Garden maintenance details - close up view of industrial grass mower

How to Find the Right Lawn Treatment

By: Tara Seboldt

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.

Not much compares to the crisp look of a well-manicured lawn. A beautiful lawn can even help the environment as grass converts carbon dioxide to oxygen to help clean the air. Getting your lawn to grow thick green grass, however, can be a major undertaking. Finding the right lawn treatment plan for your lawn takes research, patience, and possibly some sweat equity.

To grow and maintain a pristine lawn that is the centerpiece of backyard barbecues, consider what lawn treatments your lawn may need. Each lawn is different and requires consideration of location, types of grasses, and timing of treatments. We’ve constructed a handy guide to determining what lawn treatments can help you maintain a beautiful lawn year-round.

If lawn care isn’t for you, there are professionals who can take the reins. We recommend America’s #1 professional lawn care company, TruGreen.* Get a free quote or call 888.535.3193 today.

Essential lawn treatments for healthy lawns

There are certain necessary lawn chores that help keep lawns healthy and vibrant. Healthy lawns not only look great, but they benefit your family and the environment. A dense lawn with tightly grown grass prevents water run-off even better than wheat or hay fields. Additionally, vibrant lawns house insects and provide feeding grounds for birds.

While each of these lawn care tasks may vary slightly for individual lawns, they are all important to promote healthy grass growth. Some lawn treatments are ongoing almost all year round. Others may only be required once or twice a year.

Mowing

Mowing is one of the most important processes to maintaining a healthy lawn. In addition to helping your lawn look well-kept, mowing helps keep grass alive and growing. Make sure to follow the one-third rule of mowing by adjusting your mower blades. This helps you to only cut the top third of your lawn, thus encouraging stronger roots.

Try to mow your lawn in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler. Heat in the middle of the day can cause your grass to go into shock. However, hold off on mowing if it’s wet from recent watering or rain. Wet grass can clog lawn mowers and makes it easier for grass diseases to spread across your yard.

Pre-emergent and targeted weed control

Proactively preventing weeds from growing in your lawn helps maintain proper grass health. Lawns with dense grass make it difficult for weeds to survive. Having a deeply rooted lawn with healthy grass can be your best defense in controlling weeds.

If you are worried that your lawn may not be able to ward off weeds, you can use a pre-emergent herbicide to stop weed seeds from germinating. To work correctly, pre-emergent herbicides must be applied before you notice weeds.

If you find weeds have already established themselves in your yard, you can use one of the many herbicides available in stores. Alternatively, you can make your own natural weed killer as a green alternative to chemicals that penetrate the soil and kill valuable nutrients.

In order to effectively remove weeds from your lawn, you’ll need to know:

  • Different types of weeds
  • Their growing seasons
  • How to treat them based on these conditions.

It can be discouraging to fight weeds one year only to have them come back the next.  To relieve yourself of the stress of solving your weed problem on your own, let TruGreen perform a Healthy Lawn Analysis®✦ and find the right treatment method to get your weed problem under control. Whether you’re dealing with dandelions, chickweed, crabgrass, or broadleaf weeds, TruGreen can transform your lawn into a weed-free zone and prevent the growth of more weeds in the future.

Lawn, Gardening, Lawn Mower, Front or Back Yard, Mowing

Fertilizing

Regular fertilizer applications give your lawn the food it needs to grow strong and vibrant. Applying fertilizer requires accurate timing and research of what type of fertilizer your lawn needs. Be sure to read fertilizer labels, so you know what nutrients you are applying and how much is needed. You should use a fertilizer that is appropriate for the grass type and season in order to keep your yard in good condition. The products that work best depend on the issues that your yard is facing. For example:

  • If your grass has bare spots, you may need to use a fertilizing agent with a high phosphorus content because this mineral stimulates seedling and root development.
  • If your grass is suffering from extremely dry conditions, a potassium-rich fertilizer may be a better choice since it promotes tolerance against disease and drought.
  • If you want a thick, luscious yard, you should opt for a supplement with more nitrogen, as it makes grass grow and become greener.

