Monthly Maintenance Tips


January – This is a good time of year to learn what watershed you live in.  You can help protect and preserve water quality by reviewing your lawn and garden practices.  Find up to date information at

February – The lawn filters and purifies the water as it enters the soil in route to the groundwater.  Recognizing and assessing paved surfaces and bare soil areas will minimize pollutants entering a water body.

March – Raking leaves and winter debris away from storm sewers and paved surfaces will remove excessive amounts of phosphorus from entering groundwater.  This is also a good time to inventory areas that need attention such as areas of poor drainage or standing water, compacted areas, locations of weeds, or exposed tree roots.

April – Promoting a dense stand of turf can eliminate weeds and protect water quality.  Be sure to seed any thin, weak, or bare spots once the soil temperature at a 2-inch depth reaches 45 to 55 degrees.  Mowing should begin when turf is 4 to 4.5 inches tall with the mower height set at 3 inches.

May – Disease occurs when environmental conditions favor the pathogen.  By the time you see the disease it is likely too late to provide effective control.  To minimize problems plant disease resistant cultivars, water early in the morning, and avoid over fertilization.

June – Fertilizers applied in early spring will accelerate shoot growth at the expense of root growth.  This surge of growth will make the plant more susceptible to insects and disease, and require more frequent mowing.  Applying 1 lb. Nitrogen/1,000 sq.ft. of slow-release fertilizer at this time is recommended.

July – If rainfall has been insufficient, water your lawn deeply and infrequently to the bottom of the root zone to encourage a deep root system.  Surface and subsurface insect turf damage occurs this time of year.  Nuisance pests such as moles, skunks, and crows are good indicators that a grub infestation may be present.

August - Recovering from compaction and thatch buildup by aerating is important to increase infiltration of water, nutrients, and air into the soil.  Fertilizers and nutrients are ineffective when water and materials cannot penetrate the layer of dead and decomposing plant tissue that forms above the soil. 

September – Apply 1 lb. Nitrogen/1,000 sq.ft. on Labor Day if your lawn has survived the summer stress.  If it has deteriorated beyond help from fertilizer and patching, consider seeding or sodding. 

October – Apply the last 1 lb. Nitrogen/1,000 sq.ft. two weeks after the last mowing.  Irrigate less often but more deeply to encourage deeper grass roots.

November – Continue mowing until the grass stops growing, and avoid having tall turf bend over and mat on the surface, which is the perfect environment for disease.  Collect or mulch fallen leaves to protect both the lawn and water quality.

December – Maintaining lawn equipment is an important step to keeping healthy turf and watersheds.  Keep blades sharp, grease moving parts, stabilize fuel, and calibrate spreaders so applications remain accurate.