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Guide to Southern Lawn Care: Products, Services, and More

By Britt Olizarowicz

Growing a healthy lawn in the south can be quite a project. Sometimes it takes years of experience to get the proper watering schedule, weed control, aerification timing, and more. In our guide to southern lawn care, we provide:

  • Seasonal practices all homeowners should be taking
  • Lawn maintenance tips for southern lawns
  • And what to look for in a southern lawn care company
Best Overall Lawn Care Company

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Best DIY Lawn Care Company

  • 4.6 out of 5 stars
  • Simple signup and ordering process
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Spring Southern Lawn Care

Spring is the time of year that grass is going to start growing. Most of the south deals with a relatively warm summer, and it’s really important to jump on some things in the spring before the growth rates get out of control. Here are a few things that need to be addressed in the spring months.

  • Mow lawns after you see new growth in the turf; it’s okay to cut grass a little shorter this time of year.
  • Soil amendments such as lime and PH should be applied in the spring, but it’s always a good idea to do a soil test first to see where your turf needs the help.
  • Overseeding can be done in the spring as soon as the soil temperatures are over 65 degrees; during the overseeding process, cut the grass and allow the clippings to remain in the soil for extra nutrients.
  • In the late spring, it’s time to aerate and dethatch the lawn to reduce compaction throughout the summer months, rain in the south typically comes hand in hand with the hot weather, and you want your turf to be prepared for that.

Summer Southern Lawn Care

The summer months can be rough in the south. When your air conditioning runs all day, and your sprinkler system can’t seem to catch up, you know that it must be tough for your grass to stay healthy and disease free. Here are some of the most important steps to follow for summer southern lawn care.

  • Find a good summer fertilizer that will not burn out the turf but will allow for a slow release to keep it strong when it is stressed.
  • When the grass is multiplying, and the temperatures are high, increase the mowing height so that you can reduce water evaporation and fight off weeds.
  • Check for grub damage in the summer and treat with grub control if necessary.
  • Periodically check the sprinklers and watering schedule and adjust accordingly based on rainfall; just because it’s hot does not mean you want to overwater the turf.

Fall Southern Lawn Care

The fall can be a great time to get your lawn in excellent condition for the following year. However, you must pay close attention to the maintenance procedures to avoid the hassle of winter and spring problems.

  • Slow down your watering schedule, and keep a close eye on the rain, but southern lawns typically don’t need as much water in the fall.
  • Use a pre-emergent herbicide when the nights start to cool off; this can help to keep the majority of winter weeds away; as long as temperatures are in that 60-70 degree range at night, you are fine to use the pre-emergent.
  • Overseeding with something like cool season ryegrass can help give your southern lawn a bit of color through the winter, be careful to follow proper seeding procedures to ensure the long-term health of your lawn.
  • Keep mowing your grass until it does not need it anymore; use a slightly lower mower deck height than you did in the summer.
  • Fertilizer before the start of the winter, after you have overseeded with the cool season grasses, keep leaves and debris off the lawn throughout the fall so that there are lower chances of disease.

Winter Southern Lawn Care

The winter southern lawn care is a bit more low-key than the rest of the year; you should not have as many issues with weeds coming up, or turf getting stressed out. Here are the things to keep an eye on during the winter months.

  • Use post-emergent herbicides for any weeds that survived your pre-emergent in the fall.
  • Keep the grass free of debris and periodically rake
  • Ensure that you are still watering throughout the winter, as the turf will still need it even when dormant
  • At the end of the winter, use a pre-emergent herbicide to get a head start on the spring and summer weeds; crabgrass typically makes its debut in the later part of the winter, when soil temperatures go above 50 degrees

What Are the Best Types of Grass for the South

One of the most critical steps in having a perfect southern lawn is to choose the proper type of grass. We know that the perennial ryegrass looks great all winter, but as soon as the temperatures heat up, expect it to die off completely. Warm season grasses are what most of your lawn should be made up of.

Warm-Season Grasses

A warm season grass will grow best in temperatures that are more than 75 degrees. Typically speaking, warm season grasses will only work in the south, parts of the southwest, and sometimes in the southwest. A long summer can be impossible for a cool season grass to survive, but warm season grasses will thrive and continue to grow.

Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is a warm season grass that loves the sun. One of the great things about Bermuda is that it is very drought tolerant and can handle lawn traffic. Always ensure your Bermuda grass has excellent drainage, as you can run into some nutrient issues if the water lingers too long.

St. Augustine Grass

A well-established St. Augustine lawn not only looks good, but it can also be relatively lower maintenance. The St. Augustine grass creates a really thick surface and will hold up well against weeds; it is also somewhat shade tolerant. Most of the grass you see in Florida is St. Augustine grass.

Zoysia Grass

Zoysia grass is another warm season grass that does well in the cold; in fact, it won’t turn nearly as brown as Bermuda or St. Augustine. In addition to working well in the deep south, Zoysia grass also performs well in the southern transition zones. The Zoysia grass needs very little water to look great.

Southern Lawn Care Services

If you are not ready to take on the project of taking care of your turf, hiring a landscaping company to do this for you can also be an option. When looking into what a professional lawn care company can do for your home, you may want to see how much help you need. Sometimes hiring out for certain services is a better option than having everything completed by one company.

Best Overall

  • Large variety of plan options tailored to homeowners wants and needs
  • All services are backed and performed by TruExpert℠ Certified Specialists
  • Services provided in 49 states

Seeding

Most warm season grasses are sold as sod pieces and not in seed. However, during the spring and fall, when overseeding occurs, the process of seeding needs to be completed with the proper equipment and tools.

Fertilization

Fertilization occurs quite often on southern lawns. Choosing the proper fertilizer, as well as certain weed and feed products, can make or break the health of your lawn through the summer months. Warm season grasses do quite well with slow release fertilizers because of the length of their growing season.

Aerating and Dethatching

Aerating and dethatching can make way for air, nutrients, water, and seed to get down to the soil. Certain grasses like St. Augustine can grow thick, and sometimes a bit of dethatching allows for a healthier and deeper green.

Irrigation

Irrigation requirements change from one season to the next. To keep a southern lawn healthy, you must water in the early morning hours to ensure that fungus and pests stay out of the turf.

Tree & Shrub Care

Typically speaking, a hard cut back is done in the spring to ensure that the tree or shrub has a jump start on the growing season. Cutting back too much in the fall can weaken your trees and shrubs before the frosts come through.

Leaf Removal

Leaf removal tends to be a major problem in southern states. Although there are not as many deciduous trees in the tropical areas in Florida, leaf removal tends to be a major project throughout the rest of the south. Leaving the leaf debris on your turf can result in color changes, as well as fungus; this is something to stay on top of all year.

Mowing and Landscaping

Southern lawns need to be mowed throughout the majority of the year. Increased mowing height is necessary for the summer months when the temperatures get high. There should be a few months in the summer where the mowing frequently decreases considerably.

Weed Control

Pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides are the best solution for weed control of southern lawns. Always ensure that you are using a product that will work for the type of turf that you have. Keep in mind that herbicides can impact perennial ryegrass, and this is something to keep in mind if you have just overseeded.

Lawn Pest Control

Lawn pest control will include getting rid of grubs and other creatures that are tearing away at the roots of your turf. The pest control products on the market can either be pet and kid-friendly or a more chemical solution that is likely faster acting. Looking for professionals to handle this part of your landscaping is quite common.

Best Southern Lawn Care Products

There are a few products that all southern homeowners should have on hand to keep their grass looking great all year long. As you get to know the landscaping needs in your area, you can determine what the best practices might be, but here are a few products that you should consider.

Weed and Feed

A great weed and feed product will fertilize and kill weeds at the same time. If you are smart about your timing of application on this product, you can save yourself both time and money.

Spreader

A spreader is necessary for fertilization, lawn pest control, weed control as well as overseeding. Setting the spreader to the proper dispersion rate and using it in a methodical matter will help make your turf look that much better.

Sprinker Timer

Water needs will change throughout the year, and having a great sprinkler timer to help make the watering process easier can help. If you have a sprinkler system, it also makes sense to look into a rain gauge to help with the concern of overwatering.

