Step-By-Step Guide For A Perfect Lawn In Salt Lake City, Utah

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Salt Lake City is well known for its beautiful landscapes and perfectly manicured lawns. Homeowners here take great pride in their lawns, so we just wanted to help out! In this step-by-step guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to achieve a perfect lawn in Salt Lake City.

The following tips and information are intended to provide you with a solid and basic understanding of lawn care needs throughout the year. Keep in mind that the best results will always be achieved when you utilize a professional lawn care service, but this guide will help any DIY enthusiast improve their lawn!

Lawn Care Calendar For Utah

January-February

  • Leaf Cleanup: If snow stops falling and/or melts early, start your lawn care for the year by removing any leaves or debris that may have found its way into your yard over winter.
  • Weed Control: Apply pre-emergent weed control to prevent weeds that may have been lying dormant all winter long.
  • Mowing & Watering: You will not likely need to focus on watering or mowing, as your lawn is still in dormancy this early in the year.

March-April

  • Fertilization: Apply your first fertilizer treatment in early March. It is important to not stress your turf so early in the season, so consider using a starter fertilizer that is higher in potassium and lower in nitrogen.
  • Weed Control: Continue pre-emergent control to keep weeds down in the dirt instead of up in your lawn.
  • Disease Control: By this point, snow has probably melted away for the year, and your lawn has started growing again, which means diseases start spreading again! Fungicide treatments on your lawn at this time of year helps ensure healthy turf throughout the year.
  • Mowing & Watering: Start a weekly mowing routine in March, or when grass starts starts growing again. Mow 1 inch higher than normal to allow your lawn to get established. Start watering every other day, early in the morning.

May-June

  • Fertilization: Begin full fertilization treatments. Check NPK ratios to make sure your lawn gets adequate nitrogen for full growth.
  • Weed Control: If any weeds pushed through the pre-emergent applications, you will need to spot spray them with a herbicide or other product, or you can dig out the roots. This application should sustain your lawn for 8 more weeks.
  • Aeration & Seeding: As ground temperatures rise, likely in late April to early May, aerating and seeding can be a great way to improve soil quality just when your lawn is at the peak of its growing season. Drop in seed anywhere that looks a little patchy.
  • Mowing & Watering: Never remove more than the top 1/3 of your lawn while mowing, and stick to a weekly mowing schedule. Water only twice per week, but make sure they are deeper, longer sessions that take place early in the morning.

July-August

  • Fertilization: Use a liquid-form, summertime fertilizer to ensure an even application. It is crucial that you do not over fertilize in the summer heat. Fungicides are often mixed in with summer fertilizers to prevent summertime lawn diseases.
  • Weed Control: Post-emergent herbicide can be used on any broadleaf weeds that are still appearing in your lawn.
  • Grub Control: White grubs tend to hatch in summer, and they will immediately start destroying your turf once they do. Applying a preventive grub control can help protect your lawn against such attacks.
  • Mowing & Watering: Keep cool-season grasses near 3 inches and warm-season grasses near 2 inches, and stick to weekly mowings. Water 2-3 times per week for up to 30 minutes per zone.

September-October

  • Fertilization: As summer slowly comes to an end and fall creeps in, it’s time to fortify roots! Introduce potash to help roots endure cooler temperatures. Make sure not to apply too much nitrogen, as this is damaging to many warm-season lawns when it is too cold.
  • Weed Control: Always spot-treat any existing weeds this late in the year. The last thing you want is to allow weeds to grow and spread right before lawns enter winter dormancy.
  • Leaf Cleanup: Rake up fallen leaves and tree debris as quickly as possible in order to prevent a fungal infection from appearing next spring.
  • Aeration & Seeding: This is the best time of year to aerate and seed a cool-season lawn. Aeration will help loosen up compacted soil, which means your lawn can absorb nutrients and seeds for thicker growth.
  • Mowing & Watering: Monitor your lawn’s growth closely at this point in the year. Lower the blade half an inch each session until growth stops completely. This helps your lawn store nutrients in dormancy. Cut watering frequency/amount by 50% until growth stops.

November-December

  • Fertilization: Apply a granular, slow-release fertilizer to help sustain your lawn throughout winter dormancy.
  • Weed Control: Pre-emergent weed control can still be applied to help ensure that your lawn’s soil is as healthy and weed free as possible over winter. This is actually a very important application of pre-emergent, because it will help set your lawn up for success in spring.
  • Disease Control: Fungicide treatments should be applied right before and right after winter in order to ensure that no lawn or leaf diseases develop during winter.
  • Mowing & Watering: Your lawn is likely in dormancy by this point, which means it is no longer growing and in need of water and mowing. If growth is still apparent, mow until your lawn stays at 2 inches and does not grow taller.

