Maintaining a beautiful lawn is a year round endeavor. Maintenance of your lawn begins with good soil, and selecting the best grass for your region of the country. Southern lawn maintenance can be more involved than that of Northern lawns. There are cool season and warm season type grasses. Some of the warm season grasses are Bermuda, Buffalo, St. Augustine, and Zoysia, the cool season grasses include Bentgrass, Bluegrass, Fescue, and Ryegrass.
Spring maintenance includes:
- Planting grass seed should be completed by mid-April. This gives the grass time to grow before the heat of summer hits.
- Rake the seeds gently into the soil, keeping the soil moist so the seeds don't dry out.
- Sodding is a good way to repair bare patches in your lawn; this can be done any time of the year, as long as the ground is not frozen. Keep the roots wet, and avoid excessive activity on the area. It will need to be mowed as it grows.
- Avoid fertilizing in the spring; this tends to develop the shoots and not the roots. If you must fertilize use only a quarter of what the instructions say to use
- Applying chemicals to kill weed is best completed in early spring, a second application may be need in mid-May
Summertime maintenance includes:
- Beating the heat is the secret to having a good-looking lawn all summer.
- Minimize the stress of the summer heat by watering before dawn. The object of watering is not to get the grass wet; but to get the roots wet. Try to get the soil moist at least four inches down. Daytime irrigation loses most of the water to evaporation. Watering after sundown can create lawn fungus.
- Spraying for weeds should be completed before the temperature goes above 85 degrees.
- Mowing your grass. The taller the grass is above the ground the deeper it is below the ground. The more established the root system is, the better it can absorb and manage water when it needs it. Your lawn mower blades should rise in accordance with the rise in temperature.
- Shape mower blades are necessary to make a clean cut about two to two and a half inches tall. Grass should not be allowed to get too tall; if it does it should be cut in several mowing, instead of all at once.
- Avoid fertilizing in the summer; this will make the grass more vulnerable to heat and drought.
Fall maintenance includes:
- Feeding your lawn. Now is the time to fertilize, one application in the early fall and another before the first cold snap. This is the first aid and CPR your lawn needs after all the activities of the long hot summer. The grass maybe brown on the top, but there is lot of growing good on beneath the surface.
- Watering is still necessary if there isn't regular rainfall. The water is needed to saturate the fertilizer and encourage root growth.
- Mulching the leaves adds nutrients to the soil to help it recover from the stress of the summer.
- Raking the leaves is necessary if you chose not to mulch. They cover the lawn and shut off the sunlight, just as the fertilizer is headed to the root system.
- Reseeding should be done in August and September. You can repair bare spots, rejuvenate weak areas, and create new sections.
Winter maintenance includes:
- Mowing should not be done in the winter; the grass is not growing and can not repair itself. If mowing must be done, do it at the highest setting on your mower.
- Keep your lawn free of leaves and debris during the winter months, keep traffic to a minimum if possible. The grass needs to rest.
A few procedures taken at the correct time of year will easily result in a lust green lawn for your summer enjoyment.