Summit Lawns | Yard Care Blog

Step-By-Step Guide For A Perfect Lawn In Nebraska

Summit Lawns has been making grass greener and healthier across Nebraska ever since we first opened our doors. After the first couple of seasons in business, we noticed that many of our customers kept asking us how we are able to create such perfect lawns when they had never been successful in the past. The truth is that proper lawn care is a slow process, but following the correct steps and having a little patience will lead to gorgeous, green results!

The steps laid out below incorporate our 6-step fertilization and weed control program, as well as helpful tips on mowing, watering, aerating, and more. While you should be able to achieve success on your own by following this guide, remember that nothing beats the experience and expertise of a professional lawn care company when working toward the perfect lawn.

Step 1: Early Spring (March – May)

Fertilization & Weed Control

A pre-emergent barrier is established to help prevent crabgrass and foxtail later in the season. This barrier has a life expectancy of roughly 8 weeks. We also use fertilizers that will help jump-start color and pull the lawn out of winter dormancy. Most of the time when we come through during this round, any visible weeds are not yet mature enough to be sprayed. If we spray them, nothing will happen. This is all dependent on when spring comes and what soil temperatures are.

Mowing

  • Mowing should begin on the 1st of April
  • Mowing this early in the season should be done cautiously.
  • Keep the blade height set to mow no lower than 3 inches. 
  • Remove leaves from previous season before mowing begins.

Watering

  • Start your watering routine in late March if conditions are dry.
  • Avoid shallow roots by making sure not to overwater.
  • Consider watering 2-3 times per week early in the season.
  • Water every zone for about 20-30 minutes.

Step 2: Late Spring (May – July)

Fertilization & Weed Control

Another pre-emergent application to prevent crabgrass, which provides another 8 weeks of protection. By the end of those 8 weeks, we are out in the middle of summer, and crabgrass is no longer germinating. Another feeding to the grass, we usually rely on frequent spring rains to assist with color, so we adjust the fertilizer accordingly to not overdo it on the lawn. We begin spraying weeds now if they had not been mature enough to spray during step 1.

Aeration & Overseeding

Aeration is one of the most underutilized lawn care services, but it can work wonders for your grass. Just as lawns and plants begin to bloom, aerate your lawn in order to allow the soil to breathe better and absorb the most nutrients. If you notice any bare spots on your lawn as it starts to return to full strength, overseeding can be combined with aeration to fill in those areas. Loosened soil created by aeration is perfect for dropping in grass seed to start turning those bare spots green again.

Mowing

  • Stick to a weekly mowing schedule for deep roots and healthy turf. 
  • Always make sure to clean and sharpen mower blades. 
  • Mowing height should remain around 3-3.5 inches if growth is slow. 
  • Leave grass clippings on your lawn to recycle nutrients and fertilize.

Watering

  • Continue a watering schedule of at 2-3 sessions per week.
  • Make sure all sprinkler heads are spaced apart evenly.
  • Water every zone for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Always allow a heavy rainfall to replace a watering session.

Step 3: Summer (July – August)

Fertilization & Weed Control

We are doing a general feeding of the grass and providing the nutrients that it needs during this point in the year. We know the weather will be very hot and have humid evenings by this point, meaning the possibility of disease and fungus starts to develop. We adjust our fertilizers accordingly for these conditions and the heat and growing cycles of the grass at this time. Any visible weeds are sprayed, assuming the weather allows us to do so. High heat and winds can prevent us from spraying and consequently damaging the lawn. Grub control is applied in conjunction with this application.

Grub Control

Summer fertilizer is applied at the same time we apply grub control. This is a preventative application to control white grub worms, meaning we are addressing the issue before it occurs. Some companies do not put down preventative grub control and then must use very expensive products to kill grubs after an infestation takes place. There is also the cost of reseeding or resodding to repair any damaged areas of the lawn. This grub control application helps prevent this from ever being an issue.

Mowing

  • Continue a weekly mowing schedule for deep roots and healthy turf. 
  • Always make sure to clean and sharpen mower blades. 
  • Mow warm-season turfs near 2-2.5 inches in summer.
  • Only remove the top 1/3 of your lawn’s grass length.

Watering

  • Start watering every other day in the heat of summer.
  • Make sure all sprinkler heads are spaced apart evenly.
  • Water every zone for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Always allow a heavy rainfall to replace a watering session.

Step 4: Early Fall (September – October)

Fertilization & Weed Control

Feeding of the grass with a blend specific to this time of year. This is the best time of year to spray and kill any visible weeds. The products are the most effective, and the weeds are in a portion of their growing cycle where they eagerly absorb anything we spray on them (which will kill them). General overseeding takes place at this time of year with a starter fertilizer to help kick start new growth.

Aeration & Overseeding

Late August to early September is the absolute best time to perform aeration on your turf. If you choose to aerate only once per year, this is the timeframe during which it should occur. This is also the optimal time to apply seed over struggling areas of your lawn. Aerating now will reduce the likelihood of bare patches and weeds reappearing in the following spring. We highly recommend taking advantage of our aeration and overseeding services at this time rather than trying to perform these tasks yourself, as our technicians are regularly trained on the best methods of aerating and seeding.

Mowing

  • Continue a weekly mowing schedule for deep roots and healthy turf. 
  • Always make sure to clean and sharpen mower blades. 
  • Mow warm-season turfs near 2-2.5 inches in summer.
  • Only remove the top 1/3 of your lawn’s grass length.

Watering

  • Keep top 1/2 an inch of your lawn consistently moist when seeding. 
  • Make sure all sprinkler heads are spaced apart evenly.
  • Water every zone for about 10 minutes, 3 times a day (after seeding). 
  • Always allow a heavy rainfall to replace a watering session.

Step 5: Late Fall (October – December)

Fertilization & Weed Control

Spot spray weeds only if needed and weather permits. A special blend of fertilizer is used for root development going into the winter, which stabilizes the turf for winter dormancy and assists in early spring green-up next season. The type of grass you have will also influence how fast the lawn greens up the following spring. Fescue and bluegrass develop at different soil temperatures in the springtime. 99% of the time, this application is granular, meaning leaves on the ground will not interfere with its ability to perform. The pellets will fall between the leaves when they are tousled, raked, or mowed and go down to the soil.

Mowing

  • Continue mowing the top 1/3 of your lawn until growth stops.
  • Rake all leaves before every mowing that takes place in autumn.
  • Make your last mowing of the year slightly lower to the ground.

Watering

  • Watering should be reduced by at least 50% of previous cycles.
  • Water twice per week until turf growth ceases for the season. 
  • Do not water if ground temperature is 40 degrees or below. 

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