Step by Step Guide To Yearly Lawn Care
Taking care of your lawn involves so much more than running the mower over it once a week during summer. While this is the bare minimum and will keep your grass looking tidy, it isn’t enough if you want a lush, green and healthy lawn all year round.
You don’t need to become a lawn nerd, spending every waking moment tending to the greenery, but you will need to be prepared to invest a portion of time each month to keep that grass at its best. The good news is that this doesn’t involve as much hard work as you might think.
I have put together an easy to follow lawn care calendar that details everything you need to do and when you need to do it.
January Lawn Care
One of the things that a lot of people enjoy over the winter months isn’t just the presence of Michael Buble and Reindeer; it’s having a break from mowing the lawn. You see, as the weather turns colder, the conditions mean that the grass won’t grow as quickly, so it won’t need cutting as often.
But as the festive season comes to a close and January rolls in, it is a good time to start preparing for the onset of spring. I know it’s still a while away, but as they say ‘it’ll be here before you know it.’ And if you’re inadequately prepared, your future self won’t thank you. So, take the time, while there are fewer other jobs to be worrying about, and service your mower.
The work you’ll need to do will largely depend on the type of lawn mower you have. For cordless models, it may require nothing more than making sure that your batteries are still in good working order and that the blades are sharp. If you have a corded mower, a quick blade check and ensuring that there is no visible damage to the mower and power cord will be sufficient.
However, if you have a petrol mower, then you’ll need to dedicate a little more time to maintaining it. This might involve changing spark plugs and filters as well as ensuring a sharp and clean blade. To learn more read my article “10 simple steps to maintaining your petrol lawn mower“.
While I wouldn’t call it lawn care, as such, you should be mindful of how the lawn is used at this time of the year. Owing to the moisture and frost, walking on your lawn can cause compaction and puddling, which isn’t going to benefit its health in any way. What’s more, the frost may cause the grass to bruise more easily, causing discolouration. If you absolutely must walk on the lawn in January, then there may be no getting away from it, but if there’s another way; take it!
February Lawn Care
While your grass will have grown much more slowly over winter, there will have been some growth and this means that the edges may be looking in need of a little TLC. February is a great time to do this and even if you can’t mow the entire lawn, trimming and tidying those edges can make the world of difference.
In theory, you could give your lawn a light mow at the end of February, but I wouldn’t recommend scheduling this as a matter of course. It is important to assess the conditions, ensuring that the ground is not frozen or too wet. In the UK, you know, as well as I do, that the end of February could be glorious sunshine and 16ºc some years, while in others, the ground could be blanketed in snow. So, take it as it comes.
If you have been meaning to lay down some new turf, February is a good time to do this but again, you will need to think about the condition of the ground. As long as it isn’t frozen, you should be OK to go ahead. If you can’t, then you might start thinking about supplies and tools you’ll need for spring lawn care next month and get these ordered in preparation.
Each year, you may notice different things about your lawn so again, you’ll need to take it as it comes, but giving your lawn a thorough inspection in February will help you to determine what jobs you’ll need to undertake next month. A bouncy lawn is likely to be covered in thatch and moss, which will need to be removed come March, whereas lawns that are suffering from an overgrowth of weeds will need treatment in April. Whatever the case, prepare for this now to ensure you have the right equipment and supplies available.
March Lawn Care
March signals the beginning of spring lawn care and can be an exciting time for anyone who is keen to improve the health of their lawn as things really start coming to life now. One of the first things you will need to do here is to mow the lawn for the first time this year.
Don’t go crazy; it is far better to cut the grass on the highest cutting height and work your way down to avoid shocking or stressing the grass. A general rule of thumb is to avoid cutting more than a third of the current height. Of course, you will also need to make sure that you have optimal cutting conditions, which include dry grass.
If you trimmed your edges in February then they may be ready for a little more work now, so you can take this opportunity to really shape them and get your lawn looking aesthetically pleasing.
Back in February, you will have assessed the condition of your lawn and now is the time to start applying treatments. However, I must stress again that whether you do this will depend on the current weather conditions. For example, if you’re having a particularly wet and cold March, then there is little point in applying treatments as they’ll simply get washed away.
