Looking for a month by month lawn care calendar? Lawn Phix created this specialized lawn care calendar and schedule for cool-season grasses – located in the Northeast (Zone 6b) in New England. Quickly check your lawn care tasks for each month of the season in this monthly guide to a healthy, thick green turf.
March Lawn Care
- The first day of spring is March 20, 2021
- Cleaning up is the main goal this month. Remove all branches, sticks, twigs, acorns and/or pine cones from the grass
- Assess the lawn and look for troubled areas including snow mold
- Pick up all other debris such as leaves that may have stuck remained over winter. A leaf blower is a good idea
- Get your mower ready. Sharpen your blades. I love the Gator G3 mulching blade by Oregon
- Get a soil test done so you know what your dirt needs heading into the season
- Early spring lawn care: Lightly rake the grass. This is going to help with airflow and circulation, and allow the blades of grass to stand up, exposing more blade surface to the sunlight
- Use a pre-emergent herbicides before soil temps hit 55 degrees. When forsythia start blooming, the crabgrass seeds are germinating. Stay ahead here
- If you didn’t winterize your lawn from the previous fall/winter, and didn’t add a late season fertilizer, apply a spring fertilizer application.
- Consider adding humic acids and micro nutrient to begin activating the soil microbes. Kelp4Less ExtremeBlend or Green lawn & Turf.
- Lime here if needed (see: soil test)
- 4 Step Plan users: Your Step 1 begins now
- Detailed Spring Lawn Care Tips
- Mow tall and frequently. Recycle, or mulch your clippings back into the grass. Don’t bag unless the clippings are too long – in which case you need to mow taller and/or more frequently. Looking for 3″ blades
- Continue to address soil test. Add a starter fertilizer now as soil temps hit 60 degrees and the turf really begins to grow
- Apply a second application of pre-emergent, this time using Dithiopyr. It also has post emergent qualities that will help kill crabgrass and dandelions
- Begin to spot spray and kill weeds. For a detailed post about weed control, read How To Get Rid of and Control Weeds in Your Lawn
- Understand N counts by using our Nitrogen Calculator
- Begin your fungicide preventative treatments now
- The first day of summer is June 21, 2021
- Begin your irrigation. Aim for 1″-1.5″ of water per week – including natural rain water. Water deeply but infrequently: 2-3 times per week at the most, preferably between 4-9 a.m.
- Grub Control & Treatment: If there’s a history of grubs or sod webworms, add a prevention (imidacloprid). To kill grubs within 48 hours, use an insecticide like Dylox.
- Fungus, such as brown patch, can also start now. Ideal climates are hot and humid. 2018 had lots of rain and hot humid overnight temps which was ideal for brown spot etc. An application of Heritage G can preventative and control turfgrass diseases for up to 28 days (also see products from May above)
- Raise mower height to ~3.5″ (depending on grass type)
- Spot-spray broadleaf weeds in earlier mornings or later evenings when air temperatures are under 85 degrees
- High heat and low rainfalls may lead to dormant grasses
- Irrigate as long as your town allows. Aiming for 1.5″ of weekly watering
- Keep an eye out for lawn diseases and fungus – especially as humidity rises
- Apply curative rates of fungicides
- Watch for grubs and other lawn insects
- Fertilize with slow release nitrogen fertilizer and organic lawn products
- Summer Survival (Potash , Humic Acid, Sea Kelp) is a great option
- Never fertilize dormant turf
August Lawn Care
- Same as July…
- Keep an eye out for lawn diseases and fungus – especially as humidity rises. Treat with a Heritage G type product
- Watch for grubs and other lawn insects
- Use a product containing Dylox to control grubs and cinch bugs
- Fertilize with low-nitrogen organics or skip all together
- Never fertilize dormant turf
September Lawn Care
- First day of fall is September 22, 2021
- Best time of year to start a new lawn and/or overseed you lawn
- Dethatch using a power rake, tow-behind dethatcher, or dethatching rake
- Core aerate doing a double-pass – up/down then left/right (north/south and east/west)
- Mow low around 2 – 2.5″
- Overseed or slice seed with a quality grass seed such as Jonathan Green Black Beauty or GCI Turf. Depending on how thin or think your turn is, aiming for 3- lbs. per 1,000
- Fertilize with a a quality starter fertilizer such as XSTART from Yard Mastery.
- Lime – depending on soil needs, a calcitic lime like Jonathan Green Magical
- When seeding, you can also use Tenacity
- Not seeding? Consider nitrogen blitz to push your lawn to recovery.
October Lawn Care
- Mow low again, aiming for ~2.5 – 3.0″ grass height. Final cut of the season should be 2″
- If you skipped September tasks, do it early as nighttime temps will drop to unfavorable temperatures for new seedlings trying to germinate
- Begin winterizer fertilizer like Macro-Micro Blend by Yard Mastery or ProPEAT 17-0-4
- Depending on location – After your final mow (when the grass stops top growth) and before your ground freezes
Related post: Prepare your lawn for winter
November Lawn Care
- Lime with pelletized lime to over-winter: Jonathan Green Magical
- Final application of winterizer fertilizer: Macro-Micro Blend by Yard Mastery or ProPEAT 17-0-4
- Final mow with a HOC of ~2″
So, there you have it. I hope this calendar helps you with your annual lawn care maintenance. It’s worked for me – check out my front yard renovations.
Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
For cool-season lawns, the best time to overseed is late summer and early fall. For example, in the Northeast and Zone 5-6, the last week of August or the beginning of September are the best conditions for new grass. The number of weeds to be invasive is much lower in September than spring seeding in the spring (April).
If you can irrigate regularly, you can still add fertilizer. However, it is best to apply less nitrogen during the hot summer months – particularly when drought stress occurs. Ideally, spoon-feeding with micronutrients such as humic acid and sea kelp (Kelp4Less ExtremeBlend) or a combination with molasses powder (Kelp4Less Green Lawn & Turf). Molasses in the hotter months can provide energy in the form of sugars/carbohydrates which can help “dethatch” the lawn.
In the Northeast and Massachusetts (Zone 5-6) for example, you can begin to feed your lawn in April and May. Feeding your lawn too early can cause excessive top growth which isn’t ideal – particularly if there’s still a risk of freezing overnight temperatures and morning frost. When the air and soil temperatures are consistently in the 40s and 50s respectively is a good time to begin your feeding.
During peak growing season (May & June in the Northeast) you could be mowing as frequently as 2-3 times per week. This, of course, also depends on your fertilization and watering schedule. Ideally, you follow the “1/3 rule” where you are never cutting off more than 1/3 of the grass blade during each mowing. For example, if you want to maintain a 3″ lawn, you never want the grass to exceed