DIY Network

Lawn Care

This DIY Basic will provide tips on lawn care.

More in Outdoors

Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Choose the Right Grass

Start by having soil tested. Amend soil if necessary.

Choose proper grass for soil, sun/shade combination and climate zone.

Tip: Grass seed mixtures give better odds than one type of grass. If one dies, others will still be healthy.

Step 3: Water When Necessary

To encourage strong deep roots and resistance to drought, water only when ground is dry; then water to a depth of 6 to 8 inches rather than several short waterings.

To discourage disease and fungus and maximize moisture in lawn, water early in the day.

Step 4: Mow the Lawn

Level lawn for even mowing; highs and lows can cause mower to scalp grass.

To prevent shredding the grass, which can increase moisture loss and foster disease, keep mower blade sharp.

For stronger grass, alternate direction and angle of mower each time you mow.

Never cut off more than 1/3 of grass length.

Mowing in evening puts less stress on grass than mowing in hot sun.

Step 5: Discourage Pests and Diseases

Bag and discard lawn clippings when grass is diseased. To keep from spreading disease, avoid walking on diseased grass when it is wet.

Two grubs per square foot is normal; ten or more grubs per square foot require treatment with grub killer. Some products also control chinch bugs, billbugs and other insects.

To discourage fungi, keep lawn well-aerated. Treat outbreaks of fungus with fungicide.

Step 6: Apply Weed Killer

Apply weed killers at proper time in lifecycle of weed.

Spread pre-emergent crabgrass killer in early spring before crabgrass comes up.

Repeat application can be used for extended weed prevention through the fall.

To control existing weeds such as dandelions, use post-emergent, broadleaf weed killer. Apply post-emergent broadleaf killer 2 to 3 days after mowing.

Lawn should be wet with dew or sprinkler when applying granular herbicides.

Don't mow lawn for 2 to 3 days after application. Don't water for 24 hours after application.

Step 7: Add Fertilizer

Fertilize 3 to 4 times a year for even feeding.

Use slow release fertilizer containing mostly nitrogen (some locations restrict use of phosphate fertilizers).

Limit fertilizer application during hot weather on cool season turf.

Fall fertilizer applications improve turf quality in the spring.