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6 Lawn Care Mistakes to Stop Making So You Can Have Healthier Grass

Timing is everything with lawn care. You can aerate, weed, water, and mow in the correct way and still have a lawn that's struggling. Whether you rely on do-it-yourself lawn treatments or hire professionals, it's important that your grass gets what it needs to thrive during the optimal time frame. For example, even something as simple as turning on your sprinkles too late in the day could encourage diseases to crop up (not to mention waste water). Here are the most common lawn care mistakes to avoid, and how to time all your yard work just right so you end up with the best-looking grass on the block.

1. Treating Broadleaf Weeds When It’s Dry

Dandelions, clover, and creeping Charlie are some of the most common broadleaf weeds you'll encounter, but plenty of other plants can invade quickly and spread relentlessly. To keep them in check, you may decide to use a granular weed-and-feed product or spray an organic liquid broadleaf weed killer.

The right time: Treat actively growing weeds; apply granular products on a dewy morning or spot treat with an organic herbicide on a warm, sunny day.

Why timing matters: Used properly, broadleaf weed killers are highly effective when conditions are optimal. For example, the granules of weed-and-feed products, which are applied with a spreader, must stick to the leaves of the weeds to be effective. That requires moisture, so the perfect time to apply is in early morning when there's a heavy dew on the lawn⁠. If the grass isn't wet, you'll be wasting your time and money. Warm temperatures often help liquid treatments work faster, too. However, if you've been having a hot but dry summer, you'll want to water your lawn first.

2. Applying Weed Preventers Too Late

Preemergent herbicides, or weed preventers, control crabgrass and other weeds by stopping their seeds from germinating. An application early in the growing season works wonders; it's like vaccinating your lawn against weeds.

The right time: Apply preventer when forsythia blooms drop (can be from March to May).

Why timing matters: Weed preventers are not effective against weeds that have already begun to grow, so you must apply them before germination to gain any benefit. Crabgrass, the primary target of lawn weed preventers, normally germinates just after forsythia blooms, so take your cue from Mother Nature. When you notice forsythia bushes dropping their blossoms (March to May, depending on your region), apply a weed preventer like corn gluten meal, and water as soon as possible to activate it.

Need to reseed? For cool-season grasses, fall is the ideal time; plant warm-season grasses in late spring. But remember: Don't apply crabgrass preventer at the same time that you seed your lawn; it stops all seedlings from growing, even the ones you may want to grow.

3. Not Fertilizing Your Lawn

As grass (or any plant) grows, it uses up nutrients in the soil. When you mow and bag up clippings, over time all the soil nutrients will get used up so you'll need to add fertilizer. If you let clippings decompose back into the soil instead, that will help a little, but you may still need to replenish available nutrients once in a while. A soil test every year will show you how much you may need to add. When you feed your lawn is important, too.

The right time: North: Feed in fall and spring. South: Feed in spring and summer.

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Why timing matters: Grass needs to be fed when it's actively growing. For cool-season grasses⁠ (bluegrass, fescues, and ryegrass⁠) this primarily means spring and fall. For warm-season grasses such as zoysia, bermuda, and St. Augustine, late spring and summer are the prime growing times.

In addition, cool-season grasses benefit from feeding in late fall (October or November), when growth has slowed but the grass is still green. The result is earlier greening and better appearance the next spring. Experts agree that this may be the most beneficial time to feed a cool-season lawn.

Warm-season lawns should not be fed in fall unless they've been overseeded with winter ryegrass. Also, avoid fertilizing any dormant grass, either in winter or summer (drought can cause grass to go dormant in summer); the application will be wasted.

Lawn care calendar

It is important to schedule lawn care maintenance during times that match the life cycle of the turfgrass.

  • Do not add fertilizer too early in the spring. This may encourage the grass to grow during a time when it should be slow or dormant.
  • Do not spray to control weeds when temperatures are warm. This increases the likelihood of damaging the lawn.
  • Do not fertilize in hot mid-summer months. This can cause irreversible damage to your lawn.
  • Manage how much water you use and water lawns at the right time to keep them healthy.

Minnesota lawns of cool season turfgrasses bear the stress of changing weather and can survive harsh winters.

These grasses endure throughout the seasons because they grow rapidly during spring and fall when temperatures are cool and then become inactive during the heat and drought of summer.

A sustainable lawn care routine should support this natural life cycle of cool season grasses.

Seasonal plant growth cycle

In early spring, roots are long and full of nutrients stored from the fall. Shoots, the part of grass visible above ground, use this stored energy for growth.

In warm summer temperatures, leaf and root growth slow down. Plants rest during times of heat and drought. Roots can be damaged when soil temperatures are above 85°F.

In the fall months shoots start to grow again and nutrients are stored in the long roots for the winter. Optimal shoot growth occurs with air temperatures of 55 to 75°F.

Cool-season root growth is stimulated by soil temperatures above 32°F, and is optimal with soil temperatures between 50 and 65°F.

When to schedule lawn maintenance

It is important to schedule your lawn care maintenance during times that match the life cycle of the turfgrass.

  • Do not add fertilizer too early in the spring. This may encourage the grass to grow during a time when it should be slow or dormant.
  • Do not spray to control weeds when temperatures are warm. This increases the likelihood of damaging the lawn.
  • Do not fertilize in hot mid-summer months. This can cause irreversible damage to your lawn.
  • Crabgrass doesn’t develop until late spring or early summer, so don’t apply herbicide used to prevent pre-emerging crabgrass in the fall.

See Water-saving strategies for home lawns for information on how and when to water.

