Lawn maintenance is crucial to green and healthy turf grass. There will be some maintenance required from spring throughout the fall, however lawn grasses are different and locations are different, so adjustments are needed from general lawn care to your specific lawn. Young lawns will need more care than established ones and weather may alter your schedule. Keeping the lawn thick and healthy will keep weeds from intruding and cut down on disease and insects. Although it may be time consuming, lawn care is not difficult and is well worth the work.
Clean up the lawn early in the spring. Rake up all fallen leaves, tree limbs and other debris. Dethatch and aerate the lawn before resuming regular maintenance.
Mow your lawn as soon when it reaches 3 to 4 inches high in the spring. Cut it to 2 to 2 ½ inches with sharp mower blades on a dry day. If the lawn has grown higher than 4 inches, bag the clipping or use a mulching type mower.
Apply a pre-emergent crab grass herbicide in the beginning of April. Crabgrass won't be able to germinate in thick grass stands, so only apply to bare or thin areas. For thick, lush established lawns, this application will not be necessary. For lawns that have crabgrass, reapply in the middle of May.
Begin to water after the herbicide is applied. Water the lawn early in the morning, slowly to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Once a week watering is usually sufficient unless the weather is very hot and dry. Leaves will start to curl and you will leave a footprint when you walk across the lawn if it needs water.
Repair bare spots by digging dead grass from the area and mixing in a 1-inch layer of compost. Reseed the area and water well. Warm season grasses as used in the south should be seeded in the spring. Cool season grasses should be planted in the first two weeks of April or in the fall.
Apply a lawn fertilizer in mid to late May. Applying fertilizer too early will give you a green lawn at the expense of good root growth. Mulching or leaving short clippings on the lawn after mowing should be enough nitrogen early in the spring to green-up the lawn. Repeat fertilizing in September and after the last mowing in November.
Aerate again in September and apply 40 pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Lime applications do not need to be done every year--once every three years should be sufficient. However, only a soil test can determine that for sure.