Lawn Maintenance Checklist: Learn What You Need To Do Each Season
All plant life and life cycles are dependent on the environment they grow. We see this from observing how surrounding vegetation changes at the onset of fall or spring. Like other plants, the needs of the grass in your lawn also change with every season of the year. But unlike those plants, your lawn needs your help to thrive throughout the year.
An essential part of lawn maintenance involves specific lawn care routines for each season. A good lawn maintenance schedule will let you protect your lawn from pests and diseases. As IPM Property Management says, when you know what to do and do it at the right time, you can keep the cost of lawn care low and maximize the benefits of owning a lawn and keep your investment safe.
What should you be doing for your lawn during the four seasons? A lot depends on your location and the type of grass. But some tasks are common to every lawn. It doesn’t matter where you live and the kind of grass on the field. The following lawn maintenance checklist outlines the seasonal chores that every lawn will need.
Lawn maintenance checklist
1. Spring lawn care
● Inspect your lawn after the snow has melted and rain starts falling. You want to see whether puddles are forming anywhere on the surface and if you might need aeration.
● Prepare your tools and equipment. Get out your mower, leaf blower, rake, and other stuff. Check blade height, sharpness for the mower, and fluid levels. Inspect your tools and service lawn equipment that needs it.
● If there is a lot of thatch and the soil appears compacted, you will need to aerate the lawn. It is not a DIY task; get an expert to do it.
● For healthy grass growth, soil pH should be around 6.5. A soil pH test will tell you where the lawn stands and whether you need soil amendments.
● Lightly rake the soil to dethatch it. Removing dead grass, leaves, debris, and twigs from the soil surface will stimulate airflow and improve nitrogen exchange.
● Apply pre-emergent herbicide along with fertilizer before the temperatures get up to the mid-high 50s (the temperature at which crabgrass starts to germinate). You may also need to follow up with nitrogen fertilizer and spot spraying.
2. Summer lawn care
● Evaporation rates will increase as temperatures get higher. Drier windy conditions mean your lawn will lose water at a greater rate. You will compensate for the losses by increasing your watering schedule. At this time, the lawn requires 1 inch of water to thrive.
● Keep grass at the right height; never cut your grass more than 2 inches - 2 ½ inches in summer. Shorter grass makes it easier for weeds to take root. Longer grass has more vitality and will also protect the soil underneath.
● Summer is synonymous with an explosion in the populations and variety of bugs. More bugs can mean more problems for the lawn and it is important for property managers to control any pest in the property. When it comes to lawn care, do not use broad-spectrum insecticides; those will also kill beneficial insects. Use organic solutions or granular pest control.
● Deal with mystery spots on the lawn. These result from under-watering or a fungus. If you send photos of the areas to your local nursery, they can tell you the cause.
3. Fall lawn care
● When you see the signs of approaching fall, reduce the amount of watering you do. Aim to keep the lawn hydrated but not watered to saturation point. Lower the mower blades to cut the grass shorter. Do this until growth stops.
● Dead leaves on the lawn will smother the grass; remove them with a rake. That will let more sunlight get to the roots of the grass and keep the shoots strong as winter arrives.
● If you did not do it in spring, you need to dethatch. But do not set the tines of the dethatcher too deep; the goal is to improve airflow and moisture intake, not rip up the lawn.
● Reseed, if you deem it necessary, but till the soil, before putting in the seeds. To keep them from drying out and dying, add a thin layer of compost and keep the area moist.
● You may also want to apply a winterizer or stage-4 fertilizer.
4. Winter lawn care
● Most winter lawn maintenance happens away from the lawn. A good portion of this will be to prepare for spring. That is the time to get the information you need for next year’s lawn care.
● Store your equipment as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Before you put tools away, make sure you clean them. Depending on what the manufacturer says, store the mower with a tank full of gas or empty.
● Lastly, stake the perimeter of your lawn to protect it from plows and snow throwers. Only use de-icing chemicals on the lawn when it is unavoidable.