All of these factors can make it difficult to decide how to fertilize your yard. Though their Healthy Lawn Analysis®✦,  TruGreen specialists will determine exactly what nutrients your lawn may be missing and how to fertilize your lawn, so it can reach its full potential. You can use online resources like this fertilizer calculator to find what types of nutrients your lawn may need.

Watering

Your lawn can’t grow bright green if it doesn’t have enough water. How much you need to water your lawn will be highly based on your climate. The average lawn only needs one inch of water per week, so it’s important to monitor how much rain you get.

The best method for lawn watering is to water deeply and infrequently. Monitor rainfall with a rain gauge. If you don’t receive a lot of precipitation, water your lawn when it shows stress from dryness. One of the easiest ways to see if your grass needs water is if footprints remain when someone walks over it.

Aeration

Heavy foot traffic and harsh winter conditions can leave your lawn looking run-down, since it’s likely that dense thatch and compacted soils have built up over time. This can cause dead spots and thinning turf, as the pathways for nutrients, water, and air have been blocked from reaching the grass roots.

Aeration is a solution to these issues that will create new pathways where important elements can seep into the ground. This process will improve the health of your turf by reducing the soil compaction, thatch buildup, and water runoff. When a TruGreen specialist aerates your lawn, they’ll also use regular feeding and weed management to give your grass the proper nourishment and room to grow.

Grass seeds in the hand

Overseeding

When overseeding your lawn, you’re essentially spreading grass seed over already existing turf. This technique is often implemented after aeration, which allows the seed to reach deep into healthy soil beneath the surface of the lawn. This lawn treatment method can improve the overall health and appearance of your lawn by making the grass thicker, as well as filling in damaged turf areas.

When your grass is thick and healthy, it’s better equipped to fight off insects and diseases and reproduce favorable growing conditions. TruGreen certified specialists include overseeding in their service plans. They create a plan for your yard that uses new turfgrass to promote healthy growth and fend off the effects of drought, wear, and infections.

Soil amendment

To be in its top condition, soil should have an appropriate balance of acidity and alkalinity. Typically, lawns look their best when the soil is slightly acidic, often having a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. However, too much acidity can be harmful for grass roots, because it can prevent them from absorbing important nutrients like phosphorus and iron. Without a proper pH balance, your lawn may not receive the full benefits from lawn applications like fertilization or aeration, and your yard may be more at risk for developing lawn diseases.

When you work with a TruGreen specialist, they test your lawn’s pH levels and adjust the pH balance of your soil using lime, sulfur, or other micronutrients, so you can maintain rich, healthy soil and increase access to nutrients for your grass roots.

Pest control

While pests may just seem like a nuisance to people, they’re actually quite harmful for your lawn, as well.

Grub control and prevention

Larvae from various types of beetles, also known as grubs, can cause extensive damage to your lawn by burrowing into the soil and feeding on the roots of your grass. Not only do weeds and weather conditions take a toll on the health of your yard, but these harmful insects can make you work twice as hard while trying to maintain your green lawn.  TruGreen can help you fight these pests with their preemptive applications and innovative formulas.

Fire ant control

Fire ants aren’t always easy to get rid of, especially during their active seasons. They can ruin your grass, not to mention that their painful bite or sting will discourage you from enjoying your lawn altogether.

TruGreen use two different approaches when dealing with fire ants: broadcast and targeted treatments. With a broadcast treatment, they’ll cover your entire yard with an effective ant-killing formula. For a targeted treatment, they apply the formula near specific ant hills. The granular composition of TruGreen’s fire ant application will quickly control them by permeating the ground, and preventing them from relocating to other areas on your lawn.

Read more: Our review on TruGreen’s pest control

How do you know what lawn treatments your lawn needs?

Determining the right lawn treatment depends on several factors. Your climate plays a large role in what’s needed and when it should be applied. Different types of grass will also require different methods of lawn care.

