Yearly Lawn-Care Schedule: A 365-Day Timeline

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Taking care of your lawn year-round gives your turf the best chance to thrive. 

Commitment and discipline are required for those looking to achieve a beautifully manicured golf course lawn. Timing is everything to get the most from your lawn-care products. Applying lawn fertilizers isn't a matter of when it’s convenient, and weed control (particularly in the case of pre-emergent herbicides) has to be well-timed to see results. Planning your lawn-care schedule can help you stay on top of different tasks throughout the year in a manageable way. 

Specific timings for product applications vary, depending on your environmental conditions and the type of turfgrass you have. This depends on where you’re based. If you’re wondering which grass type best suits your area, read this guide. Your local university extension service can provide more information on what type of turfgrass you have if you’re still unsure. 

Grass types are divided into two categories: cool season and warm season. May to mid-September is when warm-season grasses tend to grow the most, in warmer temperatures. The opposite is true of cool-season turfgrasses, which prefer conditions from December to early February — aside from when the ground freezes over. 

In this guide, we’ll break down each step of your seasonal lawn-care maintenance, divulge some year-round lawn-care tips, and ultimately prepare you for the year ahead. 

1. Spring Lawn Care Schedule

Sunlight in the green forest, spring time

Before you begin the following steps, it’s vital to ensure the ground is no longer frozen. Firm ground showing the first signs of green grass is the indication you need that your lawn is waking up. 


February, March, April, May

During the winter months, your turfgrass entered a state of dormancy. The arrival of spring in March marks the beginning of a key seasonal transitional period, where grass begins to green up. Spring is likely the busiest time of your yearly lawn-care schedule and a crucial time to care for your winter-weary grass. Setting a good lawn-care precedent during the spring will help prevent future problems from weak, damaged grass. 

Pre-Emergent Herbicides — February

One of the first steps in your year-long lawn care plan is applying a pre-emergent herbicide around mid-February. Pre-emergents are a type of weed control. They prevent the seedlings of weeds from becoming established while they germinate. 

Our preferred pre-emergent is Prodiamine .38% with Fertilizer 0-0-7. It’s a granular pre-emergent weed and feed control product, meaning it’s easy to apply and won’t kill your grass. Plus, it contains 7% potassium, a key macronutrient to promote healthy grass growth. For application tips and tricks, watch our explanatory YouTube video below, and don’t forget to subscribe to our lawn-care channel. 


Related: The Best Four Products for Killing Weeds Without Killing Grass


Spring Clean & Dethatch — March

Over fall and winter, natural debris like fallen leaves and dead grass build up on your lawn. Your first step is clearing up your yard and disposing of organic matter to prepare for the other steps. 

After you’ve cleaned your lawn, it’s time for a dethatch. Thatch is a layer of living and dead organic matter which forms between soil and growing grass. A thin layer of thatch is natural and can help protect the grassroots from environmental stress, retain moisture and increase resilience to heavy traffic on your lawn.

However, more than half an inch of thatch can suffocate your lawn — preventing air, nutrients, and moisture from reaching turf roots. Too much thatch also provides pests and fungi with a warm and insulated place to live and breed. Use a dethatching rake to lift the thatch and break it down. Alternatively, verticutting is a great way to promote new growth in your lawn. Verticutting involves slicing grass into 2-3” sections to encourage healthier and thicker turf in weeks to come. 


You can use your lawn mower to dethatch (also known as scalping) your lawn, which you can read about in this blog.


Soil Testing — March

A healthy golf course lawn requires nutrient-rich soil with a neutral pH. Spring is the best time for lawn fertilization, which you can read about in this article. But, to choose the right fertilizer, you’ll need to assess what your lawn needs nutrients-wise.


This is why soil testing kits are so important and can reduce your future lawn-care expenditures. Being specific about what your lawn needs means you won’t run the risk of over-fertilizing, spending unnecessary money, and letting excess fertilizer runoff disrupt nearby ecosystems

Invest in a soil test kit to reveal the nutrients your soil is lacking and its pH level. The starter soil test kit from MySoil is incredibly comprehensive, letting you know which nutrients have a low rating. Your results will even provide fertilizer and biostimulant recommendations. 

