Want the perfect lawn this year? Check out our infographic for simple tips on lawn maintenance, lawn fertilization and weeds by region.
This is the year. This is the year you’ll no longer be green with envy over your neighbors’ lawns. This is the year your lawn will win against the weeds.
When it comes to grasses, the United States is divided into three zones that run across the country like cake layers. There’s a zone for warm-season grasses (south), one for cool-season grasses (north) and a transitional zone in the middle where, “it’s a real challenge to grow grass,” says Bob Mann, a director at the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
For the best chance at a lush lawn in any zone, first choose the appropriate grass. Then feed it with fertilizer and water, and give it a good haircut — be careful not to go too short — about once a week during the growing season.
To keep weeds in check, keep the lawn growing strong so the grass cuts off real estate where weeds could muscle in. Be persistent, Mann says. “You have to go through an entire year’s worth of growth to encounter — and conquer — any problems.”
Lawn Care Made Easy
Best Grass Seeds
NORTH ZONE: Bluegrass, ryegrass, fescues
SOUTH ZONE: St. Augustine, Bermuda, zoysia, Bahia
When to Plant
NORTH ZONE: Around Labor Day, when temps are cooler and there’s more moisture.
SOUTH ZONE: Spring. Warm-season grasses do better as it gets hotter.
Weeds to Whack
ALL ZONES: Crabgrass and dandelions
TIP! Do battle sparingly, weed by weed, with an herbicide or natural weed killer.
When to Fertilize
ALL ZONES: Twice a year
TIP! Use fertilizer that includes NPK (nitrogen, phosphate and potassium) and micronutrients such as sulfur, copper and iron.
When to Mow
ALL ZONES: Once a week
TIP! Follow the one-third rule: Let the grass grow about 3 inches and cut 1 inch off the top.
When to Water
ALL ZONES: 1-11/2 inches of water per week (unless it rains)
TIP! Don’t overwater. Keep your lawn a little thirsty so the roots reach down in search of nutrients (keeping the top healthy and green).