Fall Lawn Care Schedule for Beginners
If your lawn is looking like a DIY project after the stresses of summer and heavy foot traffic, there’s good news – it’s the perfect time to start a new fall lawn care schedule.
Bermuda Grass Treatment Plan. Also Good for Zoysia
You don’t always need tons of tools or lawn care equipment, though having the basic yard tools can help. We want to make sure you get the most out of your lawn so we created this fall lawn care schedule for you to follow throughout early, mid and late fall.
Fall Lawn Care Schedule Overview
|Lawn Care Task
|1. Bare spots 2. Thin patches of grass 3. Dead areas in your lawn
|1. Aerate your lawn 2. Overseed your lawn
|1. Clearing debris leaves 2. Mulching
Early Fall (September)
Early fall lawn care should include tackling:
If you have warm-season grass, you’ll want to do this while temperatures are high. For those with cool-season grass, it’s best to hold off until when the weather begins cooling.
Lawn Care Tips for Early Fall
In small spaces, start by loosening the soil, either by hand or using a garden rake, and remove any dead grass or thatch. The next step is to sprinkle grass seed and lightly rake the seed into the loose soil to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. Next, you can add either a rich compost to create a growing bed or an appropriate application of fertilizer. And, be sure to apply water to help the grass seeds take root.
Early fall can also be a great time to care for those more troublesome weeds, like creeping Charlie. If you have annual weeds in your lawn, there is no need to treat them at this time as they will soon die.
The middle of fall is when you want to:
Lawn Care Tips for Mid-Fall
By aerating your lawn and loosening the soil, you can better prepare the grass for a healthy lifecycle. Seeding is also important during this time, as the fall burst of growth in cool-season grass is some of the most natural and easy to take care of.
Although you may be tempted to fertilize and mow at this time, it’s important to give your new fledgling grass a chance to take root. Stay away from the fertilizer altogether, and FOCUS instead on things like edging and trimming.
To take care of all your yard tasks, check out our Toro Turf Renovation Equipment, as these tools are designed to get beautiful results over a large surface area.
Late Fall (November)
Lawn Care Tips for Late Fall
As the cool weather continues, you’re going to start seeing a lot of debris and leaves falling from nearby trees and bushes. Your main job now is to keep that debris from covering your lawn and preventing sun and water from getting to the grass and roots. Learn more about why you shouldn’t let fall leaves cover your grass.
A mulching mower, or a Toro mulching attachment for a zero turn mower, will go a long way in breaking up the leaves and organic matter without damaging the grass below. This mulch is also a great way to put nutrients into the soil without introducing fertilizers, so take advantage of as much (or as little) of it as you want.
Hard Work Pays Off
A little bit of fall lawn care now can make a major difference next spring. Way to put in the work to set your Spring lawn up for success!
Lawn Care Calendar for Warm-Season Grass
Warm-season grass may be adapted to the hot summers and mild winters of the southern half of the US, but that doesn’t mean it will thrive year-round without work. How can you set your warm-season lawn up for success in all four seasons? A lawn care calendar could be the answer you’re looking for.
This lawn care calendar caters to your climate and warm-season grass types. Follow this step-by-step lawn maintenance schedule to meet your healthy lawn goals.
What is warm-season grass?
If you live in the southern states, you probably have warm-season grass. As the name implies, these turfgrass types originated and thrive in warm climates with hot summers and mild winters.
Warm-season grasses also grow in the transition zone in the middle of the country but can be challenging to manage there because of the colder winters.
Here are the most common warm-season grass types:
Warm-season grasses grow actively in summer. They’re more drought tolerant than their northern cool-season grass counterparts but susceptible to cold, turning dormant and brown when average air or soil temperatures drop below 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. In states with especially mild winters, warm-season grass may stay green all year round.
Why is this important? Understanding your lawn’s growth patterns allows you to apply lawn treatments at the ideal time. Most treatments work best while your grass is actively growing, but others can wait until the slower winter months. There’s usually a little wiggle room, but keep a close eye on your calendar so you don’t miss any crucial time Windows. You could waste your time and money if you apply treatments at the wrong time of year.
Pro Tip: Always read product labels carefully. Some products won’t work with warm-season grasses, and others won’t be effective at certain temperatures.
Do you live in the North or the transition zone? A cool-season lawn maintenance calendar could be helpful.
Monthly lawn care calendar
This maintenance calendar shows which months you can or should complete each lawn care step. The white check marks show the ideal time. The black check marks show possible times. Not all treatments have an ideal time.
The following calendar reflects meteorological seasons, which means seasons begin on the first day of the month rather than on solstices and equinoxes.
Want a monthly calendar for your specific grass type? The University of Georgia has calendars for Bermudagrass, Centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and Zoysiagrass designed for homeowners.
