The Best Year-Round Lawn Care Schedule
Lawn care is a yearlong job with very few shortcuts. The process takes planning— fertilizing can’t happen whenever it’s convenient, and weed control needs to be timed. Putting a plan in place can help you stay on top of what needs to be done at different times of the year. We’ll walk you through the best times of year for various lawn care tasks to help you develop a personal plan.
If year-round lawn care seems daunting, you may want to consider hiring a professional lawn care provider. Lawn care companies offer annual programs with every treatment your lawn needs, from fertilization to aeration, soil amendments, and grub control. We’ll also give our recommendations for the best self-service and full-service lawn care providers.
Before You Begin
As you may imagine, lawn care looks slightly different depending on the climate you’re in and the type of turf you have. Warm-season grasses tend to grow best in the Southeast and Southwest, and cool-season grasses tend to grow best in the central and northern parts of the U.S. Here’s how these two types compare.
|Ideal temperature range
|Bahia grass, Bermuda grass, buffalo grass, St. Augustine grass, zoysia grass
|Kentucky bluegrass, ryegrass, fine fescue, tall fescue
Some grasses also work well in the transition zone between the north and the south, including zoysia, Bermuda grass, and tall fescue. Some transition-zone yards even have a mixture of grass types. Be sure to identify which type of grass you have so you know which schedule to follow. If you’re having trouble keeping your lawn alive, you may need to switch to a turfgrass that’s better suited to your climate.
Spring Lawn Care
Summer Lawn Care
Months Included: June, July, August
Summer is the season when care of warm-season grasses differs most sharply from that of cool-season grasses. Cool-season grasses grow dormant in the heat, so leave more disruptive tasks like thatching, aerating, and herbicide application for spring or fall. Warm-season grasses, on the other hand, require a bit more summer maintenance.
- Mow grass high: In the summer months, adjust your mower to its highest or second-highest setting to cut grass higher than normal. Tall grass leads to stronger, deeper, and healthier roots that compete effectively with weeds. Mow as high as you can for your particular type of grass. As always, don’t cut more than the top one-third of the grass blade each time you mow.
- Treat for grubs: Treat warm-season grasses for grubs in early summer to prevent damage later in the year.
- Control weeds: This is the time to tackle any annual or perennial weeds that have sprung up with a post-emergent herbicide. Depending on the type of weed you’re dealing with, use either a selective or nonselective herbicide. Selective herbicides will target the weed, while nonselective herbicides can harm the grass around it—always read the directions and follow them exactly.
- Fertilize: Since warm-season grasses grow in the heat, you can continue to fertilize them through the summer if necessary. Be careful not to overfertilize, which could stress your lawn and encourage fungal disease.
- Watering: Both cool- and warm-season grasses require regular watering from spring through fall. Cool-season grasses tend to be thirstier than warm-season grasses, but the amount and frequency of watering will depend on the specific species and local climate. Do some research or ask a local plant nursery about your type of grass, and be careful not to overwater.
- Overseeding: If your warm-season grass has bare patches, add more seed and fertilize gently during the late spring and summer.
Fall Lawn Care
Winter Lawn Care
Months Included: December, January, February
Warm-season grasses go completely dormant in the winter, but cool-season grasses also stop growing and conserve energy during the cold months. Homeowners need to take some steps to protect their grass while it’s dormant.
- Limit foot traffic: Walking on a tender, dormant lawn can compress the soil and kill your grass. Avoid walking on it if possible, don’t park on it, and try not to store anything heavy on it if that’s avoidable.
- Melt ice carefully: If your lawn has ice on it, follow proper measures to deice it carefully. Some ice-melting products are specifically designed for use on lawns. Items like rock salt can damage your lawn.
- Prepare for next year: If you want, begin to prepare for spring by catching up on mower maintenance or stocking up on supplies like seed and fertilizer.
Professional Lawn Care
Year-round lawn care is a lot to keep up with, and you can hire professionals if you haven’t got the time or effort to spend on it. We recommend TruGreen for comprehensive lawn care services. This industry leader is available in all states except for Alaska and Hawaii and offers five different annual lawn care programs to manage your schedule. TruGreen has natural options as well as a la carte services including pest control.
If you want to stick with do-it-yourself (DIY) lawn care but need help finding the right products, Sunday is our recommended choice. Sunday offers a range of customizable lawn care products and plans that empower homeowners to maintain a healthy and beautiful lawn on their own.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I take care of my lawn year-round?
Taking care of your lawn year-round means learning about the kind of grass you have to help you fertilize and aerate it at the right times. Start by looking at the care recommendations in this article for warm-season and cool-season grasses.
What is the best lawn care program?
Based on our research and comparisons, TruGreen offers the best lawn care services across the U.S. Our second and third choices are Weed Man and Lawn Doctor.
When should I fertilize my lawn?
You should fertilize your cool-season lawn in fall or spring, and fertilize your warm-season lawn in mid-to-late spring or summer.
When should I test my soil?
Test your soil in spring before choosing which fertilizer to feed your lawn with. If you want, you can also test it in the fall.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews Team backs up our lawn recommendations with a detailed rating methodology that we use to objectively score each provider. We review lawn care plans and packages, navigate the provider website, and speak with customer service representatives, request quotes, and analyze customer reviews for each provider. We then score the provider against our review standards for plan options, additional benefits and customizability, availability, trustworthiness, and customer service to arrive at a final score out of 100.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at email@example.com.