Your grass is about to be greener and healthier than ever before. The Northeast is known to be a diverse climate, with the coast and the mountains right at their fingertips! Take the hassle out of lawn maintenance in the Northeast with this helpful seasonal schedule on caring for your lawn.
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 this year. 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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 and take 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.