That said, March should typically be mild…and I use the term typically very lightly, so you should be able to start applying moss or weed treatments as needed, following the manufacturer’s instructions closely. You may also need to scarify the lawn to remove existing moss and thatch.
April Lawn Care
If you couldn’t apply treatments in March because of adverse weather, then you should be able to apply them now so make this a priority.
Now that the weather is a little better, you will probably need to start mowing much more frequently. I would recommend once a week, but it is still important not to go over the top when it comes to the height.
If you began cutting last month, you should now be able to gradually reduce the height of the lawn each time you cut. It’s important to still stick to the ‘don’t remove more than a third’ rule, but over the course of a few weeks, you should reach your desired height.
Now is another good opportunity to check your mower blades and give them another sharpen or replace them, if they have begun to dull at all.
Owing to the improvement in the weather, April is a really good time to sow new grass seeds, should you need to. If your lawn is already lush and healthy then you might not need to do this, but if there are any bare patches or it’s looking generally sparse, I’d advise doing this now. Some areas of the lawn may be shaded and this means that any seed sown here won’t thrive as much as that which is sown in a sunnier location. The good news is that many manufacturers offer grass seed that is specifically designed for these conditions so be sure to choose the right one.
May Lawn Care
Many people enjoy the visual appeal of a striped lawn. If this sounds like you, then May is the ideal time to start putting those stripes in. You’ll need a lawn mower with a roller but be sure to stick with the cutting rules I have already discussed to maintain a stress-free and healthy lawn.
Now that spring truly has sprung, the weather is likely going to be much more favourable, especially for your grass. This means that you’ll likely need a much more detailed care schedule, so pay close attention to how often you feed and trim your lawn as well as ensuring that you stay on top of those edges, lest they become out of control.
You will probably also notice that weeds are becoming more of a problem thanks to that pleasant weather. It is possible to use a chemical product here, but if there aren’t many weeds, it will be healthier for your lawn if you simply dig them out. It goes without saying that avoiding using chemicals in any situation is always going to be the most preferable option. If you still want to use something to rid your lawn of weeds, then you may want to consider making your own homemade organic weed killer.
If you have been following a good lawn care schedule in general, then your lawn should be dense and strong and will compete favourably against weeds and moss.
June Lawn Care
By June, the UK is usually experiencing some pretty nice weather and it is normally around this time that things tend to heat up. That’s great news for your weekend BBQs and for the kids who want to play outdoors, but for your lawn, it could be risky.
Generally speaking, I would advise you to keep your lawn between 2.5cm and 3.5cm long depending on whether you want a utility or ornamental look, but when things get very hot, I’d suggest keeping the height a little higher. This will stop the roots from becoming scorched.
While it is a good idea to give your lawn a light watering, you won’t need to go over the top with this, even when it’s very hot and dry. This is because a well established lawn will hold moisture well. When you do use a lawn sprinkler, it’s best to do so at either end of the day so that the lawn can take the most moisture before it evaporates. Find out more by reading my article “best time to water the lawn“.
Mulching the lawn, as opposed to collecting the grass cuttings, will also help to release moisture and nutrients back into the lawn.
In addition, you should be mindful of how you use the lawn. Of course, at this time of year, you and your family are going to be spending a lot of time outdoors and what’s a lawn if not for enjoying? But just be careful to move around things like garden furniture, toys, blankets and anything else that may be on the lawn to avoid damaging what’s underneath.
Many people are tempted to put up an above ground pool on the grass as the surface is much softer, but since this is a semi permanent fixture, it will, without exception, damage the lawn. Not to mention that when it comes to emptying the pool, the intense amount of water will be akin to overwatering and could suffocate the roots.
July Lawn Care
It can be very tempting to let your lawn care slip to the bottom of your priority list as summer really kicks in because you’re busy doing other things. But I can’t stress enough the importance of staying on top of things, otherwise your lawn will suffer. Many people go on holiday at this time of year, if this will be the case, I would suggest enlisting the help of a friend or family member to water and mow the lawn for you.
