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Complete Seasonal Lawn Care Guide

Taking care of your lawn is more than just mowing and raking, it can include a variety of tasks that you might not even consider on a day-to-day basis. For some people, lawn maintenance isn't an important feature of their home upkeep, but something you might not realize is that not only does it add value to your home; it can also add value to your community and street, especially if other yards in the area are well-kept.

Although you can hire a professional lawn care service, there are also plenty of ways that you can add your own personal touch and provide yard maintenance on your own. Whether you choose to do this as a single unit, or turn it into a family project, there's a lot to be said about the pride you can feel in a project when you put the hours in yourself rather than turning it over to somebody else.

There are a few things that you'll need to take into consideration before beginning maintenance on your lawn, including what tools you'll require, whether you're going to use chemical or organic pesticides and fertilizers, and how much money you're willing to spend on this ongoing project over the year. Yard work is something that will never be over, but on the bright side, it might turn into something that you enjoy doing. Many people turn this job into a hobby, and find ways to make each season a different project worth investing in.

Getting Prepared For Yard Work

As mentioned above you'll want to have quite a few items at the ready for your lawn work before you get started, otherwise you're likely to cut corners or forget entire processes. If you're unsure about the tools and products you'll need you can consult with a professional lawn care company or even perform a simple internet search. Below are a list of items you should have on hand for general care and maintenance throughout the seasons.

  • Mower and edger for keeping grass height maintained
  • Hand aerator and fertilizer cart
  • Sprinkler and garden hose
  • Lawn shears, spade, and hand weeder
  • Rain gauge and soil thermometer
  • Fertilizer, grass food, as well as weed and pest control products

Winter Lawn Care

Not every season is created equal, and while if you live in a state that has temperate winters that allow for year round green grass and foliage you might have less work to do, those homeowners who are in colder climates with frost and snow, there's plenty of work to be done in preparation and throughout the season. Things like swimming pools and small garden ponds should be emptied and covered to maintain their physical integrity. It will also keep small birds and other animals from getting harmed as the water begins to freeze. Other areas of your yard, such as hedges and flowering bushes may also require covering with a tarp of some kind to keep them from getting damaged while they hibernate.

Before the frost and snow arrive, there may be a few warm spells throughout the season, at this time your lawn might be encouraged into some early and sudden growth, at this time it's best to only perform a light trim, rather than a complete overhaul. Trimming one third of the growth of the top should be sufficient to keep your grass looking healthy before the freeze arrives. It's also important not to feed your grass during the cold months, as this is another way your lawn might speed up growth prematurely. If your grass continues to grow rather than hibernate during these months, it will die over the winter and you'll find yourself needing to replant come spring. For those homeowners who wish to use plant food, waiting until spring will be most beneficial.

Controlling weed and moss before the frost arrives is also a good idea, because this will help to keep your grass healthy during its sleep, and it means less work when the snow thaws. You should rake up any fallen leaves, and dispose of them before snow falls as well, or your lawn will have brown patches, and bits of dead grass when Spring arrives, and the leaves are finally removed after months of covering the earth.

Spring Lawn Care

Spring is the season where your lawn and garden is going to come alive in bloom and color will overtake what was brown and gray once more. As the frost and snow thaws, you'll want to slowly begin to treat your lawn, as a few frosty nights could still arrive in the coming weeks following the beginning of the season. By raking any leftover leaves, weeding remaining weeds and moss, and possibly aerating the top layer of lawn before seeding, you can ensure a truly lush and green lawn come summer.

Now is the time that your grass will begin to pick up speed in its growth and you'll find yourself wanting to cut it to maintain a uniform look and return it to its former glory before the winter months wiped it out. You must be careful that you don't cut while the soil is still wet, but trim the top third, as you did before the frost hit, and wait for the soil to regain normalcy before regular maintenance continues.

Due to foot traffic and compacting of soil after the snow, you could find yourself needing to use root conditioner and fertilizer after you aerate to enhance the grass. Superior grass can be gained through a little hard work and elbow grease during this crucial time in your lawn's lifespan. Spring is the best time to do the most difficult tasks, so that your lawn really shines in the coming months.

