Getting your mower ready: Start the lawn-care season by taking care of your mower. Bring in your mower for service in early spring. This helps you beat the rush so your mower is in tip-top shape right when you need to use it. Be sure to sharpen the blade at least once a year.
Starting a new lawn from seed: Though fall is the ideal time to start a new lawn from seed, you can also do it in spring. Don't wait until late spring, though: Give your lawn a chance to grow in and get established before summer temperatures arrive.
Attacking crabgrass: Because crabgrass and other annual weeds need to sprout from seeds each year, a well-timed application of pre-emergence herbicide can do wonders for keeping these pests at bay. Spread the pre-emergence herbicide as forsythia blooms in your area start to drop.
Aerating: If your lawn doesn't grow well due to compacted soil, springtime -- when your grass is in active growth -- is a great time to aerate. This loosens the soil, allowing grass roots to reach deeper and the soil to absorb moisture better.
Mowing: Start mowing once your grass reaches about 3 inches tall. It's best keep most turf types in this region at least 2 inches tall -- this helps the grass ward off weeds and withstand summer drought.
Fertilizing: If you feed your lawn a couple of times a year, a light application of lawn food in early spring will help get your lawn off to a great start. Keep it light, though, and use a slow-release or organic fertilizer. Wait to fertilize until your lawn needs mowing for the first time.
Controlling grubs: Attack grubs and keep them from destroying your lovely lawn with a grub-control product that continues to work throughout the season. Apply your grub control in early June.
Mowing: Watch how your lawn grows. During hot, dry periods, it may only need mowing once every two or three weeks (when the grass grows about 3 inches tall). During cooler, moister periods, it may need mowing twice a week.
Watering: It's fine to let your grass go dormant during drought. It'll turn brown, but it'll stay alive and then will go green and start growing when the rains come again. If you don't want a brown summer lawn, select drought-tolerant types such as buffalo grass or plan on giving your lawn about 1 inch of water a week.
Fertilizing: If you only fertilize your lawn once a year, fall's the time to do it. In fact, your lawn could take a light application of fertilizer in early fall and again in late fall.
Mowing: As temperatures cool, your lawn will start growing faster: You'll likely need to mow regularly through the end of the season.
Cleaning up: For a healthy lawn, it's a good idea to clean up fallen leaves. If you don't want to rake up leaves, do several passes over your lawn with a mulching mower. You'll chop up the leaves into fine pieces so they decompose and add to your soil's structure. It's easier and also better for the health of your lawn!
Overseeding: Most grasses in this region grow and take best in cool temperatures, making autumn the ideal time to overseed. Give your new grass about a month before your first average frost date so it can get established.
Attacking perennial weeds: Most perennial lawn weeds, such as dandelion and creeping Charlie, are most susceptible to spraying in fall when they're winding down and getting ready for winter.
Aerating: Cooler autumn temperatures mean your grass will start growing more again -- so it's a great time to aerate to loosen compacted soil.