Location

Your location may be the biggest factor in choosing a lawn treatment for your lawn. You can use a plant hardiness zone map to find out which types of plants grow best in your area. The following location factors may help you choose when to treat your lawn.

Weather Native Plants/Trees Pests and Weeds
Dry desert climates will likely need a more robust irrigation system, but may be less prone to frost. On the other hand, if you live in a wet climate, you may not need an irrigation system, but likely will need to watch for mold. Having native plants and trees in your yard can add aesthetic appeal. However, you’ll need to watch for shady areas. Grass in shade is difficult to grow and must fight for sunlight and nutrients. Different locations have different pests and weeds. Invasive species can also vary by location. Research what pests and weeds are local to determine what type of herbicides or pesticides you may need.

Types of grass

There are many different grass varieties for your lawn. Many lawns feature a mix of several grass types. Some grasses will be more resilient than others and are better for harsher climates. Knowing what type of grass is in your lawn makes it easier to determine what lawn treatment to use. A grass that is resistant to drought, for example, will need to be watered less than a grass that is susceptible to dryness.

Your lawn will either be covered with a cool-season grass or a warm-season grass. This affects which time of year is best to apply lawn treatments. Grass that’s in its growing season will have the strongest chance to produce a lush and healthy lawn, but the active season is different for these two grass types:

  • If you have a warm-season grass, the best time of year to perform treatments is late spring to mid-summer
  • For cool-season grass, you should plan to work on your yard during the fall or early spring.

If you’re not sure what grass type is in your yard, typically warm-season grasses populate lawns throughout the southern United States where the climate is wet and warm, and temperatures often reach 80–95°F during the growing season. Cool-season grass types are usually found in northern regions where they can thrive in temperatures from 60–75°F.

Listed below are some common grass strains and what season they will grow best in.

Warm-season grasses:

  • Bermudagrass
  • Bahiagrass
  • Zoysia grass
  • Carpetgrass
  • St. Augustine
  • Centipede

Cool-season grasses:

  • Annual ryegrass
  • Perennial ryegrass
  • Bentgrass
  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Creeping bentgrass
  • Fine fescue
  • Tall fescue
  • Red fescue

Seasonal lawn treatments

Though affected by your climate, seasonal lawn treatments are an important part to maintaining a healthy lawn. If you are wondering when you should treat your lawn, the chart below will help guide you through lawn care treatments for every season.

Spring Lawn Care Summer Lawn Care
  • Dethatch: Remove decaying organic matter with a rake.
  • Weed: Pull weeds manually from soft, damp ground and apply herbicide.
  • Seed: Fill empty patches with new seeding.
  • Water: Infrequent soaks help grow new seeding.
  • Aerate: Loosen soil for grass to absorb more nutrients.
  • Test soil: Check pH levels.
  • Mow: Keep grass fairly tall through rainy seasons.
  • Water: Keep grass healthy with deep soaks through dry seasons.
  • Mow: Promote healthy growth with regular mowing.
  • Mulch: Leave grass clippings as natural mulch to create nutrients in the soil.
  • Weed: Pull any major weeds by hand and avoid harsh herbicides
  • Relax: Dry summers can create natural brown spots or dormant grass.
Fall Lawn Care Winter Lawn Care
  • Water: Keep lawns from entering winter in drought conditions.
  • Mow: Mow grass slightly shorter and fallen leaves to create natural mulch.
  • Weed: Pick weeds by hand and spot apply herbicides to kill them before winter.
  • Rake: Dead leaves smother grass, but can be raked and turned into compost.
  • Fertilize: Use slow-release fertilizer after your last mow to keep dormant grass strong throughout winter.
  • Dethatch: Use a rake to remove decaying matter.
  • Aerate: Promote healthy soil and loosen packed dirt.
  • Seed: Plant new grass in early fall, so it’s established by winter.
  • Fertilize: Feed your lawn in early winter to keep nutrients in the soil till spring
  • Mow: Mow your lawn just before the first frost of the season for cooler climates and regularly for warmer climates.
  • Combat snow mold: Break up large piles of snow, so they melt faster.
  • Clear the lawn: Remove heavy objects like lawn furniture or toys that compact soil and kill grass.
Pile of fall leaves with fan rake on lawn

Avoid these 8 common lawn treatment mistakes

Creating a beautiful, healthy lawn requires accurate timing of a lawn treatment plan. Straying just a little from your lawn care timeline can cause much of your previous hard work to disappear. Luckily, many of the most common lawn care mistakes are easy to avoid.

