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Lawn Maintenance

By Dawn West
HIPhome Lawns Columnist

Having a beautiful lawn doesn’t have to mean endless lawn maintenance. If you know what your lawn needs on a regular basis as well as the best times of year to give it some extra pampering, you’ll be well on your way to having a lawn that’s the envy of the block.


Lawns love water, and proper lawn irrigation is a great place to start if you want gorgeous, green grass. Whatever type of lawn irrigation system you use, deep weekly watering (wetting the soil about four inches deep) is best because it encourages deep root growth. Frequent and shallow watering leads to a weaker root system.

Morning is the ideal time to water your lawn. Cooler temperatures help mitigate evaporation, and watering early gives the lawn all day to dry. Too much moisture on the lawn’s surface overnight contributes to lawn disease. Evening watering contributes even more greatly to lawn disease if you live in a part of the country that experiences warm, humid nights during the growing season.

Depending on your region and the season, your lawn may require adjustments to its weekly watering schedule. In the northwest where rainfall is abundant for most of the spring and fall, nature can take care of most of your watering duties. In other parts of the country where there can be great variations in rainfall throughout the spring and fall, pay special attention to signs of dryness and irrigate the lawn when rainfall isn’t sufficient. In almost all parts of the country summer rainfall is unreliable, so if your lawn is going to survive hot, dry spells, you’ll have to regularly water it.

As you prepare your lawn for winter, bear in mind that the better condition your lawn is in before winter, the better condition your lawn will be when it comes back in the spring. So making sure the lawn gets plenty of water well into the fall is a smart move.

Seasonal Lawn Care Maintenance

Spring Lawn Care

In most parts of the country lawns experience winter dormancy. This means that it will have turned brown and stopped growing. You know spring is on the way when your lawn shows signs of green again. You can encourage your lawn’s return by watering it thoroughly. A lawn mower can also help with your lawn maintenance, since frequent mowing will encourage growth.

Summer Lawn Care

Water is the key during the summer. Mowing your lawn in different directions each time you mow can also help your lawn’s health.

Fall Lawn Care

Reseeding or overseeding your lawn in the fall can help it recover from any damage it may have suffered during hot, dry summer months.

Fall is also the best time for fertilizing your lawn. Although it may be tempting to fertilize in the spring when you will see the immediate effect on the grass, spring fertilizing results in excessive top growth, while shortchanging your lawn’s roots.

Treating perennial weeds in the fall is also smart. As the weather cools the weeds begin storing nutrients in their roots, and they’ll carry herbicides to the roots along with the nutrients.

Whether you maintain your lawn yourself or employ a commercial lawn maintenance company, you’ll be happy with the results you’ll get if your lawn gets the irrigation and other attention it needs throughout the year.

About the Author

Dawn West is an avid gardener and freelance writer. When she’s not gardening, her previous experience includes working for the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance, a not-for-profit in New York City, developing programming for a business news radio station in Boston and serving as the director for several educational programs for at-risk youth. Dawn holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University, but was also educated in the yard by her green-thumbed father.

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