Here’s an example:

Lawn Soil Test

Depending on your results, you might need pH adjustment products to raise or lower the pH in your soil. For micronutrient deficiencies (nutrients your soil needs in lesser amounts than macronutrients), we recommend using a product called NutriSolve

Core Aeration — March

Another vital task to do in March is to aerate your lawn which is crucial to your lawn’s long-term health. Aeration reduces compaction, which can cause your lawn to become waterlogged. It can also improve nutrient, water, and air circulation within your soil, fertilizer uptake, and water quality 

Aerating your lawn is the process of pulling out plugs of soil from your lawn with an aerating tool or spiked tools like hoes or rakes to loosen the soil. Soil plugs on the surface of your lawn will eventually decompose (speed this process along by breaking up the soil plugs) and transfer valuable, quality nutrients back into the earth. 

To speed up lawn recovery after core aeration and verticutting, apply fertilizer after core aeration. Your soil will be more porous, allowing important nutrients to sink down to grass root level.  

Late March is the prime time to aerate your lawn, but this can depend on when your grass has come out of its winter dormancy stage. Core aeration punches 4-6 inch holes into the turf to remove plugs of soil. 


Topdressing— April

To get a smooth golf course finish on your lawn, you’ll need to topdress it with a thin layer of compost to rake over plug holes caused by core aeration. This is beneficial for two reasons. Firstly, when you mow your lawn, you’ll discover that it’s full of bumps and dips. Smooth out this uneven surface by topdressing using organic material and sand. If your lawn suffers from dense, clay-like soil, then topdressing after aeration will improve the soil porosity over time. 


You might want to enlist the help of a professional for core aeration, verticutting and topdressing, as it’s pretty hard work. 

Insecticide & Fungicide Application — April

As the weather becomes warmer, certain lawn-damaging pests begin laying their eggs in your grass. Many beetles start laying their eggs in the spring, and other grass-eating insects like armyworms and chinch bugs

Your grass is very vulnerable when it comes out of winter dormancy, having experienced a lot of environmental stress. Fungal diseases such as brown patch, dollar spot, and red thread take advantage of a weaker lawn. Use spring to get a headstart on preventing lawn pests and diseases with insecticides and fungicides

To prevent lawn-damaging insects and diseases from ravaging your lawn, try an insecticide and fungicide from Syngenta. Acelepryn G Insecticide targets many pests but won’t kill useful pollinators (like bees) and invertebrates (like worms). A single application in April or May provides season-long control from grubs to billbugs. 

For fungicides, we recommend Headway G. It’s a granular fungicide that provides excellent disease control against a broad range of lawn fungi, taking care of your lawn year-round. 

If liquid fungicide is more your thing, Pillar SC has you covered. It quickly controls 26 common lawn diseases while being easy to mix and apply.

Related: The Most Effective Fungicides to Use on Your Lawn


Fertilization — April

The best time to fertilize your lawn depends on the temperature of your soil. Generally, soil temperatures hit 55º Fahrenheit in mid-April, which is the opportune time for soil fertilization. It’s worth investing in a soil thermometer for a more precise measurement of soil temperature. Visibly, you’ll see grass beginning to grow and flowers blossoming. 

To kickstart your grass’ growth after a dormant winter, you can also apply Lebanon Turf’s Humic Max fertilizer as soon as early March to improve soil quality and give your grass a well-deserved nutrient boost. 

Mowing Your Lawn — March/April 

Beginning your mowing lawn-care schedule depends entirely on your region and grass species type. Avoid your first mow until temperatures reach a consistent 50°F. Grass height should be at least 2”-2.5” tall before you mow. Your turf needs to develop strong and healthy roots. Cutting your grass too short and too soon won’t allow it to establish itself properly. When the conditions are right, ensure you’re mowing no more than a third of the grass length, and continue to mow at least twice a week. 


Related: When to Start Mowing Your Lawn in Spring


Plant Growth Regulator — May

Plant growth regulators are organic compounds that improve your plants’ physiological processes, or in this case, your lawn. Plant growth regulation can prevent grass from growing too quickly, which lets grass blade leaves flourish first. This improves photosynthesis.

 Plant growth regulators have two main benefits:

  1. They reduce mowing frequency as the grass isn’t growing as quickly vertically (PGR can save you about one mow a week).
  2. As you’re not mowing as frequently, the grass achieves a darker green color. New grass is a lighter green, whereas older leaves are dark.  

