Lawn Care 101 Basics- 2023 Detailed Guide

Your lawn looking a little tired? It will only take a few moments every day to care for your lawn and work through our lawn care basics that will give the grass the best chance to repair and grow.

In this Lawn Advisors article, we look at lawn care 101 basics all year round after your turf is laid and how to maintain your lawn to keep it green and healthy.

Get your lawn off to a good start with our lawn care 101 basics for keeping grass healthy!

1. Lawn Care 101 Spring

Here’s Spring lawn care 101:

Lawn Care 101 Spring

– Feeding

Your grass might start to get greener after the winter, but wait to fertilize it. Before applying fertilizer, your grass should first begin to grow. This is because the roots of the plant still have enough stored carbohydrates from last fall to encourage growth in the early spring.

Generally speaking, fertilizer is more effective until a plant has used up all of its own resources. To get the best results and avoid burning your potentially weakened lawn, choose organic or mild, slow-release fertilizers (after the harsh winter weather).

Additionally, for quicker absorption by plants, liquid feeds and tonics are more recommended than granular fertilizers.

– Watering

You should water your lawn no more than an inch a week. You can test the amount of moisture in the soil during this season by using a screwdriver into the soil. Your turf isn’t yet parched if the tool goes rather easily. Avoid turning your sprinkler system back on if you live in an area with regular rain.

If you overwater your grass, the roots will be drowned and weed growth will be aided. The grass should be watered as soon as it starts to show signs of wilting in the spring. Plants grow more, deeper roots at this time, which come in handy during those extended dry periods later in the summer.

– Overseeding

Overseeding is the process of replenishing grass by scattering grass seeds over a lawn. If you’re using turf grasses that are known to grow robustly in these conditions, spring is a great time to overseed.

However, there is debate over whether or not overseeding cool-season turf grasses in the spring is successful. Since photorespiration is caused by the hotter summers, new seeds of these grasses only frequently grow shallow roots.

However, if your lawn has warm-season turfgrasses, this is generally the time to consider overseeding. Under normal circumstances, you’ll only need to overseed twice a year unless your lawn suffered severe damage in winter.

– Pest Control

Earthworms and other bugs emerge toward the upper soil levels as the soil warms up in the spring, but moles can also return. In their search for worms and other food sources, moles attack and damage the root systems of lawns.

The greatest time to set mole traps, though, is in the early spring, right before they start digging new tunnels.

– Weed Control

Crabgrass, for example, germinates in the late spring and completely emerges in the summer, but you may control and get rid of its growth. Pre-emergent herbicide is the product you’ll need to apply in this situation.

You can think about using post-emergent herbicides later in the spring to manage any grassy or broadleaf weeds that frequently emerge in the summer.

– Dethatching and Aeration

Use leaf rakes and other similar items to get rid of any leaves and twigs that may have accumulated on your lawn over the winter. The removal of this old debris makes it easier to apply fertilizers and herbicides.

Remember to aerate the soil on a day when it is just a little bit damp but not soaked. This makes it easier to make sure that roots receive oxygen, water, and nutrients from feeds for healthy lawn growth.

2. Lawn Care 101 Fall

Here’s Fall lawn care 101:

Lawn Care 101 Fall

– Dethatching

You should first get rid of thatch, the buildup that accumulates over your lawn in order to encourage grass growth. Even while you should dethatch year-round, fall tends to create the most thatch, which is typically made up of small branches and fallen leaves.

The excessive buildup of these materials will eventually suffocate your lawn since they block vital sunshine and retain an excessive amount of moisture. Vertical mowers and power rakes are common dethatching tools that you might use in this area.

Vertical mowers are much more effective and convenient to use on larger lawns. Before your first run, set the blades to prevent damaging your turf grass. You can always make the necessary adjustments afterward. Power rakes are a simpler option for smaller lawns.

– Aeration

This is the practice of breaking down compacted soil by plugging holes into your lawn. The objective is to make it easier for nutrients and water to get to the roots. But not all areas of your lawn require equal aeration.

A spading fork or a core aerator is recommended to use for aerating.

– Overseeding

Turf grasses can turn brown in the cold. However, this can be prevented if you overseed in the fall. Even if you did it in the spring, overseeding is important now because this is the year’s final growing season.

You can think about adding tougher grasses that can resist the harsh winter and summer weather conditions during the overseeding process. While you’re doing it, make sure the seeds you’re planting in the bare areas or thin spots make good contact with the soil. Then, water them.

– Fertilizing

If you use a slow-release fertilizer in the early fall, your lawn will be less likely to turn brown. Use fertilizers that also contain potassium, which is known to encourage root growth and increase plant resistance to disease and drought.

You should never fertilize a dry lawn. For best results, fertilize after rain or after you’ve finished watering. When fertilizing your lawn, be careful not to miss any spots in order to encourage uniform grass growth.

