A Seasonal Guide: Caring for Your Lawn Year-Round

Use this handy guide to keep your lawn and other outdoor spaces healthy throughout all four seasons.

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Lawn Care Plan

This planner outlines the different lawn care tasks that should be performed throughout the year. Follow these simple, seasonal guidelines to make sure your lawn looks healthy and green from January to December.

Sowing Seed

Spring is also the ideal time for sowing seed. As the soil warms up, there is usually enough rain to support germination.


A spring feed is essential to keep the lawn looking green. There are many pre-packaged feeds available — the main ingredient is nitrogen, which encourages strong growth.


Toward the end of spring it may be necessary to water occasionally if the last few months have been dry.


Cut the grass regularly, ensuring that the mower is raised to its highest setting for the first few cuts.


Lightly scarify — or remove the layer of dead grass that has accumulated throughout the winter — using a spring-tined rake or a mechanical scarifier to remove dead grass (thatch).


Use a fork or aerator to spike the lawn — this allows air to circulate at the grass roots and breaks up compacted soil.

Laying Turf

Early spring is a good time for laying turf because the risk of frost is lower, making the soil more workable. Plus, traditional spring showers reduce the need for watering.


If necessary, lawns can receive another dose of fertilizer during the summer, but only if rainfall is predicted. In extremely dry or hot weather, fertilizer will scorch and stress the lawn.


To keep the lawn looking green during a dry summer, it may be necessary to water it either with an irrigation system or manually with a garden hose. However, lawns can recover quickly from drought, and to conserve water, try to avoid watering except in extreme conditions.


Lawns will need mowing once or twice a week, although this should be stopped during extremely dry periods.


Continue to remove pernicious weeds, such as dandelions, by digging them out of the ground, taking care to remove the whole root. Others, such as speedwell, clovers and daisies, usually need spraying to remove them. (This should be avoided during periods of drought.)

Preventing Mosquitoes

The mosquito-biting season typically lasts between five and seven months, but some places can feel the suckers year-round. The season reaches its peak during the summer months. Keep these backyard invaders far from your home by removing standing water where they could lay eggs. (This means emptying or covering any items that hold water, like planters and birdbaths, at least once a week.) Your next step is to use an outdoor insect spray or professional service to kill mosquitoes in areas where they rest, like trees, shrubs and groundcover.


Whereas spring feeds are high in nitrogen to encourage the lawn to grow, the key ingredient in fall feeds is potassium because this encourages strong growth and will toughen up the grass for winter.


Lawns will still need an occasional cut on a high setting. The last cut of the year should be in late fall.


Once you have raked up fallen leaves, shred them using a rotary mower and add them to the compost.


Use a spring-tined rake or a mechanical scarifier to rip the thatch out of the lawn. Scarify in two directions, the second time deeper than the first; this scarification should be more vigorous than the spring scarification. Rake up all the removed thatch, and add it to the compost heap.


The lawn should be spiked down to about three to four inches with either a fork or a mechanical aerator. Solid tining should be done every year, and about every three or four years hollow tining can be performed instead.

Picking Up Leaves

In mild conditions any remaining fallen leaves should be removed because they block out the light, killing the lawn. Leaves can be sucked up with a mower or raked up and added to the compost heap.