Grub Control

Grubs can come in quickly and start to take over your southern lawn. Sometimes if you see burrowing animals making their way through your turf, you know that grubs have already done some damage. If you treat the grubs, the burrowing animals like moles and even armadillos will leave your turf alone.

Seed For Overseeding

Perennial ryegrass works quite well for overseeing southern lawns; use this ryegrass each year to keep things green and lush when the southern warm season grasses turn brown.

Mulch/Pine Straw

If you want to keep your southern lawn from spreading into the landscaping beds, be sure to put up a barrier and then cover it with pine straw or mulch. These products will also give your yard a much more clean and updated look.

Should You DIY or Hire a Lawn Care Service in the South?

Now that you know all that is involved in keeping a southern lawn looking great throughout the year, it’s time to determine whether or not this is something you can do on your own. The important things to remember are that the overall process of maintaining a southern lawn is likely most complicated in the summer, and that’s when temperatures are hotter.

DIY lawn care helps to save money, but you will end up having to put in the time yourself. The bottom line is that you can learn to maintain a southern lawn with time, patience, and attention to detail. For those that fear this is not an option, a professional lawn care service can help.

Best Professional Southern Lawn Care Services

The best professional southern lawn care service is TruGreen. TruGreen has locations all over the south and has been in the industry for more than 15 years. With TruGreen, you can customize the plan to work for your needs and ensure you get the exact services you need. TruGreen professionals are highly trained individuals that can address issues, help you with landscaping projects, and even work with you to maintain a healthy and lush southern lawn.

TruGreen Plans and Pricing

One of the best things about TruGreen is that they have various plans for homeowners to choose from. Everything from basic low-cost options to full service where you will never have to touch a thing.

Best Overall

  • Large variety of plan options tailored to homeowners wants and needs
  • All services are backed and performed by TruExpert℠ Certified Specialists
  • Services provided in 49 states

Key Takeaways

Southern lawns can grow fast, and they can look fantastic from the fall to the spring. The key is to be maintaining your southern lawn throughout the entire season. Unfortunately, there is no true downtime as you will always have to look for weeds, soil needs, and fertilization issues. If taking care of a southern lawn is more than you can handle, a company like TruGreen can make things much more manageable.

Frequently Asked Questions: Southern Lawn Care

What is the first step to take when caring for a lawn?

When caring for a lawn, the first step is to do a soil test. Find out exactly where the health of the soil is and how this impacts the lawn. Once you have done this, you can start to make decisions about nutrients, watering, fertilization, and more.

What are some of the benefits of having a lush and green lawn?

Some of the benefits of having a lush and green lawn include:

  • Pride of ownership of your home
  • The higher resale value of a house
  • Meeting the requirements of your local HOA
  • Grasses will be less subject to fungus, or disease
  • Droughts or dry spells will be less likely to impact the overall health of the turf

Why do you need to water a lawn?

Water is essential for all living things to grow, including your lawn. Although rainwater can help to reduce the amount of water you need to give your lawn, there are still watering requirements that are expected, especially in the south. Always water in the early morning hours to increase the efficiency of the watering and decrease the chance of fungus developing in the turf.

How often should southern lawns be fertilized?

The southern lawn should be fertilized five to six times per year. This is typically done to help improve the turf’s overall growth rates and health, even when the lawn is in its slower growing periods.

A southern lawn should always be watered in the early morning hours. Watering in the middle of the day will cause evaporation that will not give the turf enough water. Watering at night allows the grass to sit wet all night, and you could end up with a fungus.

House Method’s Rating Methodology

At House Method, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each lawn company/service according to our methodology.

Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each lawn care service’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the lawn care companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.

We developed a formula to objectively determine the best lawn care companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:

  • Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.
  • Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at the number of lawn care coverages, including weed control, seeding, irrigation, aeration, dethatching, and more.
  • Trust (10): What do customers say after their lawn has been serviced? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.
  • Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same lawn services.
  • Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as organic treatments, pest control, or a mobile app? We looked for perks each company offers that set them apart from the competition.
  • Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.
  • Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.

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