Early spring lawn chores
Your turf is waking up from its winter slumber. Now’s a great time for a lawn care makeover, so here’s how to get a head start on the year.
Once soil temperatures are above 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, keep an eye on your lawn’s growth. Here are the ideal mowing heights for common warm-season grasses:
|Suggested Height (inches)
|Mow at This Height (inches)
Never cut off more than one-third of the grass’ height. Doing so could damage the grass. If you have a mulching lawn mower, leave those clippings on your lawn so they’ll decompose and reintegrate into the soil.
Your turf needs about one inch of water each week. Spring showers may help you along the way, but water it yourself if your grass is wilting or changing color. Keep watering your grass throughout summer and fall until the grass reaches winter dormancy.
Note: Wait until the last frost has passed before you water. A cold snap could freeze the irrigation water and your grass, causing damage. Don’t let a false spring trick you into watering too early.
Get a soil test
Before fertilizing your lawn, you should know what’s in your soil. Get a soil test from your local cooperative extension to see what nutrients your lawn needs. The test will also tell you if you need to make any other adjustments to your soil.
Apply soil amendments
Your soil test results may recommend soil amendments to adjust pH. Soil pH measures acidity and alkalinity. If your soil is too high or too low on that scale (generally above 7 or below 6), your lawn could suffer the following consequences:
You can change your soil pH with organic or inorganic soil amendments like lime (raises pH) or sulfur (lowers pH). Lime can be applied any time of year as long as the ground isn’t frozen, but fall is the ideal time to apply. Sulfur needs heat to react with your soil, so it will work best in spring.
Soil amendments take a while to break down, so don’t expect instant results. Test your soil every six months when making adjustments. Patience will pay off and create a healthier lawn in the end.
It may seem a little early to treat summer weeds now, but pre-emergent herbicides can prevent summer annuals like crabgrass before they happen. You might even be able to get ahead of the late spring weeds if you apply pre-emergent herbicides in March.
Even though annual weeds only live for one year or season, they can still ruin the appearance of your lawn, steal valuable resources from your grass, and spread seeds for the next year.
Perennial weeds like nutsedge live for at least two years. They appear to die off in fall or winter but are secretly surviving underground, biding their time until spring. While this gives you more chances to eradicate them, it also gives them more time to damage your yard. You’ll need to combine several mechanical, chemical, and cultural techniques to keep them at bay.
- Mechanical: Pull and dig up weeds using your hands or tools. Pulling up parts of the weeds will weaken them, but digging up the whole root system will get rid of them for good.
- Chemical: Apply pre-emergent herbicides to prevent new perennial weeds. What if the weeds have already sprouted? Apply post-emergent spot treatments to any weeds that pop up in your yard.
- Cultural: Reduce weeds by improving your lawn care techniques. Overwatering, poor drainage, contaminated soil, and unhealthy grass all create an environment that welcomes weeds.
Pro Tip: Don’t apply herbicides when you expect rain or other irrigation within 24 hours. The water could reduce the effectiveness of the products.
Rake the grass
Rakes aren’t just useful for fall leaves; they can also benefit your turf. Rake your lawn to wake up your grass and repair damage from pink snow mold.
Late spring lawn chores
It’s getting warmer, and your warm-season grass is slowly building up speed. Here’s how to set it up for success before the summer growing season.
You may need to mow more frequently than before as your grass picks up speed.
Now’s your last chance to prevent those summer weeds with pre-emergent herbicides! Keep applying post-emergent herbicides to any weeds you see popping up.
Planting new grass
Want to plant new sod to repair a patchy, damaged, or non-existent lawn? Technically you can do this any time of year as long as the soil isn’t frozen, soaking wet, or covered in snow. But you may as well do it when the grass grows well (late spring through summer).
Pro Tip: If soil temperatures are above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, wait for things to cool off so your grass will have the best chance.
Unfortunately, cute baby birds aren’t the only creatures hatching this time of year. Insects like grubs and chinch bugs will start snacking on your lawn, so keep an eye out for damage and respond promptly. If you can pull up grass easily or see brown spots, you may be dealing with a lawn pest infestation.
Early summer lawn chores
It’s heating up outside, and your turf is growing strong. Now’s a great time to take advantage of that accelerated growth with treatments you couldn’t do earlier. Your grass will be able to recover from invasive treatments like aeration and dethatching since it’s growing quickly and at its strongest.
Now that your grass is thriving, you may need to mow more frequently. Increase your mowing height by up to half an inch to keep the soil under your lawn shady and cool. If you cut your turf too low, your soil and grass could dry up.
