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Lawn-Care Timeline

When to fertilize, water, mow, and deal with weeds and pests depends on where you live

2 little girls playing on a lawn
Photo by Keller & Keller
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When to fertilize, water, mow, and deal with weeds and pests depends on where you live.

North: Zones 1, 5, 6

March
•Rake up debris and leaves from winter.

April
•Growing season starts. Mow grass 3 inches high. Leave clippings on lawn.
•Apply first dose of fertilizer.
•Treat for crabgrass with pre-emergent herbicide or eco-friendly corn gluten.

May
•Pull or spot-treat dandelions or treat whole lawn with post-emergent weed control or lime.
•Fertilize six to eight weeks after first dose.

June–July
•Water if rainfall is below 1 inch a week.
•Treat for grubs using beneficial nematodes.

Late August–September
•Dethatch and aerate with core aerator when rains resume and ground softens.
•Fertilize and seed.
•Spread weed-and-feed over entire lawn or spot-spray with lime juice and vinegar.

October–November
•Rake leaves.
•Fertilize six to eight weeks after last feeding.
•At final cut, after a few frosts, mow 2 inches high.

When to fertilize, water, mow, and deal with weeds and pests depends on where you live.

North: Zones 1, 5, 6

March
•Rake up debris and leaves from winter.

April
•Growing season starts. Mow grass 3 inches high. Leave clippings on lawn.
•Apply first dose of fertilizer.
•Treat for crabgrass with pre-emergent herbicide or eco-friendly corn gluten.

May
•Pull or spot-treat dandelions or treat whole lawn with post-emergent weed control or lime.
•Fertilize six to eight weeks after first dose.

June–July
•Water if rainfall is below 1 inch a week.
•Treat for grubs using beneficial nematodes.

Late August–September
•Dethatch and aerate with core aerator when rains resume and ground softens.
•Fertilize and seed.
•Spread weed-and-feed over entire lawn or spot-spray with lime juice and vinegar.

October–November
•Rake leaves.
•Fertilize six to eight weeks after last feeding.
•At final cut, after a few frosts, mow 2 inches high.

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grass zone map
Grass zone map

South: Zones 2, 3, 4

March
•Growing season starts. Mow 3 inches high (1 to 2 inches for Bermuda grass). Leave clippings on lawn.
•Apply first dose of fertilizer.
•Treat for crabgrass with pre-emergent herbicide or corn gluten.

April
•Plant seed.
•Dethatch and aerate.

May
•Water if rainfall is below 1 inch a week.
•Fertilize six to eight weeks after first dose.

June–July
•Treat for fungus, if necessary.
•Fertilize six to eight weeks after second dose.

Late August–September
•Mow and water until grass turns brown.
•When grass greens up again, apply final dose of fertilizer.

October–November
•Rake leaves.
•Continue mowing until grass stops growing.

Pro Advice: Roger Cook, This Old House Landscape Contractor says, "To find out how much water a sprinkler delivers in an hour, place empty coffee cans on the lawn and run the sprinkler for 15 minutes. Pour collected water into one can and measure its depth. Divide by the number of cans and multiply by 4 to get the inch-per-hour rate. Then you'll know how long to water to make sure grass gets 1 inch a week, ½ to 1/3 inch at a time."

 
 

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