House with pretty landscaping and green grass

Best Lawn Treatment for Year-Round Care

By: Sarah Sheppard

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.

Learn about grass types, how to prevent weeds, and the best time to fertilize, water, and mow your lawn. To get a free quote for the best lawn treatments from TruGreen, click here or call 888.535.3193. With more than 40 years of experience, TruGreen has served more than 2.3 million customers as America’s #1 professional lawn care company.*

Understanding grass types

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
Types Kentucky bluegrass

Perennial ryegrass

Tall fescue

Creeping red fescue

Bentgrass

Buffalo grass

Bermuda grass

Carpetgrass

Bahiagrass

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

Getting a soil test

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 your free quote by calling 888.535.3193.

Fertilizing

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.

 
green grass

Fertilizing: DIY or Hire?

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.

DIY

  • Though you can save money by buying the fertilizer yourself, there are many factors to consider before putting the fertilizer down, including the soil’s pH levels, how much you need, and how often to repeat the process. Root systems are complicated, and if you underseed or overseed, you could have a variety of lawn issues.

Hire

  • A professional lawn care company can test your soil, determine the best fertilizer for your grass, decide how often it needs to be treated, and ensure that it’s being treated properly. Because of their expertise and the time saved, we recommend a professional.
  • In advance of fertilization, a professional lawn care company can aerate your lawn to break up the soil compaction and allow the fertilizer to better reach the soil and roots.
Get a quote from TruGreen

Preventing weeds

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.

Watering your lawn

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.

Mowing your lawn

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.

Lawn Mowing Tips:

  • Vary the direction you mow.
  • Mow first thing in the morning.
  • Mow as often as your grass requires.
  • Use sharp blades.
  • Leave the grass clippings.
  • Make sure you’re not cutting the grass too short or letting it grow too long in between sessions.
Mowing lawns, Lawn mower on green grass, mower grass equipment, mowing gardener care work tool, close up view, sunny day

Overseeding

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.

Aerating

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.

Removing thatch

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.

Spring cleaning

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:

  • Remove leaves, debris, or any clutter from your lawn and flower beds.
  • Re-edge your lawn using a power edger or weedwacker.
  • Trim your trees and mow your grass (but not too short).

Throughout the year, be sure to periodically remove branches, twigs, and leaves, so your lawn is ready come spring.

Garden tools

The best lawn treatment tools

If you own a home with a lawn, then you own the largest single “crop” in the United States. To maintain a well-manicured lawn, it takes time and effort, just like any other crop.

Where do you begin? Start with the basics.

Make sure you own these lawn care products if you plan to practice do-it-yourself lawn maintenance:

  • Gardening gloves
  • Lawn mower
  • Clippers
  • Trimmer or edger
  • Water hose
  • Spray for fertilizer
  • Pest control, if you have problems with pests in your lawn or garden
  • Digging tools, including a digger and spade
  • Pruners, edge sheers, and other cutting tools
  • Hand tamper and other grading tools
  • Measuring and marking tools
  • Levels and hammers
  • Hand rake
  • Dethatcher

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.

Get a free quote from TruGreen.

Save time and hire a professional

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.

Benefits of choosing TruGreen

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:

  • Healthy Lawn Analysis®✦: Take the guesswork out of lawn maintenance. TruGreen provides a lawn analysis using a tailored approach intended to find lawn care solutions based on your particular lawn, climate, and region.
  • Guaranteed results: With their Healthy Lawn Guarantee®◆, This professional lawn care company is committed to getting you the results you desire, and if adjustments are needed, experts will return to make sure your lawn is cared for properly.
  • Advanced lawn care techniques: With a team of agronomic experts, TruGreen ensures that each lawn is cared for with the right equipment, the right products, and at the right time.
  • More than 40 years of experience: TruGreen has helped homeowners with their lawns and provided satisfying results to customers for decades.

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.

We recommend our partner TruGreen who received a National Association of Landscape Professionals Environmental Stewardship Award in 2017 for maintaining and protecting the environment.

For a free quote on their lawn plans or to learn more about their lawn care services, fill out the online form or call 888.535.3193.

House with pretty landscaping and green grass

Best Professional Lawn Treatment

Get a free quote from our recommended provider, TruGreen.

Call Now
*America’s #1 lawn care company based on U.S. market share of professional lawn care companies. 2016 NorthStar Partners U.S. Share Tracker. ✦Purchase of full lawn plan required for Healthy Lawn Analysis, which is performed at the first visit. ★Requires purchase of annual plan. Special price of $29.95 is for first application only, for new residential EasyPay or PrePay customers only, and applies to lawns up to 5,000 square feet. For lawns more than 5,000 square feet or for the regular lawn application price for a lawn of any size, please call for estimate. Valid at participating TruGreen locations. Availability of services may vary by geography. Not to be combined with or used in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Additional restrictions may apply. Consumer responsible for all sales tax. ◆Guarantee applies to full plan customers only.
Sarah Sheppard

Sarah Sheppard writes on home services, including home and lawn maintenance, for House Method.

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