You’re not the only one feeling dehydrated in the hot summer sun. Keep a close eye on your turf and give it a drink if it wilts, curls up, or doesn’t bounce back from footprints. Drought strikes many southern states, and your lawn often suffers the consequences.
You may be limited in how often you can water your grass by local restrictions, but here’s how to prepare for drought and make the best of the situation.
- Check local ordinances: Some cities restrict what times you can water. Don’t miss these crucial Windows.
- Water in the morning: You should be doing this all year, but it’s especially important in summer when the water is even more likely to evaporate in the hot sun. Water the lawn before 10 A.M. Watering the lawn in the evening creates a cool, moist environment that attracts pests and diseases.
- Conduct a water audit: A water audit is an assessment of water waste performed by you or a professional. Check sprinklers for leaks to ensure water isn’t going where it’s not supposed to.
Your grass needs nutrients when it’s actively growing to green up. Fertilizer is how your lawn gets those essential nutrients, including nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Use your soil test results as a guide when choosing a fertilizer, and read the labels carefully for watering instructions and ideal temperature ranges.
If it’s too hot or dry, your lawn could suffer from fertilizer burn. Fertilizer burn is more likely with quick-release fertilizers, so use slow-release fertilizer instead.
Pro Tip: Check local fertilizer ordinances. Some states restrict or ban phosphorus fertilizers to prevent harmful runoff and algae bloom.
Aeration and overseeding
Try sticking a screwdriver into the soil. Was it difficult? If so, your lawn is probably compacted and needs aeration. Core aeration creates small holes in your turf to allow the grass roots to access air, water, and nutrients. It also improves root system growth.
Aeration is often paired with overseeding since it allows the seeds to enter the soil. Overseeding is the process of spreading new grass seed over an existing lawn to fill patches or thicken the turf. June is a great time to aerate and overseed your lawn.
Thatch is the plant debris that builds up on your lawn’s soil. While a little thatch is healthy, too much (usually more than half an inch) can suffocate your turf and create the perfect environment for pests and diseases.
Aeration removes some thatch, but it may not be sufficient if you have a large amount. Dethatch using a manual dethatcher, electric dethatcher, power rake, or vertical mower.
Lawn pests can ruin your summer fun, whether they’re biting you or damaging your lawn. These are the most common summer lawn pests to keep an eye out for:
- Sod webworms
- Chinch bugs
- Mole crickets
Late summer lawn chores
Since warm-season grasses slow down in fall, late summer is your last chance to take advantage of its growth for the following treatments:
While you can squeeze these treatments into early fall, they won’t prove as effective.
Winter annual weeds germinate in late summer to fall, so you can apply pre-emergent herbicides for them now.
Do you know what this is the perfect time for? Grub control. August and September are when grub eggs hatch, and they’ll be more susceptible to pesticides now than ever. If you treat these newly hatched grubs now, they won’t be able to overwinter in your lawn’s soil and wreak havoc next spring.
Early fall lawn chores
Is that an autumn leaf you see? Cooler weather slows warm-season grasses down. Here’s how that will affect your lawn care schedule.
Your lawn isn’t completely done growing yet, but it will likely slow down. Keep measuring and mowing, but go ahead and lower your mowing height half an inch if you raised it in the hot summer months.
Rake and mulch the leaves
If you have trees around your lawn, those beautiful fall leaves can affect your turf in negative and positive ways. Wet leaf piles can smother the grass, grow fungus, and harbor pests. Raking and disposing of leaves is an essential part of both fall and winter lawn care.
What about the benefits? Mulch leaves using a mulching lawn mower to add nutrients to the soil and control weeds. If leaves cover more than 50% of your lawn, then you should probably bag or repurpose them just to be safe. You don’t want to overwhelm or suffocate your lawn. Why not use those extra leaves as compost or mulch for your garden beds?
Overseeding with cool-season grass
Wish your lawn could stay green longer? Overseed your lawn with cool-season grass such as ryegrass. The cool-season grass can withstand colder temperatures and will die off in the spring and summer, leaving room for your warm-season grass to grow again. Keep the new grass seed moist while it germinates.
Note: Bermudagrass does the best with winter overseeding. Centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and Zoysiagrass don’t do as well with ryegrass overseeding.
Apply pre-emergent weed control for winter weeds now if you haven’t already. Keep applying post-emergent weed control for anything that’s already on your lawn.
Grubs are on their way out this time of year, but you may still have a chance to treat them in September. Other common fall lawn pests include:
- Chinch bugs
- Sod webworms
- Mole crickets
Apply soil amendments
Fall is a good time to apply soil amendments since they will have plenty of time to break down before your grass starts growing again in spring. Get an updated soil test to see how the soil pH is doing, and apply the amendments it recommends.
