A Month-by-Month Lawn Maintenance Guide
There’s no doubt that baseball fans are passionate about the game. But it’s everyday heroes like groundskeeper Barnie Lopez and his dedicated crew who truly make this all-American pastime an experience to remember.
After a long winter and wet spring, waterlogged properties begin to dry out and property managers begin the annual ritual of preparing lawns for the outdoor days ahead.
After assessing the damage caused over the prior year by drainage, shade, soil ph, soil compaction, high foot traffic, pests, and thatch, customers need equipment and advice to renovate their properties. Luckily, simple problems such as thatch, bare spots and soil compaction are easily solved by power rakes (de-thatchers), overseeders and aerators - while proper advice on fertilization, mowing, watering, and drainage typically resolves the other issues to help make for a great looking property.
Here is some month-by month advice to help with your lawn maintenance efforts.
Early in the month, clean the property with blowers, vacuums, and chippers. Later in the month before grass starts to grow, use a power rake to remove thatch accumulation from the prior year. Excess thatch prevents water and nutrients from reaching the soil and may contribute to turf disease. Then use an over-seeder to reseed any thin spots that may appear or were missed in the fall. For northern grasses, mixes of bluegrass, fescue, and rye are most common.
Apply crab grass preventer by April 15th and start a lawn mowing regimen soon thereafter. Between 2- and 3-inch mowing height is recommended to hold in water, discourage weeds, and promote deeper roots. At this time, spring aeration begins if the yard is heavily compacted. Aeration improves root depth as well as air, water, fertilizer and nutrient flow. Feel free to leave the plugs on the lawn as they will be mulched back after a few rains and cuttings. However, if you want to pick them up, wait a day or two for them to dry and rake or vacuum them up. Watering the lawn the night before is recommended to soften the soil and allow core depths to 3”.
Begin to fertilize as the rapid spring growth begins to slow. Most lawns will not need more than 1lb. per 1,000 sq. ft. in May and again in September. As the season begins to dry out as you enter June, start a regular morning watering routine (before 8 a.m.) but do not overwater as it can promote fungal growth. Just water enough to take off drought stress. As a rule of thumb, consider no more than ¾ to 1.5 inches total per week depending on climate.
Consider pesticide applications for grubs in August if the population exceeds 9 grubs per square foot only. If the population is below that, they are unlikely to cause damage to the root system. Keep in mind, if the lawn is lush and healthy, a small population may be in balance and will not cause enough damage to justify the expense. August is an ideal time to begin brush cutting meadows and perimeters that are not part of your weekly mowing schedule.
After taking a beating from the summer heat and recreation schedule, September is the right time to start fall aeration, over-seeding and fertilizing. September is also the best month to rejuvenate cool-season grasses such as rye, fescue and blue grasses. It is a month with minimal weed pressure, cooler temperatures and increased moisture that make conditions ideal. Aerating, overseeding, and fertilizing lawns is the best way to rejuvenate them. For best results when overseeding, use a criss-crossing diagonal pattern at half the drop rate
October and November
Use walk-behind leaf blowers, leaf vacuums and debris loaders for rapid pickup and removal of leaves and to keep leaf drop from packing and smothering grass. Prepare the snow thrower and repeat in the spring.
Regular lawn maintenance throughout the year and timing your efforts appropriately will make it easier to maintain a healthy-looking property.
Article Courtesy of Billy Goat Industries