The House Method team reviews and recommends lawn care service providers. In this review, we explain why TruGreen is our top pick. House Method is reader-supported. Advertiser Disclosure.
Maintaining a healthy, lush lawn isn’t easy, especially when it requires seasonal care. You have to fertilize, water, mow, and maintain proper lawn care. We want to make sure that you’re not just caring for your lawn, but you’re caring for it correctly. That’s why we explain how to eliminate weeds, when to fertilize, and how often to water. Not all grass is the same, and therefore, not all treatment works the same.
Seventy-five percent of Americans feel lawn care is important—and we agree, which is why we provide the best lawn treatment strategies here. Whether you do it yourself or use a professional lawn care company like our recommended provider TruGreen, we want to make sure you have the best lawn on the block. To get a free quote for the best lawn treatments from TruGreen, fill out a form online or call 888.535.3193.
There are two different types of grasses(cool-season and warm-season), and each requires different care. Occasionally, lawns have a mixture of both warm-season and cool-season grasses, especially if you live in a transition zone.
Understand the major differences between cool-season grasses and warm-season grasses, so you know how to best care for them:
|Cool-Season Grasses||Warm-Season Grasses|
Creeping red fescue
|Most Often Found in These Regions||Northeast, Midwest, Pacific Northwest||Southeast, Southwest, Deep South, Gulf Coast|
|Best Time to Fertilize||Fall and early spring||Spring and summer|
|Growing Season||Fall and spring||Summer|
|Thrive Best in These Temperatures||Between 65°F and 75°F||Between 80°F and 95°F|
A lot of lawn care problems stem from poorly cared for soil. Knowing what type of soil you have and what nutrients are missing is the key to maintaining a healthy lawn. When testing, you’re looking for its acidity and/or alkaline levels.
The pH measurement is determined by a scale of 0 to 14. Too much or too little can be problematic for your lawn, which is why you want to make sure you have a healthy balance of acidity and alkaline. If you want to grow plants or vegetables, you want the pH level of your soil to be around 6.5. For comparison, pure water typically has a pH level of 7.
To test your soil, you can use a do-it-yourself test or a basic soil test kit you can find at various stores—or you can call a professional.
Balancing the alkaline and acidity in your soil is important for the best lawn treatment. For an accurate reading, you can skip the at-home test and call TruGreen. They offer a pH and soil analysis as part of their Soil Amendment and Analysis Services. Get a quote online or call 888.535.3193.
You’re supposed to fertilize the grass in the spring, right? Depends. If you’re part of the 64% of Americans who falsely believe all grass needs to be fertilized in the spring, don’t worry. We breakdown the rules of fertilization, so you don’t end up overfeeding your soil.
To take the best care of your lawn, fertilize right before the growing season begins. So, cold-season grass should be fertilized at the end of the summer or beginning of fall. If you need to fertilize again, you can do so in the spring. Warm-season grass should be fertilized in the late spring, right before summer.
Whatever you do, you don’t want to overfeed your lawn. Putting down too much grass seed can damage the grass and prevent it from growing. Ideally, you only want to fertilize once or twice per year, depending on your soil’s pH level.
When fertilizing, you can use one of these methods to feed: broadcast or rotary spreader, a drop spreader, a spray, or a compost.
Not sure which is best for your lawn? The best lawn fertilizer depends on your soil and grass type. A lawn care professional can perform a soil analysis, determine if fertilizing is necessary, and fertilize it for you when you need it. TruGreen offers fertilization services in all three of their lawn treatment plans.
When it comes to fertilizing a lawn, House Method recommends hiring a professional who can determine the best type of fertilization to use, how much to put down, and when to apply it.
Weed control can be confusing if you don’t know what weeds look like. There are a dozen different types of weeds that can destroy your lawn if you’re not careful. Dandelions (the tiny yellow flowers), for instance, are also called Broadleaf Weeds.
Some of the most common—and annoying—weeds are crabgrass, which grow in the warm summer months. To stop this weed from growing, you can use a crabgrass preventer right when the crabgrass seeds begin to germinate, which is typically when the temperatures drop to 55°F to 60°F (early spring). If you start to see the crabgrass growing, then you’re already too late in preventing it.
Weed killers, more specifically, can be used to destroy crabgrass and other weeds. Knowing which weed killer to use can be tricky, since some are used to both kill and prevent weeds, while others are used to simply kill certain types of weeds. As part of their lawn care plans, TruGreen offers pre-emergent and targeted weed control throughout the year, including the spring months when it’s time to dethatch, aerate, and prepare your lawn for the summer.
To trim the weeds, you can use a string trimmer, a professional tool most often used to edge or taper a lawn. It has multiple purposes, but if you have weeds growing out of the cracks in your sidewalk, using this tool will do the trick.
Nearly one in three Americans say they don’t know how often to water a lawn. Presumably watering it more often is better than watering it less often, but is there a way to determine how much is too much?
In the summer months, we recommend watering in the mornings to allow the water to better evaporate into the soil. The goal is to fill your lawn with one inch of water per week, two inches at most. Depending on where you live, if your lawn is shaded by trees, and how often you get rain, you may have to increase or decrease your watering.
Aim to water for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time, two to three times per week. You’ll know you overwatered if you leave footprints when you walk over it.