Perfect Lawn Maintenance Timing: When to Fertilize, Water, Spray Weeds and More in Texas

There’s a lot involved in Texas lawn maintenance, and timing is everything. When is the best time to apply fertilizer—and what time of day should you water your lawn to get the best results? From controlling weeds to seeding a lawn, when you perform these essential lawn care and landscape tasks is the difference between success, and possibly hurting your lawn.

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We know many folks who decide to care for their own lawns, and there’s nothing wrong with that—except when they overlook timing and end up not getting the results they expect. Basically, you can do all the right things for your lawn at the wrong time and end up wasting your weekend and your money.

So, let’s dig into this timing issue.

Here, we’ll give you insight on the best time in North Texas to fertilize, water, spray weeds, prevent insects, service your irrigation system, seed a lawn and more. You’ll see, there’s a reason for this North Texas lawn care schedule—and with this knowledge, you can do all the landscape maintenance yourself, or hire a pro to handle the landscape maintenance needs you’re not comfortable handling on your own.

When to Mow and Edge Your Texas Lawn

Mowing is usually a weekly lawn maintenance necessity in Texas during the growing season, which is spring through fall. However there are some caveats to this that make it vary:

    In the very beginning of the growing season (February and March), bi-weekly mowing may be adequate as the grass isn’t growing as aggressively.

As you can see, mowing is a year-round activity.

At Grassperson, we also trim the lawn’s edges with every service because this extra step is the difference between a lawn that looks average vs. a beautiful, neat property with clean edges. Especially during the growing season, grass edges can quickly creep onto sidewalks and landscape beds, causing a yard to look messy. Trust us, this extra step is worth it.

It is important to coordinate the timing of your lawn maintenance with lawn care applications and regular watering. We recommend not mowing for 24 hours after a fertilization and weed control application. Ideally, you will not mow the same day that you water your yard.

Watering Your Flower Mound and Highland Village, TX Lawn

The best time to water your lawn can be a touchy subject in Texas because many communities put water restrictions in place, especially during summer. But, grass needs water to stay healthy and grow, so if Mother Nature isn’t raining down on your lawn, you need to run a sprinkler if you expect grass to stay healthy and continue growing.

Many of the lawns we care for have irrigation systems, and yours might, too. Here are some tips for when and how often to water.

The best time to water your Texas lawn is in the early morning. This way, soil can soak in moisture before the sun causes water to evaporate and, generally speaking, the wind velocity is slower earlier in the day.

An exception to this rule is when water restrictions are in place. Let’s say your municipality allows homeowners to water their lawns twice per week. We recommend watering morning and evening on those two days so you can achieve four watering times—which is ideal for summer.

Moving into the question of how often to water in summer, we recommend three to four days per week. In winter, plan on watering your lawn in the morning once a week.

As for how long to water your Texas lawn, plan on 10 to 35 minutes per zone, depending on the type of irrigation heads your sprinkler system has. Rotor heads must run longer—25 to 35 minutes per zone—while spray heads can do the job in 10 to 15 minutes per zone.

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Don’t forget about trees, shrubs and flowers. Those also need to be watered three to four days per week in the growing season, and at least weekly in fall and winter.

How Often to Maintain Your Irrigation System

Speaking of watering, you rely on your sprinkler system year-round in Texas, and ideally you should get a quarterly irrigation system checkup. At the very least (and we never suggest that less is more in this case), get an irrigation maintenance check annually in the early spring.

During an irrigation check, a certified irrigation technician will review all components of your system. Most homeowners are not qualified to audit and test sprinkler systems for efficiency and performance, so it’s best to rely on a pro.

The Best Time to Fertilize Texas Grass

Lawn care is a year-round necessity in Texas if you want a healthy lawn because our grass is always growing. Sure, it slows down in winter, though grass still needs nutrients to stay healthy. We fertilize Denton and Collin county, TX lawns four times from April to October to provide consistent turf nutrition.

Fertilizer must be watered in, so if there’s no rain in the forecast after it is applied, plan on running your sprinkler system for the recommended time based on your sprinkler heads (rotor or spray head).

As we said, give the mower a rest for at least 24 hours after a fertilizer application so the product can absorb into the soil.

The Best Time to Apply Weed Control

Weed control is usually applied up to 7 times throughout the year to control weeds. Specific pre-emergent applications in fall, early winter and early spring address weeds before they mature, while post-emergent applications as needed treat the weeds you can see. (Keep in mind, pre-emergent weed control targets crabgrass, poa annua, spurge and other grassy weeds, but you’re not getting preventive protection against every weed that grows in Texas.)

Weeds can be tricky to tame, which is why you’ve got to stay on it if you want to maintain a healthy lawn. After applying weed control, you should water in the product and avoid mowing for at least 24 hours. The same rules apply to insect control.

The Best Time to Seed a Lawn in North Texas

Late September and early October are prime times for planting new grass seed in Flower Mound and Highland Village, TX. By this time, you’re less likely to have scorching heat that stresses new plants.

Also, cooler temperatures allow soil to retain moisture better, so your watering efforts will be more long-lasting. Also, early fall seeding gives new turf an opportunity to establish before winter.

Ready to Get the Best Lawn on The Block?

Now you know the best time to perform essential lawn care and landscape maintenance tasks for your Texas lawn. Are you game to dive in and start working in the yard? Or, maybe you’d rather pick and choose which lawn care tasks to tackle and leave the rest to the pros. We don’t blame you if want to partner with a lawn care service that is equipped to manage all of your lawn care so you can just enjoy the outdoors without all the work.

Seriously, you deserve a break—and the best lawn. Get a Free Quote, then you can enjoy the best lawn on the block!