Late fall lawn chores
As the weather cools down and the leaves fall, it’s tempting to halt lawn care and spend time inside with a warm beverage. However, you must prepare your lawn for winter. If you don’t, you could leave your future self with a headache come spring.
Depending on your local climate, you may be free of mowing soon. Warm-season grasses go dormant when average air or soil temperatures are below 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep mowing until your grass stops growing or turns brown. You can gradually lower the mowing height to allow better airflow and water drainage but never go below the recommended height for your grass type.
Keep treating those weeds, but here are some things Kansas State University recommends to keep in mind:
Early winter lawn chores
Isn’t it grand to relax inside when the weather’s cold? Things have finally slowed down for your lawn, but you still need to keep an eye on it. The warmer your winters, the more work you’ll need to do (though it’s still a nice break compared to the previous seasons).
If average temperatures drop below 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re off the hook for mowing. The colder the weather, the more sensitive your grass will become, so you don’t want to stress it out and thwart its health for next year.
Note: If you live in a warm, subtropical area, your lawn might keep growing in the winter. Keep mowing based on the previous instructions.
Before you put your lawn mower away, it’s time to winterize it. Emptying the fuel tank, checking the oil, and sharpening the mower blades will make your machine last longer and save you from a springtime mower disaster. Keep it in a dry place where it won’t get wet or freeze.
Though your lawn needs less water than usual, it may still need supplemental irrigation in winter. Watering allows the grass to keep essential activities going, such as root growth. Cut your watering by about half, or water when there’s been no rainfall in three to four weeks.
Winter annual weeds have arrived. Though they’ll die out naturally in summer, treat them now so the seeds don’t spread. Here are the weeds to look out for:
Lawn pests tend to be dormant during the winter, but they may still be in your yard. Keep your lawn, trees, shrubs, gutters, and trash cans tidy so pests have fewer places to hide and fewer things to eat.
Late winter lawn chores
Happy New Year! New you, new lawn. Soon the cycle will begin again, but you’re in the final stretch of the year. Luckily for you, there’s very little you need to do to prepare for the upcoming spring season.
Those spring weeds will be there before you know it unless you plan ahead. Apply spring pre-emergent weed control to make life easier.
Buffalograss, Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, and bahiagrass are the most drought-tolerant warm-season grasses.
No shade? No problem! Bermudagrass requires full sunlight to thrive.
It depends on your specific circumstances. What’s your soil like? How often do you use your lawn? What part of the country do you live in? Here are the three easiest warm-season grasses to maintain:
Centipedegrass is tolerant of infertile soil, crowds out weeds, resists pests and diseases, and requires less fertilizer and mowing. However, it doesn’t have a high tolerance for wear, cold, or salt, so it may not be a good choice if you have a lot of foot traffic, live near the coast, or have chilly winters.
Zoysiagrass holds up well to wear, salt, drought, diseases, and pests. It has a low to moderate mowing frequency. It works well in the transition zone where winters are too cold for other grasses. This grass type is prone to thatch, though, so don’t overfertilize it.
Bahiagrass can grow in sandy, infertile soils without too much irrigation or fertilizer, but it has a low foot traffic tolerance. Its moderate to high growth rate means you’ll need to mow often during the growing season. Bahiagrass has a low disease potential and moderate insect tolerance.
When to hire a professional
Your lawn needs care year-round to look its best. Fall and winter are less busy, but spring and summer are packed with lawn care chores. If you’re forgetful, busy, or hate working in the summer heat, you could miss crucial treatment Windows. A lawn care pro can take that burden off your shoulders. Let Lawn Love connect you with local yard maintenance professionals.
Main photo credit: Stickpen | Public domain | via Wikimedia Commons
WHEN ARE THE BEST TIMES TO FERTILIZE YOUR LAWN?
Minnesota Lawn Care Schedule: All You Need to Know
Minnesota businesses looking to keep their lawns looking green and lush throughout the summer have the perfect weapon at their disposal, and that’s our teams of local lawn care and landscaping experts throughout Minneapolis.
At Earth Development, we use teams of local professionals with years of experience and great local reputations to provide the most comprehensive landscaping services in St Paul and throughout Minneapolis. We also aim to provide useful lawn care tips right here on our website, and today we’ll explore some summer lawn care tips broken down into steps for early, mid, and late summer.
Minnesota Lawn Care Calendar
There are tired-and-true lawn care practices for the winter, spring, summer, and fall seasons. Based on the University of Minnesota Extension, the best practices for your lawn are broken down in the table below to help determine your Minnesota lawn care calendar.
- Best time to do it: To tackle crabgrass pre-emergence, it’s best to treat this grass from mid-April to mid-May before it comes up from the ground.