Pro tip: Water less but for a longer period of time. For example, water three times a week for an hour during warm seasons, as opposed to every day for 10 minutes. If temperatures are extremely high, you can water lightly every day.
It can be challenging to understand when to mow your lawn and how often. This depends, again, on what type of grass you have, but essentially you want to mow when the grass isn’t wet. Also, mow your lawn most often during the grass’ prime growing season, which we’ve outlined above.
If you have cold-season grass, you should aim to mow your lawn once a week during the fall and spring. If you have warm-season grass, you should aim to mow your lawn once a week during the summer. Our rule of thumb: let grass grow. Keep your schedule at once a week.
Whatever you do, don’t cut your lawn too short or too often, or you could leave your grass more susceptible to drought and weeds. Cut about one-third of the grass blades, but no shorter. During peak growing seasons, we recommend cutting the grass higher so you avoid weeds and allow photosynthesis to easily occur. Cutting it at the right height can help the soil maintain the right amount of nutrients.
What do you do with the grass clippings when you’re done? Leaving grass clippings on your lawn can help prevent thatch from developing and act as a natural fertilizer. If you want to remove them for esthetic purposes, you can bag them and use them later for compost.
To thicken your grass, you can add grass seeds over a recently mown lawn. Overseeding an existing lawn about once a year can restore your lawn and fill in the bare spots with new grass.
Before you overseed, remove any clippings or debris, so the seeds can reach the soil. Add the seeds to a spreader and simply follow the directions on the grass seed package. After, water the new seeds once a day for a week. If you have cool-season grass, you’ll want to overseed in the fall. If you have warm-season grass, overseed in the spring.
Aeration prevents or removes lawn thatch or debris, which can dry out healthy grass. It also removes moss plants. Aerating ensures proper circulation and give your soil access to water, air, nutrients. Without this lawn treatment, underground roots may not get access to the oxygen or water needed to breathe and survive.
How do you aerate? Poke holes in the soil using a spike aerator or a plug aerator. For a more thorough treatment, consider paying for a technique called core aeration using a lawn aerator. If you do pay for this application, ask for specific instructions on how and when to use it.
Perform aeration in the spring or early summer if you have warm-season grass or fall if you have cool-season grass. If you undergo lawn maintenance year-round, then you should only have to perform aeration once per year. Consider aerating more often if your soil becomes too hard or compact.
Thatch is essentially a mix of dead and living grass stems, leaves, and shoots that builds up during the cold season. Minor amounts of thatch aren’t bad for your lawn, but thick layers of thatch can prevent grass roots from getting enough water and dry them out. Thatch can also form if there’s too much clay in your soil or too many pesticides over a long period of time. It can be harmful to your lawn, so it’s best to monitor and remove it, if necessary.
Thatch should be removed after the cold season. Use either a hand rake to scrape the thatch out of your grass or use a dethatcher, which also removes weeds. Only use a dethatcher if your grass isn’t too dry or too wet.
If you have trouble preventing thatch with simple lawn maintenance, you’ll want to dethatch once per year. If it’s very minimal, stick with every other year. The frequency depends on your lawn and how much thatch has accumulated over the winter months.
When winter weather comes to a close and the warm spring temperatures arrive, we often turn to our deserted lawns, eager to make them green again. By cleaning your lawn at the start of the warm season, you’ll allow for aeration, provide the soil with the oxygen, water, and nutrients it needs, and prevent mold from developing.
When spring comes, here’s what you can do to prepare for the best lawn treatment in the warm summer months, no matter where you live:
Throughout the year, be sure to periodically remove branches, twigs, and leaves, so your lawn is ready come spring.
Lawn maintenance can be costly, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Even after buying the right equipment, you will need to buy seeds, fertilizer, and weed killing spray, depending on the season.
For the best lawn treatment, practice seasonal maintenance. How many and what kind of treatments are needed depends on your grass type, soil, and where you live. Caring for your lawn in the fall, for instance, is crucial, if you have cool-weather grass. You want to make sure your grass is in the best condition to withstand damaging winter temperatures.
Don’t have time? If you sign up for a TruGreen lawn care plan, you can ensure a professional visits your lawn multiple times per year.
The average American spends about 70 hours a year on lawn and garden care. You can do lawn care yourself with our tips above, or you can hire a professional to correctly take care of it all year. When you hire a professional, you can spend those 70 hours a year on your family, friends, and after-work activities.
Experts like TruGreen can solve your lawn problems by checking on your lawn throughout the year. The best lawn treatment starts with the basics, and that’s what TruGreen covers at an affordable price. From weed control and lawn fertilization to aeration and tree and shrub care, TruGreen can make sure that your lawn care needs are met year-round. You can choose from various lawn care plans and applications, including fertilization, pre-emergent and targeted weed control, aeration, lime treatment, and more. Plans start at just $29.95 for your first application.★
Not only does TruGreen offer the best lawn treatment, but they used a scientifically tailored approach to lawn care. Their team of experts undergo extensive training through their TruExpert® Certification Program to make sure your lawn is cared for in the best way possible.
Other reasons to choose TruGreen include:
TruGreen wants you to love your lawn, which is why they have PhD-certified specialists evaluate your lawn before making suggestions on how to treat it. If you need follow-up care, TruGreen experts will return, again and again, to make sure your lawn is properly cared for.
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House Method's Pick: TruGreen