You will also want to keep an eye on the colour of the grass. If you notice that it begins to turn a much darker shade of green, this is an indicator that it is beginning to dry out. You don’t want it to go so far that it turns brown, so be sure to stay on top of a watering schedule. Much like before, I’d suggest watering early in the morning or evening to avoid evaporation.
This is a good time of year to also check the condition of the lawn in terms of weeds. If you notice that the treatments you applied in early spring are now beginning to wear off, it’s a good time to give your lawn a boost and provide it with a second treatment.
You should give your mower blades the once over again at this time of year and re-sharpen them if they need it. Of course, you will need to continue with that weekly mowing schedule if you want your lawn to remain as healthy as possible.
August Lawn Care
You will likely notice that, in August, the lawn growth slows a little so it’s a good idea to now lift the cutting height. This will not only help you to keep up with the changes in growth speed, but will also prevent you from leaving the grass too short for too long, which could result in the lawn being less able to resist things like overuse and drought.
It is also important to consider the temperature. August is often one of the hotter months so there is more chance that the lawn will dry out. Stay on top of watering and this will help to prevent scorching.
Moreover, you will want to make sure that you are getting ready for autumn and the jobs you will need to do. August is a great time to begin assessing your lawn in terms of weeds and any bumpy or lumpy areas. You can even these out ready for the lawn care you’ll be doing next month.
September Lawn Care
Last month, you raised the cutting height for your lawn, but this month you will also need to reduce how often you mow to account for even slower growth. It’s important to ensure that grass stays as thick as possible, as this will offer the best protection against weeds, moss and disease.
If your lawn has begun to look a little sparse after heavy use over the summer, now is a good time to add some seed. The best results will be obtained during dry weather and you’ll better be able to fracture the soil with your garden fork. You’ll use a rake to spread the seed once applied and don’t forget to give it a good watering. Before sowing the seed, use your rake to remove any leaves and other debris from the lawn.
You will want to ensure that you also feed your lawn in September. Now is also a good time to aerate the lawn as this will improve drainage as the weather gets wetter over the winter. In addition, aerating will reduce soil compaction.
Another important September job is scarifying which simply means removing thatch and moss to improve the air flow and drainage of the lawn. You can use a rake for this or there are special powered lawn scarifiers that’ll get the job done more easily and quickly.
October Lawn Care
Despite having removed a good deal of fallen leaves in September, now is the time that you will really notice that they become a problem. Be sure to stay on top of removing these leaves as their presence will prevent sunlight from getting to the grass. Whether you rake them off or use a lawn vacuum, they can be put to good use as mulch.
If you have fruit trees in your garden then removing fallen fruit is also important as leaving it will heighten the risk of lawn diseases.
While some people will have laid new turf in September, this will be your last chance to do it before winter really takes hold. Laying turf in October doesn’t require the use of a roller, simply lay the turf flat and ensure enough moisture is provided.
Finally, you will need to continue to mow throughout the month although the frequency will be far less.
November Lawn Care
In November, you may need to aerate your lawn again. This will ensure that there is excellent drainage over the winter and is super important at this time of year when rainfall increases dramatically.
Additionally, you should be making sure that you remove anything from the grass that has been used over the summer. It’s also a good idea to avoid walking on the grass, especially when it is frozen. If the weather remains mild, then you may want to mow for a final time, but if things are wet, it’s probably best left alone.
Now is a great time to apply a winter lawn feed, so be sure to do this before it gets too cold.
December Lawn Care
Once again, December means keeping off the grass. As frost will be present more often than not at this time of year, standing on the grass carries a very high risk of damage. So keep well away.
If you are keen to decorate the outside of your home with Christmas decorations then that’s a great idea. However, I would advise placing these at the edges of the lawn or on pathways to avoid any lawn damage.
Finally, you can sit back and relax and enjoy the festive period. You won’t need to worry about much else this month, but if you really want to keep busy then I would suggest making plans for next month and ensuring that you have everything you need for January.