- Okay time to do it: Crabgrass can also be treated post-emergence from mid-May to early July.
- Best time to do it: Sodding is best used in early May through June, as well as mid-August to late October.
- Okay time to do it: Sodding can also be used in late June through the second week of August.
- Best time to do it: Seed your grasses early August through September and mid-November.
- Okay time to do it: Can seed from May through early June, too.
- Best time to do it: Use lawn fertilizer or natural fertilizers from early August through mid-October.
- Okay time to do it: Can use fertilizer from May through late June.
- Best time to do it: It’s best to aerate from mid-August through mid-October.
- Okay time to do it: Aerating can alternatively be done from late April through May.
- Best time to do it: Broadleaf weed control is most effective from September through the end of October.
- Okay time to do it: This weed control can be effective from May through late June.
Understanding Minnesota Grass Growth Cycle
With tumultuous winter seasons, healthy lawns in Minnesota are their most beautiful in the warmer seasons, offering the ideal time for the grass to thrive.
Specifically in Minnesota, due to seasonal changes, cool-season grasses are ideal in the Twin Cities. The best types of cool-season grasses include fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and turf-type tall fescue grass.
There are some reasons it’s best to plant this type of grass in your lawn, but most importantly, these cool-season grasses are best suited for the four seasons and cold winters that Minnesota endures.
With seasonal changes in mind, Minnesota lawns with cool-season grasses can bear the stress of harsh winter. With this in mind, these types of grasses grow most rapidly in the spring and fall when temperatures are cool, and tend to become inactive in the heat and drought of the summer. With the right lawn care routine, you can best support this cycle of this grass.
For cool-season grass, early spring brings long roots rich with nutrients. With this build-up of nutrients, the shoots can store energy for growth.
In the summer, the leaf and root growth slows down, allowing plants to rest during the heat. Then, when fall comes around, the shoots grow once again, storing nutrients in anticipation of the winter.
Spring Lawn Care Minnesota
To better understand your Minnesota lawn care schedule, there are some specific checklists for your lawn during the Spring months that will be a benefit to your grass. Let’s break it down.
Early Spring Lawn Checklist (March. Early April)
For Spring lawn care, Minnesota only has a few tasks to do. March and early April are typically months when your yard is still dormant. For this reason, it’s all about preparation, with tasks including:
- Sharpening your mower blades.
- Clean or replace your air filter.
- Change your spark plug.
- Grease any fitting on your mower.
- Replace old fuel.
Late Spring Lawn Checklist (mid-April. May)
Late April through May is when the Minnesota lawn care begins. The checklist includes:
- When the lawn and soil are relatively dry, begin to rake and dispose of dead grass and snow mold.
- Apply an early layer of fertilizer to more high-maintenance lawns, like Kentucky Bluegrass.
- Apply fertilizer at half the recommended amount for more low-maintenance lawns.
- Apply crabgrass pre-emergent before it begins to grow.
- Mow as needed to keep a lawn depth of 2″ or more.
Summer Lawn Care in Minnesota
Early Summer Lawn Care Tips
Your lawn care should be determined based on the kind of grass you have and the exact time of year. Let’s first explore late spring/early summer lawn care.
If you have warm-season grass, expect it to grow best in temperatures in the 70s (F). Any higher than that and your lawn will need additional care and potentially more shade to help avoid major damage.
In the early summer, May and June, be sure to apply fertilizer as early into the season as you can. This helps your lawn defend itself against high temperatures and makes it more drought resistant. Use too much, however, and you risk burning your lawn.
Spread your fertilizer evenly and cautiously, and use a specific summer grass fertilizer formula. Or, hire Earth Development for expert lawn fertilizer services.
People often ask “can you fertilize in the summer with cool-season grass?” and the answer is no. If you have cool-season grass, don’t fertilize the grass at all in the summer. Save that for the cool seasons.
Mow Your Lawn High
Remember to mow your lawn high in the early summer, too. The idea here is to encourage stronger root growth in your grass and to allow it to tolerate the heat more easily. When your grass is taller, it creates more shade on the soil. It protects the grass from the sun but also prevents weeds from germinating quite as easily.
Take a look at a lawn mowed too short in the summer, and you’ll probably notice that it looks unhealthy and weeds poke through the blades of grass more often.
For warm-season grasses, keep it between two and three inches tall. For cool-season grasses, try and keep it between three and four inches. Never cut more than one-third of your grass blade every time you mow.
Integrate Pest Control
Summer is the time when pests come out, and they can wreak havoc with your lawn. Whether they’re June bugs, beetles, grubs, or even European chafers, you can expect these pests to eat your grass and weaken its resilience to drought and high heat.