Recognize these top eight lawn treatment mistakes, so you can avoid them in your lawn.

1. Overfertilizing

Fertilizing your lawn is like feeding it nutrients. However, overfertilizing a lawn can cause harm directly to the grass or even promote disease. Overfertilizing can be caused by too much fertilizer in one application, too many subsequent applications, or too much fertilizer in a shady area. You can help combat this by using a natural fertilizer for your lawn.

2. Overwatering

Too much water can cause your lawn to have weak roots. It can also promote the accumulation of thatch. Be careful to water your lawn only when it’s needed, and take care when watering on slopes or in areas with dips in the ground. This includes halting watering if runoff occurs and waiting for 30 minutes to one hour before trying to water again. Repeating this process can give your sloped lawn the water it needs.

3. Misusing pesticides and herbicides

Pesticides and herbicides can be an effective, harmless tool to control lawn pests or weeds if used properly. The first step to avoiding chemical misuse in lawns is reading the label completely. Never apply chemicals on a windy day or right before heavy rains, which can cause chemical runoff.

4. Planting the wrong grass

Trying to grow a type of grass that is not appropriate for your soil type or climate is a surefire way to give yourself a headache and a patchy lawn. Even factors such as shade or the amount of foot traffic on a yard can contribute to the type of grass you need. Before seeding new grass, make sure the type of grass you’ve chosen can thrive in that area of your lawn.

5. Improper mowing

While the short grass of a baseball diamond or golf course may look nice, the reality is healthy grass is meant to grow a little taller. Mowing too short is one of the most common mowing mistakes. Keep your mower blade sharp and adjust it, so you are never mowing more than the top one-third of your grass.

6. Unprepared soil

Knowing what type of soil you have is important when preparing your lawn for seeding and treatment. A soil test can help determine what type of soil you have as well as its pH level. Knowing if your soil is overly acidic or prone to issues like compaction makes proper soil preparation, such as aerating, much easier.

7. Planting in shady areas

Choosing to plant a lawn in a shady area requires more planning and management than lawns in sunny areas. It’s important to choose a grass that is shade-tolerant, and be ready to regularly prune shrubs, trees, and other vegetation that may block sunlight.

Overall, it may not be possible to grow lush grass in some shady areas. In these areas, you can incorporate mulch around the base of trees or plant shade-tolerant woodland plants.

8. Timing lawn treatment incorrectly

Lawn treatments require precise timing to be most effective. For example, you shouldn’t seed your lawn in the late fall or middle of summer to avoid wasting grass seed. Late fall seeding runs the risk of an early winter frost while summer heat can dry up grass seed before it has a chance to take root.

One of the best ways to avoid these lawn-damaging errors is to leave lawn care up to the experts. Professional lawn companies like TruGreen have the know-how to do the job right the first time.

Get a free quote from TruGreen today.

Benefits of a lawn treatment service

Many people enjoy a lush lawn by doing lawn care themselves. Growing a healthy lawn takes commitment and access to the tools and equipment necessary to properly apply treatments. If you’re not willing to make the investment, it may make more sense to hire a lawn care company.

Choosing a professional lawn care company instead of doing lawn care yourself offers several benefits to homeowners. The cost of a lawn treatment service is often worth many times the value it provides to your home.

What are some of the most common reasons people choose a lawn care provider?

