Lawn Care Calendar for the Northeast
Look out your kitchen window to see a pristine landscape. Our lawn-care calendar will show you what to do, and when, for the lawn of your dreams.
The diverse climate in the Northeast can make lawn care tricky. Knowing how to pick the right grass that is suited to your climate and knowing the best times to aerate, mow, and water can help you attain a good-looking, easy-to-maintain lawn. Take the hassle out of lawn maintenance in the Northeast with this helpful seasonal schedule on caring for your lawn.
Get your lawn off to a good start by tackling the basics. Once you do, the rest of the growing season will be a breeze.
Start the lawn care season by taking care of your mower. Bring your mower in for service in early spring; you'll beat the rush of other gardeners, so your tool will be in tip-top shape immediately when you need it. Also, be sure to sharpen the blade if you haven't already maintained it this year. Start mowing once your grass reaches about 3 inches tall. It's best to keep most turf types in this region at least 2 inches tall—this helps the grass ward off weeds and withstand summer drought.
Starting a New Lawn
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.
If your lawn doesn't grow well due to compacted soil, aerate your lawn in the springtime when it’s actively growing. Aerating loosens the soil which allows the grass roots to reach deeper and the soil to absorb moisture better.
An easy 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.
Summer is all about maintenance when it comes to lawn care. Keeping up on landscaping tasks will pay off.
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 cool or moist periods, it may need mowing twice a week.
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.
Use the fall months to clean up your yard and prepare for next year. Doing these tasks in the fall will make spring lawn care easier.
If you only fertilize your lawn once a year, fall is the time to do it. In fact, your lawn could even take a light application of fertilizer in early fall and again in late fall.
As temperatures cool, your lawn will start growing faster; you'll likely need to mow weekly through the end of the season.
For a healthy lawn, it's a good idea to clean up fallen leaves. If you don't have the time (or patience!) 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!
Most grasses in this region grow best in cool temperatures, making autumn the ideal time to overseed. Seed your new grass about a month before your first average frost date so it can get established.
Like mentioned earlier, cooler autumn temperatures mean your grass will start growing more again—so it's a great time to aerate to loosen compacted soil.
If you keep up with your lawn care calendar, you'll be working toward the best lawn you can have. By aerating, mowing, and watering at the right times, you make the work easier and your lawn healthier.