How Often Should I Mow, Fertilize, and Water My Lawn?
Whether you're new to lawn care of just trying to get your lawn in the best shape possible, you've come to the right place because we're here to answer some of the most popular lawn care questions we see people asking. So, with that, below is a breakdown of when to do what when it comes to lawn care.
How Often Should I Mow My Lawn?
This depends on a few factors, including the type of grass you have, the climate in your area, and the time of year. Most lawns should be mowed at least once a week during the growing season, which is typically from late spring to early fall. When the grass grows rapidly, like after long stretches of rainy weather or during early spring, you may need to cut the lawn more often.
When you mow, try to cut your grass roughly 3 inches tall because this keeps the lawn from getting “scalped”, or mowed down to the point where it struggles to grow back. Keeping grass at around 3 inches tall will also prevent the grass from growing too much and getting out of control. Taller grass needs more nutrients to stay healthy, which can be an issue for yards that aren’t in nutrient-rich environments.
Mowing your lawn at the right height and frequency is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy lawn. The general rule of thumb is to remove no more than one-third of the grass blade at a time. This gives the lawn some time to repair after each mow because cutting it can be stressful for the grass.
In fact, the smell of “fresh cut grass” is actually the result of chemicals being released when the lawn’s in distress or in the process of healing itself. But, leaving the lawn unchecked can also cause damage. Plus, we all love the smell of a new cut yard. The key is maintaining a balance between an overgrown and a scalped lawn.
How Often Should I Fertilize My Lawn?
The best time to fertilize your lawn is in the spring, before the grass begins to grow rapidly. This gives your yard all the nutrients it needs to thrive as the weather warms up. It also helps to stop other plants from overgrowing your grass and killing portions of your lawn. The last thing you want is a patchy lawn.
Now, if you live somewhere with cold winters, you should also fertilize your lawn again in the fall before the cold spell strikes. When temperatures drop near or below freezing, grass will stop growing and become dormant to conserve what nutrients it can to survive the cold and less intense sunlight. When you fertilize before winter, this puts more nutrients into the soil for the grass to use.
Keep in mind that when you fertilize, be sure to use a fertilizer that’s specifically formulated for lawns.
How Often Should I Water My Lawn?
Watering your lawn deeply and infrequently is the best way to promote healthy root growth. Even in drier climates, lawns don’t require more than an inch of water three times per week. In fact, grass in drier climates is well-prepared to survive with less water than in other environments.
Overwatering can cause your lawn to become dependent on regular watering instead of developing its own strong, effective root system. That can cause all kinds of problems, as it makes your lawn much more vulnerable to disease and shifts in climate patterns.
The best time to water your lawn, if needed, is early in the morning because that gives the water time to soak into the soil before it evaporates under the hot sun.
Other Ways to Care for Your Lawn
If you want to go above and beyond when it comes to lawn maintenance, here are a few other bonus tips to help you have the best yard in town.
Aeration involves removing small plugs of soil from your lawn, which allows water, air, and nutrients to penetrate the soil easier. This can be done manually, with a manual aerator, or with a powered aerator. Typically, you'll want to do this once a year, either in spring when the grass is just starting to grow or just before the end of fall prior to the grass going dormant.
Disease and Pest Control
If you notice any unusually colored or wilting lawn, it may be a sign of a disease or pest problem. Be sure to take care of the issue right away because the sooner it’s handled, the better the results will be.
You can either consult with lawn care professionals or purchase a product to help depending on what the issue is. Either way, make sure to use non-toxic treatments that won’t hurt any children or pets that'll be in the treated area.
Lastly, overseeding and reseeding your lawn can help to improve the overall health and appearance. This can be done once in the spring or fall, depending on your climate.
When overseeding, you should use a high-quality seed that’s made specifically for your area. Luckily, it's a pretty simple process. Spread the seed evenly across the lawn using a broadcast spreader and once that’s done, make sure to keep it watered until the new grass establishes itself.
This may seem like a lot to take care of, but with the right mower and an understanding of the maintenance needed for a healthy lawn, you’ll have a yard you can be proud of in no time.
To help out, you can find the perfect mower for your lawn with our Help Me Choose Tool today.