Use high-quality pesticides designed to kill bugs and pests without hurting your grass and apply them in the late spring or early summer.
Early summer is also the perfect time for weed control. At this time of the year, you can more effectively kill weeds before they have a chance to grow, bloom, and then spread their seeds. It protects you this summer and even next summer because you are preventing the problem before it begins.
Many herbicides are designed to target weeds and not grass…but it’s not a perfect science. Use too much and you can still cause harm to your lawn, which is why we advise Minnesota businesses to entrust this process with our teams of local experts.
Mid-Summer Lawn Care Tips
Once you enter mid-summer, your lawn care should change slightly. There are two important tips to remember when it comes to mid-summer lawn care.
Water Your Lawn Properly
Once you reach mid-summer, the temperatures start to rise rapidly. This is when you must water your lawn properly. Overwatering can be just as bad as underwatering, and when the temperatures are high your grass can quickly wilt and die.
Be sure to water your lawn once or twice every week, and make sure that the water penetrates four to six inches. A good way to know that the water is penetrating the soil deeply enough is to insert a screwdriver or similar tool into the soil and see how resistant you feel. If it goes in too easily, it means you are overwatering. If you feel too much resistance, you need to water more. Make sure that you can push the screwdriver into the ground with some resistance, but not too much.
Fertilize Your Grass
Lawns sometimes need mid-summer feeding, but this shouldn’t happen too frequently. Warm-season grasses are more likely to need this extra boost, but remember what we said about too much fertilizer burning your grass. Ask your local garden center or garden supplies company for the best mid-summer fertilizer and apply sparingly if necessary.
Late Summer Lawn Care Tips
Once you enter late summer, your lawn maintenance should be undertaken with next summer in mind. Here are some of our top late summer lawn care tips.
Aerate Your Lawn
Around August and September time, you should consider aerating your lawn. It’s not necessary, but it can be helpful. This is a process that involves pulling up “cores” from the soil or poking many long holes into the ground to break up any soil that has become compacted. It also makes it easier for air, water, and nutrients to penetrate more deeply into the soil.
This commonly overlooked late summer lawn care tip can be done with special aerating tools that make the job quicker and easier, or with garden forks and spikes.
Overseed Your Lawn If Needed
Overseeding in summer can have an amazing impact on your lawns’ growth next year, too. This helps fill out a lawn that has become patchy through the summer months – and you may even see some growth before the season ends. By applying additional seed across your lawn, you’ll have a healthier, more resilient, and greener turf.
Dethatch Your Grass
Finally, don’t forget to dethatch your grass! This is a process whereby dead leaves and other organic matter are raked from the grass, leaving behind fresh soil and your lawn. It removes an organic barrier between the soil and the air, making it easier to apply nutrients and water.
Knowing when to dethatch a lawn is important. When we say to dethatch in the late summer (August and September) we’re talking about cool-season grasses. For warm-season grasses, dethatch the lawn during early summer – and never dethatch your lawn when it is stressed or dormant. That means no dethatching in the mid-summer or the middle of winter!
Fall Lawn Care in Minnesota
For fall lawn maintenance, Minnesota has a few items on the checklist to ensure a healthy lawn. In this region with cool-season grasses, the fall season is when the grass thrives most, outside of Spring, calling for a full lawn care Minnesota routine. Let’s break it down.
Dethatching and Aerating
Dethatching and aerating are essential steps in the fall.
Before undergoing this process, give an inch of water to your lawn and let it soak in around 2 to 3 days in advance. When aerating, you want to take out at least a 3 to 4-inch plug, and if the soil is too dry this won’t be possible.
Typically, the best time to schedule these lawn treatments is in mid-August and the end of September.
Fall is also a time for seeding. If you plan to oversee this fall, it’s best to do this in the last two weeks of August through the first 10 days of September. This can go on for a bit later, but not after September ends. It’s important to give the roots a chance to mature before winter to survive the harsh temperatures.
If you’re wondering when to fertilize the lawn in MN, now is the time. Typically, the best time to fertilize the lawn is from mid-August through mid-September. This timing is essential to allowing your lawn to grow and recover after the summer season.
In addition, when it comes to when fertilizing lawns, Minnesota yards can also benefit from a late fall application in mid-October through mid-November.
When it comes to lawn fertilization, Minnesota residents will get many benefits, including:
- Preparing the lawn for winter.
- Improving shoot density.
- Promoting deep roots.
- Prolonging the dark green color into the early winter.
- Providing storage of carbohydrates.
- Keeping your lawn looking healthier and longer.
Leave Your Lawn Maintenance to the Experts
Need help maintaining your lawn this year? With our teams of local landscaping experts throughout Minnesota, FOCUS on running your business. We’ll handle all your landscaping needs, from lawn aeration and fertilization to regular mowing and watering.
