Lawn-care pros have no magic secret on how to grow a nice lawn. They just know what care and products lawns need to thrive – and when and how to deliver them. Any of us can achieve the same results while saving hundreds of dollars a year if we learn a few basics.

We’ve developed this series to guide DIYers through essential lawn-care jobs. Each task is accompanied by a “Green Carpet Solution” so you can achieve the best results in your lawn. Let’s tackle this in three parts, starting here with Part 1 we will cover fertilizing, weed control, mowing, and seeding. 

Remember one of the very first steps to take in early spring is to test the acidity of your soil. That can be done with inexpensive DIY test kits or by sending a soil sample to a soil test lab. Most county extension offices and many garden centers offer mail-away lab tests, which also test for basic soil nutrition. This will help guide you through your lawn projects over the year.

Fertilizing

Spreading Fertilizer
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How much (or whether) you fertilize depends on how thick and green you want the lawn to be. If you’ve never tested your soil (or haven’t done so lately), it’s helpful to first get a reading to determine if anything unusual is going on or if major corrections are needed. Mail-away, DIY soil-test kits are available at most county Extension offices and many garden centers. This report will give you both nutrition and pH (soil acidity) recommendations.

Green-carpet solution

The traditional application plan for cool-season grasses is four times a year: 

1.) Late March to early April; 

2.) Late May to early June; 

3.) Late August to early September

4.) Early to mid-November, before the ground freezes.

GreenView’s lawn fertilizers, however, use a patented formulation of slow-release nitrogen to feed for 12 weeks at a time, achieving the same results with just two fertilizer applications per year instead of four. The first fertilizer application is done in the Spring. 

Options include: 

GreenView Fairway Formula Lawn Fertilizer (for those without weed or crabgrass problems)

GreenView Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer with Crabgrass Preventer (for those who want to fertilize and prevent crabgrass at the same time)  

GreenView Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer Weed and Feed and Crabgrass Preventer (for those who want to fertilize, kill weeds, and prevent crabgrass at the same time).

 The second treatment is done in the fall, ideally in September or October. This one uses GreenView Fairway Formula Fall Fertilizer, which repairs summer damage and encourages root growth for winter hardiness and quick spring green-up.

For those leaning organic, GreenView has a slow-acting, organics-rich fertilizer called Turf Nurture Natural Base Fertilizer that can be used just once or twice per year. You can also try going without fertilizer altogether, then add it as needed depending on how the lawn performs.

Turfgrass often grows less vigorously and densely without adequate nutrition, so a thinning lawn with increasing weeds is a sign to watch for that fertilizer (especially nitrogen) might be needed.

It is also worthy to note that GreenView’s patented slow-release nitrogen in our products does not cause surge growth, which means that you won’t have to mow your lawn more just because you are actively fertilizing.

Read more about fertilizing the lawn

GreenView’s Annual Lawn Plan lets you pick preferred products and then ships the right product FREE at the right time for your climate.

Weed control

Pulling Weeds
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All sorts of annual and perennial weeds can invade thin lawns, many of which will outgrow grass. The first defense – no matter which approach you use – is to encourage grass to grow as thickly as possible. This way there is no space for weed seeds to germinate.

Green-carpet solution

Kill new weeds by using a lawn spreader to apply a granular herbicide labeled for use in lawns. These kill weeds without harming the grass, and different versions are available for broadleaf weeds (plantain, chickweed, dandelions, etc.) vs. grassy ones (foxtail, nimblewill, nutsedge, etc.)

GreenView Weed and Feed kill 250 weeds while also delivering a 27-0-4 fertilizer. It’s ideal for use in spring but can also be applied later in the year for persistent or summer-sprouted weeds.

The aforementioned GreenView Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer Weed and Feed and Crabgrass Preventer also is a spring weed-control option if you like the idea of fertilizing the lawn and controlling crabgrass in one shot.

Read more on controlling grassy weeds in the lawn

Mowing

Mowing
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Cut high during the growing season (three inches is good for cool-season grasses), and mow often enough that you’re never removing more than one-third of the blades. Never mow wet grass or ground. The ideal time to mow is in the early evening, around 7 PM. Mowing too early in the day when temperatures are at their peak can stress the lawn. 

Green-carpet solution 

Letting the clips lie adds nutrition to the soil, but if they’re leaving mats or you just don’t like seeing browned blades, use a bagger attachment and compost the clips elsewhere.

Sharpen mower blades every 25 hours of use and alternate directions for each cut.

Read more on the right way to mow a lawn

Seeding

Seeding
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Throughout most of the United States, the two best times to start new grass or add more seed to thin areas (“overseeding”) is from Labor Day through the end of October and from the end of March through April.

No matter when you seed, though, it’s very important to keep seeded areas consistently damp until the seed germinates and starts filling in.

Green-carpet solution 

Maximize lawn denseness by overseeding every September/October with high-quality grass seed. By regularly introducing superior seed, you’re also improving lawn qualities such as disease resistance, drought tolerance, and color.

For best sprouting, disturb the soil first by aerating, dethatching, or raking, or insert the seed directly into the ground by renting a slit-seeding machine, which is a piece of power equipment with vertical blades that cuts shallow slits in the soil and simultaneously drops seed into them from a hopper.

If weeds are minimal and the lawn is doing reasonably well, this is a job you can do only when needed.

 

Read more on seeding a lawn in spring

Read more on overseeding a lawn

See GreenView’s selection of grass seed