Our preferred PGR (plant growth regulator) is Primo Maxx which comes in a convenient 4 oz size — ideal for those wanting to try it out without breaking the bank. You can apply it every 4-6 weeks to control growth, with your first application in early May. From May onwards, begin the month with a PGR application. Using a backpack sprayer to apply your PGR is one of the most efficient methods to support even application. 

2. Summer Lawn Care Schedule

Girl swims in a metal frame pool with inflatable toys. Frame pool stand on a green grass lawn. Top view.

Spring is about setting up your lawn for the year ahead, and summer is about maintaining your hard work. Warmer temperatures introduce new tasks to keep on top of, like pest and weed control. 

June, July, August

Your summer lawn-care schedule will revolve around where you live. Summer heat and dry conditions can be lethal for your grass, so it’s an equally important time to take care of your turf. The beginning of June is a good time for another plant growth regulator application to control grass growth in temperature change. That'll help you stay up to date with mowing and watering requirements. 

Summer Mowing — June-August

As your lawn enjoys warmer temperatures, grass will start growing quickly. Adjust your mower’s height to its second-highest or highest setting to cut your grass. Cutting your turf a little higher than usual will lead to taller grass which has the chance to develop deep, healthy grass roots. As always, this shouldn’t be more than the top third of each grass blade. Healthy grass will actively compete effectively with prevalent weeds at this time of year. 

Watering Requirements — June-August

As a rule of thumb, you should water your lawn 2-3 times a week to achieve golf course quality. Generally, your lawn needs 1”-1.5” of water per week to thrive. Dull-colored gray grass, curling grass blades and dryness underfoot are good indicators that your lawn needs watering.

In the summer, this is especially important. If you use an irrigation system, set the sprinkling time to 4-6 am when there are lower winds and cooler temperatures. This allows moisture to sink thoroughly into the soil without being blown away or evaporated. 

To reduce watering requirements by 50% or more, use Hydretain. This exceptional water retention product acts like a “water magnet”, drawing moisture from everywhere in the soil to the grassroots — making the most of all the available water in the soil that roots can’t reach.


Weed, Disease & Pest Control — June-August

Even with your pre-emergent herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide applications — pests, weeds, and diseases still have the potential to disrupt your seasonal lawn maintenance. 

From June through August, your main opponents will be weeds and pests. Keep an eye out for both, including signs you might have a pest invasion on your hands. 

To target weeds without killing your grass, we recommend these options:

 

Celsius WG Broadleaf and Grassy Weed Control (Warm Season)

Celsius wg herbicide bottle

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Celsius WG Herbicide controls over 150 varieties of weeds, particularly dandelions that enjoy the summer weather. A broad-spectrum herbicide that won’t kill your grass, Celsius can be used when temperatures become higher.

 

Certainty Herbicide (Warm Season)

Certainty herbicide bottle

 

Targeting Poa Annua, dandelions, and nutsedge,  you can easily apply Certainty herbicide over a broad range of temperatures. Effective in spring, summer, and fall — we recommend using this alongside Celsius for ultimate weed control.

 

Tenacity Herbicide (Cool Season)

Tenacity herbicide bottle

 

Tenacity herbicide is one of the best weed killers for cool-season grass. You can use it as a pre and post-emergent herbicide for over 46 broadleaf weed and grass species.

 

Sedgehammer® Herbicide (Cool and Warm Season)

Sedgehammer herbicide bottle

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Sedgehammer® is a selective and safe weed killer on yellow and purple nutsedge, kyllinga, and other broadleaf weeds.

 

Certain products like surfactants and turf mark indicators can help increase the efficacy of your chosen herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Surfactants like Hi-Yield Spreader Sticker can increase the absorption, sticking, and translocation of all these products — aiding performance and yielding faster results. 

Instead of buying all these products separately, you can now buy cool-season and warm-season herbicide kits from the golf course lawn store to make summer lawn-care maintenance easy. 

During the summer, be on the lookout for grubs that will feed on your grassroots. You can find more information about grub treatment in this blog and how to apply Acelepryn below.


3. Fall Lawn Care Schedule

Lawn with wet green grass covered with fallen varicolored maple leaves in autumn cloudy day

If you have a cool season grass type, fall is the time to fertilize to encourage strong root growth over winter. Warm-season grasses are winding down naturally as they go dormant in cold temperatures — here’s how to prepare your lawn for winterization

September, October

Your year-round lawn care schedule comes full circle in the fall. Here, you’ll repeat many of the steps you did in spring to give your lawn the best possible boost into winter dormancy. 

