Southwestern Lawn-Care Calendar

Growing a lawn in the Desert Southwest can be a challenge. Here's a seasonal calendar to help you know what to do.
Lawn-Care Calendar for Low-Elevation Areas

Note: Because of this region's climate conditions, a lawn may not be the most budget-friendly or environmentally responsible choice. Check with your county's cooperative extension service to find out if a lawn makes sense in your area.


Prevent summer weeds: Annual weeds, such as crabgrass, grow from seed. Use a well-timed application of pre-emergence herbicide to stop them from growing at all. A good general guideline is to spread the pre-emergence herbicide from mid-February to early March.

Cut the grass: The general rule for mowing is to never cut off more than one-third of the grass's height. Start cutting it as it begins to grow in late spring.

Take care of thatch: If a layer of thatch, or old, dead grass stems builds up, the best time to remove it is before the grass really starts growing in summer. Remove thatch so that air and water can more easily reach your grass roots.


Apply fertilizer: Warm-season lawns like best when temperatures get hot. Start feeding as the mercury starts to rise in late April or early May. Feed according to the fertilizer package instructions through the summer.

Stop grubs: If grubs have been a problem in your lawn or in your area, use a long-acting grub killer in early May.

Start a new lawn: Whether you use seed, sprigs, or plugs, start your lawn in summer. Remember that new lawns need plenty of water as they get established; never allow them to dry out.

Continue mowing: Most grasses do their best once it warms up, so mow regularly.

Aerate compacted soil: Most lawns have trouble growing in compacted soil (many weeds, unfortunately, thrive in it). Aerate in the summer when your grass is growing the fastest.

Watering: Most lawns will require regular watering during the summer to keep them green. Providing about 1 inch of water per week is typically necessary.


Mowing: Keep mowing your lawn as it slows down. Keep in mind that as temperatures cool and your grass goes dormant that you may not have to mow as frequently.

Prevent winter weeds: Stop annual weeds from growing during the winter by using a pre-emergence herbicide to stop them from growing. Typically, you'll need to apply the product from mid-October to mid-November.

Overseed with annual ryegrass: Because Bermudagrass goes dormant and turns brown in the winter months, many people like to overseed with annual ryegrass. The grass will grow and stay green during the cooler months, then die out once it gets hot and regular turf grass starts growing again. If you overseed your lawn, you'll need to keep mowing all winter.

Continued on page 2:  Lawn Calendar for High-Elevation Areas