Do-it-Yourself Annual Lawn Care in Georgia

Overview

From the hot, humid areas of the coastal plains to the cool Piedmont mountain areas, Georgia has a wide variance of growing conditions. Warm-season grasses grow in the southern areas where summer temperatures average above 80 degrees F. These grasses include Bermuda, zoysia, carpet grass, centipede grass and St. Augustine grass. In the mountainous regions of Georgia, cool-season grasses prevail. These grasses withstand cold winters and thrive when summer temperatures range from 60 to 75 degrees F. Typical cool-season grasses include tall fescue, Kentucky bluegrass and rye grass.

Step 1

Fertilize warm-season grasses when the grass first begins to green up, mid-season and six weeks before the first expected frost. Apply 10 lbs. of 12-4-8 granular fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn each time. Apply 10 to 15 lbs. of granular 16-4-8 fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn to cool-season grasses in April and September.

Step 2

Water your Georgia lawn just before it begins to wilt. The grass will appear bluish-green and when you walk on the lawn, footprints appear in the grass. Water so moisture permeates the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. For most lawns, apply water for two or three hours at a time. Applying water deeply, but infrequently, encourages the grass to develop deep roots and will create a healthier lawn than applying water for short periods. If the water is running off, turn it off and wait a while before finishing. Water early in the morning, before the sun rises for best moisture retention.

Step 3

Mow the lawn at the proper height for your type of grass. Mow rye grass, fescue and bluegrass to a height of 2 to 3 inches high. Mow carpet grass, zoysia and hybrid Bermuda to a height of 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches high. Never cut off more than one-third of the height of your lawn at a time. Sharpen your blades three or four times each season. Cutting your lawn with dull blades tears the grass, promoting disease. Use a push reel mower on zoysia and hybrid Bermuda grasses. Mow other grasses with a gas- or electric-powered rotary mower. Scalp your lawn in early spring by lowering the mower height and going over the lawn in several directions. This process removes thatch and creates a healthier lawn. Lower your mower only 1/4 inch when scalping centipede and St. Augustine grasses.

Step 4

Aerate the lawn in early spring to reduce compaction in the soil. You can usually rent an aerator. The aerator digs small plugs of dirt out of the soil. Leave these plugs to decompose or clean them up and dispose, if you prefer. Apply a topdressing of compost in the spring to improve the soil's texture. Apply 1/2 to 2 cubic yards per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Rake the compost evenly over the lawn and fertilize as directed above.

Things You'll Need

  • Granular lawn fertilizer
  • Lawn mower
  • Aerator
  • Compost

References

  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension: Lawns in Georgia

Who Can Help

  • University of Georgia Cooperative Extension: Protecting Your Home, Lawn and Garden
Keywords: Georgia lawns, maintaining Georgia lawns, grass in Georgia

About this Author

Julie Christensen has been writing professionally since 2001. She is a full-time freelance writer and former teacher with writing credits from several regional and national publications, such as Colorado Parent and LDS Living. She specializes in parenting, education and gardening topics. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College, and spent 20 years as a teacher and director in university and public school settings.