A great lawn can be rewarding, as it increases your curb appeal and your property value. It also creates an inviting space for outdoor activities such as cookouts, sports, playing with your kids or simply relaxing at the end of the day. While spring may be the best time for outdoor fun, lawn care is a year-round proposition.
When it comes time for you to plan your lawn care schedule, you have two primary options: doing it all yourself or hiring a professional such as Liquid Lawn. If you want to try to do it all yourself, there’s a strict schedule of tasks that need to be done every season. Your lawn is like having another child. It needs care and feeding all year long to make sure it grows up to be healthy and strong.
There are many tasks to do when spring rolls around to take great care of your lawn. Professional lawn care services can handle all of these for you, but they’re all doable if you have the time and energy to undertake them. You can begin these tasks when the weather starts warming up.
- Thatch and rake your lawn. Removing the thatch — the yellow-green layer of dead grass that’s covering the ground between your healthy, growing grass — and raking up any debris left from fall and winter will leave your lawn ready for the new growing season. Bermuda grass here in the south needs more thatching than some other varieties. Put the thatch and other yard debris into your compost pile.
- Test the pH of your soil. Your soil’s pH should be around 6.5, neither too acidic nor too alkaline for grass to grow successfully. You also need to be aware of any nutrient deficiencies for the type of grass in your lawn. You need the right balance of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potash, or potassium salts, for your lawn to thrive.
- Aerate your soil. This basically means creating holes in the dirt so water and nutrients can get to the roots of your grass. There are different ways to aerate your lawn, including:
- Core aerators, which pull two to three inch plugs of dirt out. Leave the plugs in your lawn to decompose naturally…
- Slicing aerators help break up the thatch and leave grooves in the ground for water and fertilizer to reach your lawn’s roots.
- Spike aerators, which simply poke holes in the dirt. Some homeowners wear spiked sandals while they do yard work. However, spike aerators can compact the dirt around the holes, which makes it harder for nutrients and water to reach the roots.
- Fertilize your soil. There are several fertilizers on the market. Make sure the fertilizer is the best for the time of year, as well, since grass has different needs as the seasons progress. With warm-season grass here in the South, fertilize every 6-8 weeks in the growing season.
- Prevent weeds by using a pre-emergent on your lawn. This will help keep weeds at bay. If you do wind up with weeds, there are a variety of spot-treatment options for you to choose from.
- Edge and mow your lawn regularly. Edging your lawn first will let you mow up the trimmed edges of your lawn. Depending on rainfall and sunshine, you may have to mow once or twice a week. Here in the South, we recommend cutting your warm season grass to a height of 2-3” depending on the cultivar in the spring to prepare it for a new season of growth.
- If you use one, set up your irrigation system. Provide about one inch of water once or twice a week, depending on rainfall. This encourages your grass to grow deeper, healthier roots than if you watered more frequently for less time. You can use a combination of drip irrigation and spray heads.
When the heat of a Georgia or Florida summer comes, lawn care becomes more crucial to maintain a bed of lush, green grass. Many of the tasks of yard work will be the same as in spring, with a few variations here and there. You may want to pay a professional for lawn care services, freeing up your time to spend with your kids during their summer vacation.
- Water your lawn regularly. Water in the morning or evening to avoid too much evaporation. If you have an irrigation system, set it to run overnight for the least evaporation possible.
- Apply a summer-grade fertilizer at the end of summer for warm-season grasses to keep your lawn healthy and looking its best.
- Use herbicides to kill weeds. If your weeds are few and far-between, use a spot herbicide. If they’re more widespread, you can use a weed killer across the breadth of your yard. However, it’s best to try to minimize the chemicals you put on your lawn.
- Use insecticides for bugs like Japanese beetle grubs or fire ants. The beetle grubs will eat your grass. Fire ants are nasty and can cause serious injuries to your pets or children playing outside. If someone is particularly susceptible to fire ant venom, an attack by these pests could be fatal. Get them out of your yard as quickly as possible.
- Mow your grass higher. In the South, we recommend a height of one to three inches. Cut your lawn every five to seven days on average, depending on the weather, with your mower’s blade on the highest or second-highest setting.
- Consider starting a journal about your lawn care. Keep track of when you mowed, fertilized and applied herbicides. Note any problem areas of your yard. List any products you tried and what the results were.
With cooler weather coming in, your grass starts growing more slowly. You’ll need less mowing time, but that doesn’t mean less yard work time. Professional lawn care services such as Liquid Lawn can take the work off your hands so you can get ready for the upcoming holiday season.
- Aerate your yard. You’re going to be doing some work to prepare your lawn for winter, so making sure the soil is ready to accept seeds, fertilizer and water is critical.
- Seed and fertilize your lawn. Spread grass seed over your entire lawn, not just on bare patches. This gives your lawn a more lush feel under your feet and makes it the envy of the neighborhood. Use a fertilizer specifically designed for autumn use.
- Rake leaves to make sure your grass is getting the sunshine it needs to stay healthy. As you rake the leaves, thatch your lawn. Compost the leaves and thatch for future use.
- Mow your lawn as it needs it. Our warm season grasses can be cut to a height of 2-2.5” tall in autumn. You can probably get away with mowing every 14 days in the fall.
- Pick up any debris that’s cluttering your yard. This includes things like twigs, acorns, or fruits that have fallen from trees or bushes into your lawn. You can add these to your compost for additional nutrients.
In the cooler months, lawn care lessens but doesn’t go away entirely. It’s a good time to reflect on your yard work journal and make plans for the coming spring. If you hire a professional for lawn care services, you could spend time on hobbies or focusing on your family instead.
- Before the first frost, aerate and fertilize your lawn. Use a fertilizer that’s appropriate for the winter dormant period.
- At the first frost, cut your grass short, no more than 2-2.5” high. This lets your grass lie dormant for the winter.
- Clean, repair and maintain your equipment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for each piece of equipment you own. Some should be stored with a full tank of gas, while others should be drained of fuel for the winter. Sharpen the blades on your lawn mower so it will cleanly cut the grass instead of shredding the tops, making your lawn look ragged.
While you may get the most enjoyment of your yard during the spring and summer months, lawn care is a year-long commitment. Fertilizer should be applied, weeds addressed and pests eradicated regularly, not just when your lawn starts to suffer.
There aren’t any shortcuts to having a great lawn. Discipline and routine are crucial to having a lush, green lawn your neighbors will envy. You need to have a solid plan in place to take care of your yard all year long. However, if this list of chores seems daunting, don’t hesitate to hire a professional lawn service such as Liquid Lawn to take care of all your yard care needs.