(BPT) - You may think having golf-course green grass requires hours of work each day, but if you want the best lawn on the block, it's as easy as coming up with a plan. The secret? When it comes to lawn maintenance, it's never too early to prepare your course of action. Starting now and focusing on specific to-do's each month ensures you'll have grass you can be proud of all year long.
Here are 12 simple lawn-care tips you can use throughout the year, from the natural-turf specialists at Grass Seed USA:
January - Generally a month that requires little lawn maintenance, January is a great opportunity to get your lawn mower prepped and ready for spring's punctual arrival. Take some time to get your mower's blades sharpened and oil up the engine; your lawn will reap the benefits of a finely tuned mower when grass cutting season arrives.
February - Now that we're on spring's doorstep, you'll want to get your lawn ready for the end of its winter dormancy. Dethatching your yard is an essential step in preparing your lawn for the new grass that will emerge as the temperatures begin to rise and your lawn sees more sunlight.
March - Raking may seem like an odd task when there are no leaves to clean up, but it can be a beneficial addition to your lawn-care routine. Raking cleans the top layer of your lawn, allowing healthy green grass to make its way to the surface.
April - Have some thin patches or bare spots that emerged over the winter? April's warming temperatures provide a great window of opportunity for reseeding the heavily impacted areas of your lawn, or seeding areas where you'd like to grow new grass.
May - Now that you're likely to be mowing your lawn on a regular basis, change the mowing direction or pattern each time you mow your lawn. Different mowing patterns reduce soil compaction and turf wear from mower wheels.
June - As the temperatures warm and drier conditions emerge, you're likely to be watering your lawn more regularly, and knowing when and how much to water can be a challenge. A simple trick to determine whether your lawn needs watering is to stick a screwdriver into the grass. If it enters the soil easily, your lawn has plenty of water already. If you have trouble getting the screwdriver into the ground, it's time to give the grass a drink.
July - Try to avoid mowing or watering your lawn during peak temperature hours. Performing either of these activities when it's sunny and hot can actually "sunburn" the grass and add additional stress to your lawn. The best time to mow and water your lawn is during the cool of the morning or evening.
August - Summer activities and hot, dry conditions can compact the soil in your yard. August is a great month to aerate your lawn, loosening the soil and creating good conditions for fall maintenance.
September - Autumn is the best time for establishing new growth in your lawn. With temperatures beginning to cool down, seeding new areas and overseeding existing lawn areas will allow grass to germinate and grow strong before the cool winter temperatures set in.
October - Winter is coming, so be sure to mow your lawn one last time before the first freeze. Grass is much more likely to develop mold and other turf diseases if it goes into dormancy at a taller height.
November - As the autumn leaves pile up on your lawn, you can put away the rake and blower. Running your mower over the leaves without the grass catcher grinds that clutter into a fine layer of mulch that will be naturally composted into the soil, providing rich nutrients for your grass.
December - Enjoy the holiday season and let your lawn take a breather. Come spring, you will be the envy of your neighbors as your healthy, well-cared-for lawn gets a jump start on growing season.