Want a free quote, or to learn more about our commercial lawn maintenance services? Give the team a call today!
Eddy is a distinguished expert in the snow removal and landscaping industry, boasting over 20 years of experience. As an Advanced Snow Manager certified by the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA), he is dedicated to upholding the highest industry standards. His strong commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of improvement makes him a trusted voice in the snow removal and landscaping.
The amount of snow Minnesota gets each winter fluctuates, but it’s typically safe to expect a consistent amount throughout the winter months. Last year, did you have enough space on your property to store plowed snow?
Looking to create a beautiful and inviting outdoor space for your business? Our team of landscaping experts will work with you every step of the way to bring your vision to life. Let’s get started on creating the perfect landscape for your business!
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The Ultimate Lawn Care Schedule
Ready for a lawn care quote? Connect to a lawn expert near you.
Elisabeth Beauchamp is a content producer for Today’s Homeowner’s Lawn and Windows categories. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Journalism and Linguistics. When Elisabeth isn’t writing about flowers, foliage, and fertilizer, she’s researching landscaping trends and current events in the agricultural space. Elisabeth aims to educate and equip readers with the tools they need to create a home they love.
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Looking for the ideal, step-by-step lawn care schedule? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, you’ll find detailed plans, lawn maintenance tips and schedules for the appropriate times of year to apply them — for both warm-season and cool-season grasses.
Keep in mind that sustaining a year-round lawn care schedule is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process. Hiring a professional lawn care service can help you care for your lawn and reduce your stress and workload.
The reviews team has explored the ins and outs of the top lawn care companies, evaluating factors from services offered to customer ratings. In the end, notable industry leader TruGreen came out on top.
Today’s Homeowner works with an independent reviews team to create evidence-based research that helps our readers make informed decisions. The reviews are always independent. For transparency, we may be compensated if you purchase through a link.
Types of Lawn Care
It’s no secret how much work goes into maintaining a beautiful lawn. It’s not just a matter of watering, mowing and hoping for the best.
- Mowing — The ideal height to mow your grass is about 3 inches. Keeping the grass at this height will allow it to develop deep, strong roots.
- Weed control — Keep tight control of any weeds that pop up in your lawn, so you can prevent them from taking over.
- Pest control — Watch out for harmful pests in your lawn and act promptly to prevent potential insect infestations.
- Aeration— Aerating your soil allows your grass to develop, grow and heal from stress and damage.
- Fertilizing or treating — Fertilize your lawn several times a year, and keep track of the appropriate times to fertilize based on the type of grass you have.
- Seeding — Apply grass seeds to fill in any bare spots in the lawn if they occur.
- Irrigation — Proper lawn irrigation practices are crucial to maintaining a healthy lawn. The best time to water your lawn is early in the morning.
- Tree and shrub maintenance — Pruning your trees and shrubs at the right time allows them to stay healthy and avoid catching a common lawn disease.
- Fall and spring cleanup — Make sure to remove debris, leaves, sticks and small branches from your lawn, especially during fall and spring.
These are several things you should add to your lawn care routine if you want it to reach its full potential. Each lawn care company varies by the number and quality of services they offer, so you should call multiple companies to get quotes and ensure they offer the lawn care services you need.
Your Warm-Season Grass Lawn Care Schedule
Each grass type has its own lawn care schedule requirements. Warm-season grasses grow predominantly in the southern and western regions of the U.S. and in the middle of the country, stretching from the Midwest to the Atlantic States.
Warm-season grasses thrive in areas that experience summer temperatures between 80 and 95 degrees. Common warm grass types include Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, Zoysia grass and Bahia grass.
Apart from following this schedule, mow once per week during spring, once every two weeks throughout summer and once per month in the fall until your grass goes dormant.
Water deeply as needed, based on the moisture of the soil, especially during hot summer days.
Pre-emergent herbicides are weed killers that eliminate pesky plants before they can poke their stubborn heads out above the soil. When applying pre-emergents, timing is one of the most crucial factors. The best time to do this is in late winter or early spring, just before the seeds start to germinate in your lawn.
Thatch buildup creates a barrier to water, air and nutrients, and prevents grass from developing deep and strong roots. Also, thatch offers a perfect environment for bacteria, fungus and weeds to take root and destroy the look and health of your lawn.
It’s vital that you dethatch the lawn once per year, ideally in the spring, from March until May. When you introduce dethatching to your lawn care schedule, make sure to dethatch before applying pre-emergents. This will allow the weed killer to penetrate the soil and make it more effective against weed germination and growth.
