Lawn Care Schedule For Cool Season Grasses

Cool Season Lawn Care Calendar

  Print Article By DoMyOwn staff


Overview

Maintenance Calendar For Cool Season Grasses

Maintenance is what keeps your lawn looking its best. Each step is designed to counterbalance unfavorable conditions and keep your lawn healthy and beautiful, and keeping to a lawn schedule makes it easy to keep on top of your lawn's needs.

States With Cool Season Grasses: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Common Cool Season Grass Types: Kentucky Bluegrass, Annual Ryegrass, Perennial Ryegrass, Fine Fescue, Tall Fescue, Creeping Bentgrass, Blend

Cool Season Lawn Care Schedule


Cool Season Grasses Lawn Care Schedule

Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall
Pre-Emergents
(Mar - May, Aug - Nov)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Post-Emergents
(May - Oct)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fertilization
(Mar - Nov)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mowing
(Mar - Nov)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Watering
(Mar - Oct)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aeration
(Jun - Aug)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dethatching
(Mar - May)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jan Feb Mar
Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sep
Oct Nov Dec


Fertilization

(March-May and September-November) 2-4 times per year based on soil analysis
Fertilization is key to giving your lawn the proper nutrients it needs to thrive. Proper fertilization is a balance between relying on what your soil is giving your lawn and what you can add. Over-fertilization can cause spurts of random growth that will cause unsightly, uneven patches of grass. However, under-fertilization can cause the grass to have difficulty warding off invading weeds and disease. We recommend using a soil analysis test kit or taking a sample of your soil to your local cooperative extension so your soil can be analyzed to determine what nutrients your soil is lacking. The healthiest, hardiest lawns are fertilized 4 times per year, fall, summer, early spring and late spring.
Pro Tip

When fertilizing in the spring you can choose to use a "weed and feed." These products contain both a fertilizer and a pre-emergent herbicide.


Mowing

(March-November) Weekly to start, then every 2 weeks, then monthly at the end of the season
Proper mowing height and frequency plays a big role in your lawn's overall health. Mowing height can affect many aspects of your lawn. Cutting grass too close and short can increase your maintenance load (it will have to be cut more often to keep it healthy), and can make your grass susceptible to diseases. Increase mowing height during hot and dry weather. A good rule of thumb is to never remove more than 1/3 of the length of the grass blades at a time. Most grass types are the most healthy when they are are between 2-3 inches in length.

Your lawn should be mowed consistently, but when applying fertilizers, pre-emergent pesticides, or insecticide applications to your lawn, read labels carefully since some have mowing restrictions before application, and some have mowing restrictions after application. During spring you may need to mow as often as once per week. During summer mowing is less frequent and usually once every 2 weeks is sufficient. Finally during fall as the temperatures start to drop you may need to mow once a month until the grass starts to go into a dormant stage and mowing will cease. This typically happens once temperatures start consistently reaching 50-55 F for about 1 week.


Watering

(June-September) Weekly when rain levels are below 1 inch
How often you water your lawn depends largely on where you live and your specific grass type. The main reason to water grass in summer is to maintain color. Proper watering is important, but will not fix all your lawn's issues.

Deep, infrequent waterings help to encourage deep root growth. Shallow, frequent waterings lead to shallow root growth and weak roots.

Water in the early morning to avoid scorching and to make sure the blades are dry before the humidity sets to prevent lawn diseases. If you get less than 1" of precipitation in a week it is time to consider watering your lawn. It is not recommended that you water more than 1" of water per watering.


Aeration

(March-April and September-November) 1-2 times per year
Compacted soils, due to silt or clay soils or heavy foot traffic, can inhibit growth since air, water, and nutrients are unable to reach the roots. When left unchecked, compacted soils can lead to pest and maintenance problems, including making it harder for grass to fight off weeds and recover from damage.

Core aeration is the best way to go here, and you can rent an aeration machine for larger lawns and a hand corer for smaller areas. Cores of earth are removed (and left on your lawn for extra nutrients) and holes left in your lawn, which will eventually be filled in with new grass.

If you do plan to schedule an aeration for your lawn it is important that any pre-emergent herbicide be applied after the aeration is completed.


Dethatching

(March-April) 1 time per year
Thatch is an excessive growth of grass that builds up before existing plant matter can decompose. Heavy thatch creates a barrier to air, water, and nutrients to the soil. This can cause shallow root development, prevent pesticide or fertilizer penetration, and can harbor disease causing bacteria, fungus, and insects.

Dethatching generally includes power raking or using a vericutting machine to remove the excess thatch. Aeration can also accomplish a similar result.

If you do plan to schedule a dethatching for your lawn it is important that any pre-emergent herbicide be applied after the dethatching is completed.


Weed Control

Weeds distract from the color and texture of your lawn, and compete with your grass for nutrients and water, which can result in a thinned out lawn. Weeds are usually broken up into two categories- grassy (which includes crabgrass) and broadleaf (like dandelions and clover).

You can control almost all turf weeds with either pre-emergent or post-emergent weed control products.


Pre-Emergents

(March-May) 2 times per year
Pre-emergent products kill weeds before they are able to grow above the soil. It is important to apply pre-emergents just before the soil reaches 55+ degrees, just before the seeds begin to germinate in the soil.

Timing is very important! Please be sure sure to refer to the product label for mowing restrictions prior to and after herbicide applications as mowing can negatively impact the efficacy of the herbicide.


Post-Emergents

(June-November) 1-2 times per growing season, or as needed (with non-selective herbicides)
Post-emergent products kill already-growing weeds, and you can choose many different types of these products. Note that some will not harm foliage other than the target weed (called selective) while non-selective will kill any plant it comes in contact with, including your grass.

Please be sure sure to refer to the product label for mowing restrictions prior to and after herbicide applications as mowing can negatively impact the efficacy of the herbicide.


Cool Season Lawn Care Schedule Infographic

(Click to View Full Graphic)

318 of 333 people found this article informative and helpful.

Was this article informative and helpful to you?   Yes No

Next Warm Season Grasses Overview