Lawn Maintenance Checklist: Learn What You Need to Do Each Season
The appearance and behavior of turfgrass change with every season of the year. Seasonal variations in temperature, rainfall, and humidity will affect your lawn. Along with changes in the environment, the way you care for the lawn should also change.
To get the most out of your lawn and maximize your home’s curb appeal, says McCaw Management, you must understand the impact of each season on the turf. This means knowing what to do even in winter when the lawn in your Texas home does not appear to need any care at all.
Texas is a lot warmer than many states in the USA and in the Lone Star state, the grass in your lawn never really stops growing. So even in winter when lawns in colder climates are hibernating, you still have to give some attention to your lawn.
In the checklist below, we explain the important things you need to know to keep abreast of lawn care for your home.
A lawn maintenance checklist for homeowners in Texas
- As a first step, access the health of your lawn. If it looks spotty and pale, fertilize it more frequently. If it is green and healthy, you probably don’t need to fertilize it at all.
- If you fertilize the lawn, use fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, with moderate and low quantities of phosphorus and potassium respectively.
- The best time to apply fertilizer depends on the weather, but you should not apply fertilizer until the grass is actively growing. To avoid wasting fertilizer, the lawn should be 50% green.
- If you prefer compost, apply it early in spring, to avoid burning the lawn during the warmer months. A top dressing of compost to a depth of a ¼” should be enough.
- Weed control during spring is vital. If you can stop weeds from sprouting in spring, you can prevent weeds for the rest of the year.
- Apply pre-emergent herbicide from mid-to-late February or early March.
- Watering the lawn according to the proper schedule is the most important part of Texas lawn care. Lawns require 1” of water per week, split into 2 ½” applications.
- To know if you are giving the lawn too much or too little water, place old bean cans (or similar containers) around the lawn on your next watering day and water as usual.
- Check the cans later to see how much water is in them and if every part of the lawn is getting the same amount of water.
- Texas summers are hot, dry, and very hard on lawn grass. During the summer the lawn uses up a lot of nutrients from the soil.
- Without sufficient water, the lawn could easily go into summer dormancy. The grass stops growing and turns golden-brown.
- If your area is experiencing a drought, you may let the grass go dormant, since it will start growing again once water becomes available.
- Watering your lawn during the summer months will encourage deep water infiltration, deep-rooting, and healthy grass growth.
- To correctly water the lawn, you need roughly an inch of water per week or 1 ½” twice a week.
- The time of day when you water the lawn is important. The best time to do it is early in the morning. Watering the lawn at this time will let the water soak into the soil and the root of the plants, while also reducing water loss from evaporation.
- To reduce the stress on your lawn due to the summer heat, the grass should be kept longer in summer. This will promote deeper root growth and provide cover from the sun’s heat.
- Keep your grass as high as a soda can turned on its side. You may stop mowing the lawn altogether if the heat is excessive or there is drought.
- Summer is also the time to watch for pests especially Bermuda grass mites, grubs, and chinch bugs.
- Although grass almost stops growing in fall, your lawn care does not stop. To get a fast start in spring, you should begin with the right steps in the fall.
- If you let your lawn go into winter with weak roots, grass survival in spring will be less certain. To prevent this, use the fall season to replenish soil nutrients.
- To maintain healthy roots in fall, keep watering and mowing the lawn. However, you should drop the blade to the lowest level to let sunlight penetrate the crown.
- To prevent winter weeds, start to apply pre-emergent herbicide and weed control in the fall. This should be done early to-mid October.
- You should also apply fertilizer during the fall. But the timing for fertilizer application should not coincide with that for herbicide application. If the time is right for herbicides, it is usually wrong for fertilizers.
- Another important part of Texas lawn care in the fall is soil aeration. This is necessary to allow water, oxygen, and fertilizer to reach the plant roots. Soil aeration can be done using an aerator.
- Removing leaves from the lawn as soon as possible is critical. Leaving leaves on the lawn will encourage root rot and fungal diseases.
- Winter is both the time to keep up the work you started in the fall and also take new steps in your lawn care journey.
- Throughout the winter, keep up with mowing and yard cleanups. Doing this on a bi-weekly basis will help you preserve the health and beauty of your lawn as well as reduce cost and effort in spring.
- If you could not get the shorter cut recommended for fall, you should do it in winter. For your last major cut of the season, adjust the blade so the grass is no more than 2” tall. This will work for Bermuda grass, St. Augustine grass, or Zoysia grass.
- Cutting the grass as low as it can go will help to remove grass clippings and also pick up acorns and leaves that litter the lawn. Winter debris – acorns, leaves, thatch, and grass clippings – will suffocate your grass. They will keep water and nutrients from reaching the plants.
- In the event that you have overnight frost, shorter grass will also prevent matted turf. Matted turf is more vulnerable to damage and disease.
- Preventative weed treatment is also important in winter. That’s because, although spring weeds stop growing in winter, broadleaf weeds are still a threat during this season.
- Finally, lawn watering should not cease with the onset of winter. To maintain lawn health, you need to retain some moisture in the soil. But the irrigation system should be set to a winter watering schedule; this is normally once a week.