Fertilization is a crucial step. If you want your garden to be the best it can be, it’s essential to know precisely when and how to apply fertilizer. Before fertilizing, use a soil analysis kit to test your soil to find out exactly what nutrients your yard needs.
When it comes to creating a specific lawn fertilization schedule, you should apply seed fertilizer at least a couple of times during the growing season, starting in spring.
The best time to seed your warm-season grass lawn is from spring through the summer. The ideal conditions to seed are when the soil temperature is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average daytime temperature is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area where frost can occur, avoid planting grass at the end of summer, or about two months before the first frost usually makes its debut.
Much like excessive thatch buildup, compacted soil can lead to a lot of problems. It inhibits the growth of grass root systems and leads to maintenance problems, namely weed growth and lawn diseases.
The best way to break up compacted soil is with core aeration. You can buy or rent an aeration machine or do it manually if you have a smaller lawn. The best time to aerate your lawn is summer or late spring if you also plan on applying pre-emergent herbicides on your lawn.
Post-emergent herbicides kill existing weeds that are already growing in your lawn. You can choose between selective weed killers, which only target the weed, and non-selective weed killers, which will kill any plant they come into contact with. The best time to apply post-emergents is summer through fall when the soil temperature is above 55 degrees.
Your Cool-Season Grass Lawn Care Schedule
Cool-season grasses thrive in the northern part of the US. But they can also do well in the Transition Zone, the area that expands from the Atlantic States to the Midwest. Cool-season grasses achieve optimum growth at temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Common cool-season grass types include Kentucky Bluegrass, Rough Bluegrass, Fine Fescue and Tall Fescues.
As is the case with warm-season grass, proper mowing and watering techniques are also an essential part of the proper maintenance for cool-season lawns. The same mowing process applies to both types of grass. Mow once per week during summer, once every two weeks during fall and once per month until the grass goes dormant.
The best time to fertilize your cool-season grass is in late summer to early autumn. If your lawn requires fertilization several times a year, look at feeding it in September and November. Feed it again in spring if necessary — ideally, in April or May. Such a schedule will provide the lawn with enough nutrients to last through the winter and prepare for the first flush of growth in the spring.
The best time to apply pre-emergent herbicides to cool-season grasses is in spring before the soil reaches more than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because the weeds haven’t started germinating yet. So, you can stop them from establishing themselves in your soil and competing with the grass.
The best time to apply post-emergent herbicides is the same for cool-season and warm-season grasses, or summer through fall. Look to apply herbicides at the early side of this schedule. The daily average temperatures are still moderate and the nights aren’t too cold.
As is the practice with warm-season grasses, you should aerate cool-season grasses during the growing season. But unlike the former, which benefit from spring aeration, the best time to aerate cool-season grasses is in early spring or early fall. The temperatures during this period are generally cooler compared to previous months, meaning your grass won’t be under too much stress during the process.
The best time to dethatch your lawn is the same as it is for aerating. The grass actively grows in early spring and early fall, and the soil is moderately moist. Active grass growth will help your lawn adjust more quickly to the newly dethatched soil.
Fall is the best time to seed cool-season grasses. During this period, the soil is still relatively warm, temperatures during the day don’t get very high and the evenings are cool enough to encourage seed germination. Look to plant cool-season grass seeds at least a month and a half before the first frost, giving your newly established grass enough time to grow strong and healthy.
Going With the Pros
Whether you have warm-season grasses or cool-season grasses, these tips will help you maintain your lawn during all seasons. This activity-packed schedule is often not suitable for homeowners who already have busy calendars, so professional lawn services are often the best solution to the problem. A reliable lawn care company can maintain the right schedule for your lawn so you can FOCUS on other important things knowing your lawn is in good hands.
Top Pick: TruGreen
After evaluating important factors such as service cost, customer reviews, the availability of services, and more, the reviews team’s top pick goes to TruGreen. Founded in 1971, TruGreen is the largest lawn care company in the U.S. TruGreen offers five plans, with services ranging from aeration and seeding to fertilization and pest control. Each plan promises total customer satisfaction with its Healthy Lawn Guarantee.
TruGreen offers a nearly nationwide lawn care service, which includes all U.S. states except for Hawaii and Alaska. A wide reach means years and years of expertise, plus top-notch equipment.
TruGreen is the most reputable lawn care company in the country, with overwhelmingly positive customer feedback on all major review sites. The business has over 2,200 reviews on Trustpilot, with customer feedback like:
“My grass is always beautiful, and I know it is because of the care from the service that I get from TruGreen.”
“Excellent technicians and service make the difference.”
TruGreen also maintains a high status with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), with an A BBB Rating, and has been a BBB-accredited business since 2012. Despite serving more than two million residential and commercial customers across the U.S., TruGreen dedicates a lot of attention to every new customer.