Fertilize  & Fungicide — September

Cool-season grasses require extra nutrients in the fall, but warm-season grasses can also benefit. Try another soil test to understand which nutrients your lawn is lacking before going into winter. 

Supplement your grass with Lebanon Turf’s Humic Max at an application rate of 3 lb per 1k for a high-performance golf course fertilizer. Other fertilizers which will prepare your lawn for winter include Golf Course Lawn Store’s Stress 12-0-24 and Mirimichi Green’s Release 901C™, which contains both fertilizer and biostimulants. 

September is also when you’ll need to apply a fall fungicide. Due to damp conditions and excess thatch buildup, fall is when lawn diseases can take hold. Headway G is a broad-spectrum fungicide safe for children and pets, or use Caravan G as a combined insecticide and fungicide to keep pests in check.

Fall Pre-Emergents — September 

As your lawn enters dormancy, stubborn weeds can exploit your turf’s vulnerability. To prevent weeds in the fall and winter, use a pre-emergent herbicide such as Dithiopyr .15%, which will stop invading weeds and feed your lawn simultaneously. Another great alternative is Prodiamine 65 WDG — a broad spectrum pre-emergent in easy-to-use water granule form. 

Aerate & Overseeding — September 

For cool-season lawns, the heat of the summer and poor growing conditions might have left bare or thinning patches on your lawn. If you didn’t in the spring, it’s a good idea to aerate your lawn again before winter. Early fall and spring are the perfect time to reseed with a grass type suited to your region if you notice thinner areas. Before you lay down new grass seed, you’ll need to remove thatch and debris. Use a shovel to break up the soil, add an inch of compost or fertilizer and spread your grass seed. Work the seed with a rake, spreading it over dying or depleted patches in your lawn. 


Keeping It Clean — September-October

Keeping your lawn clean should be a year-long task. In fall, dead leaves can accumulate fast. A little leaf and organic matter won’t cause any harm, but excessive amounts of leaves can cause problems such as “smothering” or “suffocating” your grass. This will inhibit growth come spring and promote the onset of diseases like snow mold, creating a cozy area for moles and other critters to hide. 

You have two options when it comes to cleaning away fall leaves.

  1. Use a rake or leaf blower to collect the leaves and either compost or dispose of them. If your mower has a bagging attachment, you can also use this to collect your leaves.
  2. You can use your mower to mulch leaves (chop them into small pieces). As organic matter, dead leaves contain plenty of nutrients, including high levels of nitrogen. Fallen tree leaves have also been shown to reduce weed seed germination when used as lawn mulch. 

4. Winter Lawn Care Schedule 

Frosted grass on a blurry bokeh sunrise backdrop

November, December, January

The majority of grass types will become dormant during the winter season. This means there’s not much for you to do when the grass is frozen. To prepare for winterization, as it’s known in the lawn-care world, read our guide on winter turf care.


Try to avoid walking, parking, and leaving heavy objects on your lawn during the winter months — if you can help it. You can undo all your hard work by compressing soil and grass blades with heavy traffic. Because your lawn isn’t growing in the winter, it will take longer to recover from damage. In the spring, the lawn will also be compacted and take longer to green up. 

The quiet period in your seasonal lawn-care maintenance means you can use this opportunity to look after your equipment. Clean out your broadcast spreaders and backpack sprayers. Sharpen the blades on your mower and test your irrigation system — you won’t get much time to do this at other times of the year. 

5. Lawn Care Schedule Month-by-Month Breakdown

FEBRUARY
    • Optional: Pre Scalp lawn
    • Perform a soil test. Results will dictate which fertilizer is best for your soil needs.
    • Before 5-day soil temp average reaches 55 degrees, apply  Spring Pre-Emergent - (Prodiamine or Dithiopyr)
      MARCH
      APRIL MAY JUNE JULY  AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 

      NOVEMBER 

          6. Seasonal Lawn-Care Maintenance

          Achieving a perfect lawn is no mean feat. Patience, diligence, and commitment are required to get your grass to the golf course standard. Following the steps in this guide will set you up for success, but remember to research your grass type and test your soil first. Long-term planning with this lawn-care schedule will increase the chances of a healthy and flourishing lawn. 

          Enroll on our golf course lawn academy course for a more comprehensive breakdown of your yearly lawn care schedule with specialist advice.