensure you do so at least two months before the first frost is likely.
Debris removal is more important at the beginning of the fall season. As winter approaches, some leaves can actually be helpful for protection and fertilizer.
Aerating your lawn reduces soil compaction and helps air, water, and nutrients reach grass roots. It's a good idea to aerate at least once a year. If your lawn is a high-traffic area, aerate again in the fall. Core aeration is the method we recommend. You can do this by hand, rent a machine, or hire a professional.
Overseeding is usually a fall activity, but spring is a good time to overseed any thin patches in your lawn.
Depending on the climate in your area, you should continue irrigation through September.
Winter Lawn Care
December, January, February
You may be surprised that there are lawn care-related tasks for the winter. There are only a few, so winter is your time to relax and plan for spring.
Be sure to winterize your irrigation system, close outside spigots, and store hoses.
Keep your yard looking good (even when it's brown) by removing debris.
Complete routine maintenance on your lawn care equipment. This includes oil changes, blade sharpening, cleaning, and more.
Winter can be a good time to plan for what you’ll need in the next growing season. You can order supplies early to ensure you’re ready to go when spring arrives again!
How Pure Turf Can Help
We hope you found this blog helpful and feel empowered for confident, all-season lawn care!
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