Summer Lawn Care

This is the season you've been waiting for; when you finally get to sit out and enjoy the lawn that you've worked so hard on. The sun will be shining, the neighbors will be out to catch a view of what your labors have achieved, and you'll have something to be truly proud of. Summer is the time of year when the least amount of work is required for lawn care. The main concern during this season is how dry your grass can get when heat levels rise, and rain becomes rare. You'll find that the best time of day to water your lawn is the early hours before the sun is at its highest and hottest; this should minimize the stress that heat and lack of moisture add to your grass.

You'll likely find that you need to mow your lawn about twice a week to keep it at a standard length, and similar to watering, you should cut during the early hours after dew as dried, rather than trying to mow in the heat. It's also important to keep the grass at a length of about 2 inches, as this is the best height for its health. Similar to the Spring season, you'll also find yourself want to feed and condition your lawn this season, and there are specific summer feeds to help keep your grass at its greenest. These should be applied in the middle of the season and followed immediately by a good watering for optimal growth.

When the weather gets hot and dry your grass will grow more slowly, meaning it should be allowed to rest, rather than continuing with your mowing efforts. If it isn't watered enough it may begin to turn brown, but this doesn't mean that the grass is all dead, it may return to a full green color as it begins to receive necessary watering. Be sure to rake after each mow so that dead grass is scooped up, and the soil get some much needed attention; this is especially helpful for yards that undergo a lot of foot traffic.

Autumn Lawn Care

The autumn months bring with it a serious necessity to dive into lawn care and maintenance as it begins to transition from the warm summer months into the cold winter season. This is when much of the preventative care will occur so that it can once again become healthy and green when the frost melts. As the heat diminishes and the cool air returns you're going to see your grass growing more slowly, this means that you can cut it a little higher than usual and probably only once every two weeks. You'll also want to re-cut the outside edges of the lawn with an edger so that it stays neat for spring.

At this time your summer plant feed is no longer necessary, and instead you can switch to a product for the fall, or you can cease feeding all together, as your lawn will begin to go into hibernation mode as the months proceed. You might want to add a weed inhibitor, and reseed patchy bare areas that have been left behind by overheating and dehydration throughout the summer. Most of the weeds that you come across during this season can be plucked by hand or with small tools, but you shouldn't find as much new growth as you did in previous months.

Most importantly, rake up fallen leaves at least twice a week in yards with a large number of trees, or as necessary for houses with fewer trees. You don't want to allow a buildup of leaves to stay on your grass or you'll find that your lawn will suffer from it. This becomes especially crucial as the temperatures drop into winter territory and the frost begins to ice your lawn in the early morning hours.

Lawn Care Costs

The costs for garden and lawn care will vary depending on the size of your property and how much work you're willing to put into it. For the most part you'll find yourself spending the most on products being used and water costs to keep the grass hydrated over warm months. Once your tools are purchased, most equipment should last quite a number of years, and larger equipment like mowers will have a warranty and lifetime expectancy printed on the packaging. Most people find that their lawn care will cost them between $70 and $100 per season.

If you're choosing to hire a professional lawn care company to take care of your property then the prices will be higher, but you'll have less work to do on your own. They will likely also supply tools, equipment, and products so that you have fewer additional costs on top of what you're spending for labor. Below is a selection of specific tasks and prices that are charged on average by lawn care services:

  • Mowing: $40 to $80
  • Edging: $30 to $70
  • Fertilizing: $$40 to $90
  • Lawn Aeration: $40 to $90

These prices will likely vary due by frequency; while most of the above listed prices are for weekly services, some companies will charge similar fees each time a service is completed. With the amount of regular lawn work required to keep your grass green and healthy, this can be quite expensive, so shop around for a provider who offers a good rate on weekly or monthly services, and check referrals to find somebody you can trust.

What To Expect And What To Be Wary Of

For the most part your expectations should be fairly straightforward, and while you may come across some problems such as moss, weeds, dead patches, dehydration during hot months, and a few other issues, there's rarely something that can't be fixed if you're willing to put in the work. The types of lawns that will see the most unexpected troubles during maintenance are the brand new ones as sometimes seeds don't take as well as you'd like or newly grown grass hasn't gotten enough root length to keep it safe throughout winter months.

Final Thoughts on Seasonal Lawn Care Service

Take your time, be prepared, and remember to pay attention to what your yard is telling you as the seasons change. Don't be afraid to contact a professional service for help or maintenance work while you're away and need somebody to care for your lawn. Many of the people working for these companies are well versed in how to handle any number of problems that might occur and they can give some great advice on the types of products you should be using.