Healthy, green, grassy lawns are the result of thoughtful, regular lawn maintenance. Proper lawn maintenance includes mowing, watering, aerating and fertilizing the lawn using correct methods at recommended intervals for your type of grass and level of personal interest. Most cool season grass varieties will benefit from a cut height of 3 inches, weekly watering and yearly aeration and fertilization.
Mow the lawn to a height of 3 inches during the growing season, typically late spring through early fall for cool season grasses. Mow the lawn shorter during the fall to effectively mulch leaves and reduce the likely hood of snow mold in the early spring. Never mow the lawn more than one-third its total height at one time, and be sure to have your lawn mower blades sharpened annually to produce a clean cut turfgrass.
Water the lawn in deep, infrequent intervals, averaging 1 inch of water per week, including natural rainfall amounts. Light, frequent watering promotes shallow root growth which will benefit weed growth more than grass growth. During the summer months, when the turfgrass, turns a darker shade of green and footprints remain imprinted on the lawn surface, it's time to water. Cool season grasses turn brown in the winter months as they become dormant and do not require any watering.
Aerating the lawn improves top soil drainage, reduces soil compaction and thatch build-up. Highly trafficked lawn areas are prone to soil compaction and thatch build-up which stifle the movement of water and nutrients to the grass roots. Aeration is best accomplished by puncturing small, cylindrical holes into the topsoil using a core aerator. The best time to aerate the lawn is during May or September when the lawn is actively growing.
Fertilizer aids in moisture retention, soil temperature moderation and adds vital minerals and nutrients to the top soil. Lawn grass fertilizer should only be applied during active grass growth. The amount of fertilizer applications per year depend on the level of proactive lawn maintenance you are willing to provide. A minimum of one fertilizer application should by applied in late October. Two additional fertilizer applications could be applied to the lawn in early June and early September. Apply no more than 1 pound of nitrogen based fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn grass area. Too much fertilizer aids in the growth of weeds.