Why use a lawn care provider?
Save time After a long day at work, the last thing you want to do spray for weeds. A professional lawn treatment service takes care of the everyday hassles of lawn maintenance. This gives you free time to enjoy your beautiful lawn with your family.
Save money The seemingly expensive cost of a lawn care company is worth it when compared to costly damage to your lawn from lack of experience. Hiring a lawn services provider allows your lawn to be taken care of by a team of specialists. Not only do they apply lawn treatments correctly, but at the right time, as well. A lawn service also saves you money on buying and maintaining lawn care equipment.
Professional equipment A lawn treatment company manages your property with top-of-the-line, professional equipment that is best for your yard. Some larger lawn equipment may even be dangerous for an untrained user. Professionals can safely operate large, expensive lawn equipment.
Expert knowledge Hired lawn care experts can share their knowledge and teach you the right ways to care for your lawn. Instead of wasting time through trial and error, a trained lawn expert can help you determine the best lawn treatment right away.

 

 
green grass

Lawn Treatment: DIY or Hire?

While there are some lawn treatments that can be done yourself, many aspects of lawn care require advanced agronomic expertise and are best completed by lawn care professionals. If you want the guarantee of a thriving, green yard, we recommend hiring an expert.

DIY

  • Proper mowing is an important step in promoting healthy grass growth and can be done by the homeowner.
  • Above-ground sprinklers are an easy DIY lawn treatment. Remember to water deeply and infrequently so that your lawn can soak up moisture without overwatering.

Hire

  • Aerating is a tedious task without a large mechanical aerator. Lawn care services have professional aeration equipment that makes aerating a lawn a much faster, effective task.
  • Fertilizer application can be dangerous if done incorrectly and can cause harm to the environment. Let professionals apply fertilizers properly and at the right time.
  • Although you can use a simple soil test to determine some aspects of your soil, a lawn care professional can use the results to determine what lawn treatments are needed.
Get a Quote from TruGreen

House Method recommended provider: TruGreen

At House Method, we recommend the professional lawn treatment service of TruGreen. Serving millions of American homes across the country, TruGreen is one of the lawn care industry’s largest providers. They use a team of agronomic experts who are professionally trained and bonded.

Even though they serve many different climates, TruGreen offers a local lawn expert at each of their locations. Local expertise means your lawn gets individual treatment from a professional who understands the unique needs of lawns in your area. When a problem arises with your lawn, TruGreen’s TruExpert® certified specialists will help you correct it, so your lawn can thrive. Their specialists even undergo yearly PhD-developed training and certification.

What services does TruGreen provide?

TruGreen offers the essential lawn treatment services and more through annual plans. Each plan is backed by their Healthy Lawn Guarantee®◆. This means they are happy to visit your lawn as much as you need between visits until you are satisfied with a beautiful, healthy lawn. The chart below gives a basic overview of their services.

TruHealth® Lawn Plan TruComplete® Lawn Plan TruSignatur® Lawn Plan
  • 8 visits/year
  • Lime
  • Pre-emergent and targeted weed control
  • Fertilization
  • Healthy Lawn Guarantee
  • Healthy Lawn Analysis
  • 8 visits/year
  • Lime
  • Pre-emergent and targeted weed control
  • Fertilization
  • Healthy Lawn Guarantee
  • Healthy Lawn Analysis
  • Aeration (once a year)
  • 8 visits/year
  • Lime
  • Pre-emergent and targeted weed control
  • Fertilization
  • Healthy Lawn Guarantee
  • Healthy Lawn Analysis
  • Aeration
  • Tree and shrub plan (4 visits a year)

A healthy lawn needs much more than mowing and watering to reach its full potential. With TruGreen, your yard will be in good hands, as they implement the most effective lawn treatments to produce a green turf. Call 888.535.3193 to learn more about TruGreen’s lawn treatment services and get a free quote.

Garden maintenance details - close up view of industrial grass mower

Lawn Treatments from the Professionals

Get a quote from 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. ◆Guarantee applies to full plan customers only.

About the author

Tara is a freelance writer who strives to make every topic interesting. When she’s not behind her computer, she’s outside with her horse or hiking in the mountains.

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