Step 1: Late Winter / Early Spring (February - April)

Fertilization & Weed Control

Lawns should receive a light fertilization treatment that is not too heavy in nitrogen. Nitrogen promotes quick growth, but lawns that have been dormant all winter will need time to get established before they can tolerate a nitrogen-heavy fertilizer.

Establish a pre-emergent barrier to help prevent crabgrass and broadleaf weeds. This barrier blocks seedlings that may have been lying dormant all winter. Any visible weeds are not yet mature enough to be sprayed. This is all dependent on when spring temperatures come and what soil temperatures are.

Mowing

  • Begin mowing on the 1st of April, or earlier is growth is noticeable.
  • 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 / Early Summer (April - June)

Fertilization & Weed Control

After your lawn is a bit more established and hardy, a high concentration of nitrogen (as well as other nutrients) will help fill in any remaining bare spots and give your turf a boost of color. Rely on frequent spring rains to assist with color, and adjust the fertilizer accordingly to not overdo it and cause fertilizer burn.

Apply another pre-emergent application to prevent weeds, which provides 8 more weeks of protection. By the end of those 8 weeks, it will be the middle of summer when crabgrass is no longer germinating.

Aeration & Overseeding

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 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: Mid-Summer (June - August)

Fertilization & Weed Control

A light application of a summer fertilizer is best in the heat of summer. Grass won’t grow if it is too hot, so fertilizing too much will do nothing but harm your lawn. The weather will be very hot and you will have humid evenings by this point, meaning the possibility of disease and fungus starts to develop. Consider a liquid fertilizer mixed with a fungicide to keep your turf protected.

Any visible weeds should be spot-sprayed, assuming the weather allows you to do so. High heat and winds can prevent you from spraying, which could damage the lawn, so make sure you spray weeds earlier in the morning. Grub control is applied in conjunction with this application.

Grub Control

Apply a preventative application of grub control to address the issue before it begins. Skipping a preventative application of grub control in summer often results in much more expensive products being needed to kill grubs. There is also the cost of reseeding or resodding to repair any damaged areas of the lawn. Preventative control is always best.

Mowing

  • Continue a weekly mowing schedule for deep roots and healthy turf.
  • Always make sure to clean and sharpen mower blades.
  • Mow warm-season grass at 2-2.5 inches and cool-season grass at 3-3.5 inches.
  • Only remove the top 1/3 of your lawn’s grass length.

Watering

  • Water deeply and infrequently, no more than twice per week.
  • Water at dawn to avoid fungal growth.
  • Water every zone for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Always allow a heavy rainfall to replace a watering session.

Step 4: Late Summer / Early Fall (August - October)

Fertilization & Weed Control

As fall rolls around, it is time to start thinking about preserving your lawn for the future seasons. Fertilizing in fall, especially when done in conjunction with seeding and aeration, can make your turf more healthy and resilient to take on the cold months ahead. Look for a fall fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus and potassium in order to strengthen grass blades and fortify roots before winter.

This is the best time of year to spray and kill any visible weeds. The products are the most effective at this time, and many weeds are in a portion of their growing cycle where they eagerly absorb anything you spray on them (which will kill them).

Aeration & Overseeding

In the Salt Lake area, late September to early October 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. Aerating and seeding now will reduce the likelihood of bare patches and weeds reappearing in the following spring.

Mowing

  • Continue a weekly mowing schedule for deep roots and healthy turf.
  • Always make sure to clean and sharpen mower blades.
  • Mow warm-season grass at 2-2.5 inches and cool-season grass at 3-3.5 inches.
  • Only remove the top 1/3 of your lawn’s grass length.

Watering

  • Water all lawns at dawn.
  • Water established lawns deeply and infrequently.
  • Water newly seeded lawns for about 10 minutes, 3 times a day.
  • Always allow a heavy rainfall to replace a watering session.

Step 5: Late Fall / Early Winter (October - December)

Fertilization & Weed Control

A special blend of winter fertilizer should be used for root development, which stabilizes the turf for winter dormancy and assists in early spring green-up next season. 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 raked or mowed and go down to the soil. Make sure to water-in granular fertilizers so your lawn can absorb the nutrients. Spot-spray weeds only if you see them starting to emerge.

Mowing

  • Continue mowing the top ⅓ of your lawn until growth slows down.
  • 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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