– Weed Control

Even if you treated your lawn last spring and summer, certain weeds still grow during this season.

Once noticed, quickly apply herbicides on the weeds before the temperatures drop. If not, the weeds will go dormant and wait till spring to germinate (though some die naturally from the cold).

– Mowing

While the temperatures might not be very conducive, grass still grows, albeit more slowly than in the summer. As a result, you will need to cut it regularly and strive to maintain a height of 2 to 3 inches. If you let it get too tall, it will be more vulnerable to fungi like snow mold.

It is also not recommended to cut it too short because this ultimately stunts root growth and reduces your lawn’s resistance to dryness and the cold of winter.

– Watering

The weather is cooler during fall but let that not fool you into thinking that your lawn doesn’t need watering. Although there may be some rain and dew, the total amount of water may be less than what your grass needs for healthy growth and survival.

You must continue using the sprinkler, preferably through the end of October, if your lawn is not receiving at least an inch of water every week.

3. Lawn Care 101 Winter

Here’s Winter lawn care 101:

Lawn Care 101 Winter

– Prepare Early

It is nearly impossible to continue working on your yard during the cold winter days unless you live in the south where winters are not too harsh. The greatest advice is to prepare for it early and complete any outside tasks you have before winter arrives. 

To avoid the growth of wet spots and moldy patches, you could start by raking away all fallen leaves.

– Weed Control

For this season, this is the main grass maintenance. If the summer heat didn’t kill them, annual cool-season weeds bloom and flourish at this time.

Once noticed, quickly apply herbicides on the weeds before the temperatures drop. If not, the weeds will go dormant and wait till spring to germinate (though some die naturally from the cold).

– Dethatching

Ensuring your lawn is always clean during the winter is one of the most crucial things you can do. Never spread out the debris, toys for kids, lawn furniture, or plant leaves on the grass. This is to prevent smothering the grass, attracting harmful bugs, or creating favorable conditions for diseases. 

When the leaves are not too thick or wet and can therefore act as mulch and provide nutrients to the grass, this rule is an exception.

– Raking and Watering

The soil sometimes becomes so hard that water cannot reach the roots during the winter. Try raking your lawn to help break up any soil clumps and cover any seeds that are left on the bare ground to prevent any problems that may result from such conditions.

If the soil doesn’t have enough moisture, you can water the garden with a garden hose.

4. Lawn Care 101 Summer

Here’s Summer lawn care 101:

Lawn Care 101 Summer

– Mowing

The most important step in preparing lawns for hot weather is likely to be adjusting the mowing height. The reason for this is that lawns kept at higher heights—at least three inches, preferably a little higher—develop deeper root systems.

Avoid cutting your lawn too often, especially if it has cool-season turfgrasses. When it gets hotter and drier, their growth naturally slows down. Mowing once a week is reasonable and recommended.

In order to keep your grass looking healthier and stronger, you should avoid cutting more than a third of the blade at once. Mow your lawn at a height of 3 to 4 inches for warm-season grass and down to around 2 to 3 inches for cool-season grass.

Leave the grass clippings on the lawn after mowing to act as mulch to maintain moisture levels throughout the hotter months. To make sure you’re cutting the grass rather than damaging it, always use sharp mower blades.

With all the unforgiving summer heat, dull blades can hurt and put more stress on your grass, which is exactly what you want to avoid.

– Watering

You should restart your sprinkler system in the summer. Deep watering is essential for the growth of deep root systems, the basis of resilient and long-lasting lawns, during this hot season. Turf grass with deep roots is far more resilient to adverse weather than shallow-rooted plants.

Water your plants thoroughly because doing so encourages the growth of deep root systems. Early in the morning, before the sun rises too high, is the best time to mow your lawn.

In the afternoon, watering will evaporate before your lawn has a chance to absorb it completely. Additionally, watering at night will result in moist grass that is more prone to disease.

– Weeds Control

If they aren’t controlled, weeds on your lawn can grow more noticeable and even overshadow grass in the summer. There is still time to get the weeds out of your lawn if you missed the window during the spring to use a pre-emergent herbicide.

Chemical and cultural control are the two-primary weed-removal methods.

Treating common lawn pests that emerge in the summer should not be ignored. Turf caterpillars and grubs are two insects that can be quite harmful, especially if left to multiply uncontrolled. Be on the lookout for symptoms of pest infestation like wilting and unusually high feeding activity.

Here’re lawn care 101 basics for all seasons.

Lawn Care 101 FAQ

To Wrap Up

These lawn care 101 basics will help get the grass looking its best and promote lush, green growth!

Still have any questions about lawn care 101 and how to maintain it? Share your questions in Lawn Advisors comments box below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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