Get ready for spring by using a month-by-month lawn care schedule for warm season grasses.
Before you start, though, you need to understand a bit about the climate that you live in and what type of grass grows in your yard.
Two Types of Lawn Grasses and Three Types of Growing Regions
There are two types of grasses: cool season and warm season lawn grasses. If you live in the South, you have warm season grasses, such as Bahiagrass, Bermuda grass, carpet grass, St. Augustine grass, and zoysia.
Warm season grasses grow best in daytime temperatures between 80°F and 95°F.
On the other hand, if you live in the Northeast or the Midwest, you most likely have cool season grasses including:
- Annual ryegrass
- Creeping bentgrass
- Fine fescue
- Kentucky bluegrass
- Perennial ryegrass
- Tall fescue.
Cool season grasses grow best in cooler daytime temperatures ranging from 60°F to 75°F.
If you live in a transitional zone, you probably struggle to maintain a green lawn. Why? Because your summers are too hot for cool season grasses and too cold for warm season grasses.
Many lawn care companies and savvy homeowners who live in temperate zones have found a compromise.
Homeowners know that they’ll have to deal with fungal diseases and bare patches but have found that using cool season grass in the shade and warm season grass in full sun provides a compromise of sorts.
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Month by Month Lawn Care Schedule if You Live in the South
If you live south of the temperate zone, your lawn will be made up of warm season grasses. You also have a longer growing season and spring starts early for you. Let’s look at what you need to do each calendar month of the year:
- Use this month to sharpen your mower blades and trimmers. If you didn’t get to it in the fall, you can wipe down your spreaders, carts, dethatcher, and aerator to get them ready for spring. If you live in the Deep South, such as southern Alabama, Louisiana, or Florida, you can do some mid-winter edging and trimming. Finally, if parts of your lawn refuse to grow grass, you can purchase a soil test from your local big box store or garden center. Make sure the soil is unfrozen and on the dry side before taking your samples.
- Winter weeds will pop up in your dormant, brown lawn. Spot treat them with post-emergent weed control. It’s also an excellent time to put down pre-emergent weed control to stop crabgrass and other grassy weeds from germinating. Make sure the soil temperature stays above 55°F for a few nights before applying pre-emergent weed control. February is also an excellent time to clean up your yard of sticks, stones, leaves, pine needles, and other debris.
- Mowing season starts in March as your lawn grass greens up and starts growing. For the first few mows, you can scalp your lawn to get rid of the ryegrass that you planted in the fall. If you think that your lawn has a fungal disease, don’t leave the grass clippings on the lawn. Instead, collect them and throw them away, so you don’t spread disease throughout your property. If you have your soil test results from January, and it shows that your soil is between 6.5 and 7 on the pH scale, you don’t need to do anything. Lawn grass prefers slightly acidic soil. However, if your soil test shows any number lower than 6.5, then you’ll need to add lime to “sweeten” the soil, making it more basic. Conversely, if your soil test shows that the soil is above seven, you’ll need to add sulfur to make the soil more acidic. March is the perfect time to add soil amendments, such as compost or other organic nutrition, to open up the soil and increase microbe activity below ground.
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- As soil temperatures rise to 65°F, it’s time to overseed your lawn where it’s thin or bare. If you’re starting a new lawn, make sure that you buy premium grass seed that’s uncoated. You also want to invest in a starter fertilizer to give your grass seed a jumpstart. Don’t forget to put a layer of straw mulch over the grass seed and water it every day until it begins to sprout. Now is the time to mow your lawn at its recommended length. For warm season grasses, you only need to take off 1”-3” each time you mow. Early in the growing season, when your grass is growing quickly, you can take 3” off the top. But when your yard grass starts to slow down, you should cut back to 1”-2” off the top with each mow.
- You want to aerate and dethatch your warm season lawn. An aerator takes small plugs of soil out of the ground to allow water to drain, air circulation to improve and relieve soil compaction. May is also the perfect time to dethatch your lawn. A dethatcher is basically a big comb that takes up the layer between the soil line and the turf line. Thatch is made up of dead stems, roots and other grass debris. It’s safe for your yard grass to have up to ¾” of thatch. Any more than ¾” will suffocate your turf as well as prevent sun and water from reaching the soil. For a mean and green lawn, don’t forget to give your yard a good soaking once or twice a week. Your yard grass needs 1” to 1.25” of water per week—whether that’s from your irrigation system or from rainfall. If it rains, you deduct the amount of rain you get in a given week to determine how much water your lawn needs.
- During the summer, you’ll need to fertilize your lawn every 4-8 weeks or longer if you use a slow-release fertilizer. It’s better for your lawn if you use a slow-release fertilizer, instead of a quick-release one. Slow-release fertilizer gives your property uniform color as well as it’s less likely to burn your lawn grass. However, slow-release nutrition isn’t available right away for yard grass. Instead, quick-release fertilizers provide the nourishment to the grass plants right away. They also use less water and ensure quick growth.
- It’s now time to raise your mower blades to only take off 1” – 1 ½” off each time you mow. Taller grass conserves water and energy during the hot summer months. Plus, it shades the soil, so weed seeds can’t germinate. It’s also time to apply grub control to your yard. Grubs are newly hatched and are close to the soil line. They’re also very hungry. You’ll be able to reduce the number of grubs eating your turfgrass’s roots when you apply grub control.
- Summer is winding down, and it’s time to prepare your lawn for the winter. Continue mowing at a higher height to keep grass tall and thick. It’s time to fertilize your grass for winter. Your lawn grass needs a final feeding about 6-8 weeks before the first frost. If you have Bermuda grass, you need to wait until 4-5 weeks before the first frost to apply winter fertilizer.
- This month, you’ll be busy with wrapping up your lawn care chores. Your lawn grass needs less water since September provides plenty of rain. Turn on your lawn sprinkler to supplement rainwater if you get less than 1 ¼” per week. You don’t want your turfgrass to get dry because it’ll affect next spring’s green-up. You also want to add another round of pre-emergent weed control to stop cool season weeds, such as poa annua, from germinating. It’s also the right time to apply cool season pre-emergent weed control when nighttime temperatures dip down to 65°F to 75°F consistently. However, if you overseeded your lawn, you don’t want to put down any pre-emergent weed control because it’ll keep grass seed from germinating too. When your warm season grass starts to brown, it’s time to plant perennial ryegrass for winter green. Make sure that you keep overseeded areas moist. Lightly water your lawn to make sure it gets an even amount of water.
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- Continue to mow warm season grasses until it stops growing and it starts to go dormant. Make the last cuts of the season shorter than average. Test your soil if you have moss growing in your yard or other telltale signs of acidic soil.
- If you planted any cool season grasses on your property, continue fertilizing and maintaining these grasses until they stop growing.
- It’s a perfect time to clean up and put away your mower, spreaders, lawn roller, lawn sprayer, and lawn sweeper. You also need to maintain a regular watering schedule for your overseeded lawn.
How Brinly-Hardy Lawn Care and Garden Attachments are Essential to a Healthy Yard
Now that you have your month by month lawn care calendar for your warm season lawn, it’s time to get the right tools for the job– and look no further than a Brinly’s Lawn Care and Garden Attachment. You can find your Brinly Lawn Care Attachments at these online retailers. If you can’t find any Brinly Lawn Care and Garden Attachments, call our customer service at 877-728-8224 or fill out our contact form.
TheLawnInstitute.org, “Cool and Warm Season Grasses.”
Ibid, “Fertilizers – Quick Release and Slow-Release Nitrogen – What’s the Difference?”
Pennington.com, “Lawn Care Calendar for Warm-Season Lawns.”