Heartland Turf and Landscape Lawn Care

Heartland Turf & Landscape
Yard Care Blog

Step by Step Guide for a Perfect Lawn in Kansas City

Kansas city lawn care
Kansas city lawn care

The results of our technicians’ hard work can be seen in yards all across the Kansas City area. Customers and neighbors are constantly asking us how we create such perfect lawns, but, unfortunately, the process of creating these beautiful lawns is a bit too lengthy for a quick conversation. For this reason, we decided to make a step-by-step guide on how to create perfect lawns in Kansas City!

The lawn care technicians at Heartland Turf & Landscape are all trained and certified professionals, and their experience could be the deciding factor between a lawn that thrives and one that struggles. Proper lawn care can be applied by you at home, but improperly fertilizing or watering your turf will quickly damage your lawn. Always make sure you are following product-specific instructions for fertilizers, and keep track of how much/when you are watering. Also, make sure that factors like proper drainage, sunlight, and grass seed type for your yard are considered before treatments begin. While we are confident that this guide will help you create the perfect lawn, do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions or need an extra pair of green thumbs to help.

Below is a detailed breakdown of what lawn care and landscape maintenance methods work for us, and we have provided month-by-month instructions for you to follow at home, either on your own or with the help of professionals like us. Keep in mind that the techniques suggested below have proven to be effective, but every lawn has different needs, and results may vary. Nevertheless, the instructions laid out in this guide are certainly a great place to start, and we are here to help in any way we can!

LATE DECEMBER – EARLY JANUARY

Lawn

-If necessary, clean any new leaves (leaves that accumulated since the fall cleanup) that collect in corners, fence lines, low spots, etc. If leaves pile up and remain in one area for too long, they will smother the grass and kill it. This is when turf damage can happen that often goes unnoticed. Failing to clean up the leaves can prevent you from achieving a great lawn.

Leaf Removal Service >>

FEBRUARY

Lawn

-Apply a “full-rate” concentration of granular Prodiamine crabgrass pre-emergent. This concentration of herbicide is designed to provide crabgrass protection in a single annual treatment. The pre-emergent treatment is often mixed with a high-quality fertilizer. Unfortunately, if you’re applying your own fertilizer, you’ll be limited to a relatively small amount of choices. You will want to find something with a medium nitrogen content that has a blend of slow release, quick release, and micronutrients, if possible. Applying the pre-emergent at this stage will give the herbicide time to disperse into the soil and protect against many spring weeds, in addition to crabgrass.

-IMPORTANT: Be very certain that you are applying a pre-emergent that contains Prodiamine. If you use a product that contains Dimension (another very common pre-emergent herbicide), you will be applying it too early for effective results. Read the label or ask a salesperson for help choosing the correct product.

Lawn Fertilization & Weed Control Service >>

Landscape

-Now is the time to cut back any deciduous shrubs that have outgrown their space. Drastic cutting can be done at this point. You want to cut them back before they sprout leaves, but it is also important to minimize the time that the cut wounds remain open. Your healthy shrubs will soon begin to regrow and heal themselves.

Bush Trimming Service >>

MARCH

Lawn

-Blanket spray for broadleaf weeds. Use a three-way or similar herbicide (Trimec). Mix and dilute per the instructions. Many cold-season weeds and dandelions appear in early spring, so  this is a good time to get ahead of them.

-Before the lawn begins growing, mow it at 3 inches. This will clean up the lawn and stimulate its growth to get an early green appearance. This is not something our mowing crews do automatically. We find that most of our clients would prefer to save the money and wait until the grass begins to grow. If you’d like us to cut it short early, just let us know.

Lawn Fertilization & Weed Control Service >>

Lawn Watering

-Unless we’ve had an extremely dry previous few weeks, lawn watering will not yet be necessary.

Landscape

-Trim ornamental grasses, lilies, liriope, and roses. Roses will need to have any deadwood pruned and cut back to the appropriate height. Most roses can tolerate severe cutback to anywhere between 6-24 inches depending on the variety.

-Clean leaves from corners, edges, and landscape beds.

-Spot spray for weeds in landscape beds. Keeping up with them early will prevent bigger problems during the season.

-Install dark brown hardwood chipped mulch, which should not be confused with the more common shredded mulch made with a mixture of hard and soft woods. Shredded mulch does not look nearly as nice, loses its color faster, and decomposes much more quickly.

Bush Trimming Service >>

APRIL – MAY

Lawn

-Second spring blanket spray for broadleaf weeds. New weeds will appear since the first treatment, and a second treatment will be necessary. Apply a “split application” or “half-rate” treatment of Dimension pre-emergent. This treatment will extend the crabgrass protection into late summer.

-Weekly mowing at a height of 3.5 inches.

Lawn Fertilization & Weed Control Service >>

Lawn Watering

-Watering is rarely needed during this period. Spring rainfall is typically plenty to keep the lawn in good shape. Only water during unusually hot and dry periods that last between a week to 10 days.

Landscape

-Spot spray for landscape weeds.

-Prune Mugo pines and Alberta spruce. Only trim the candles of the pines and the soft new growth of the spruce. Use hand shears, and be careful not to damage old growth. To shape, use hand pruners to remove branches at the base.

-Plant annuals.

Bush Trimming Service >>

JUNE – JULY

Lawn

-Apply a 3-month, 100% slow release fertilizer. This type of fertilizer is included in our program and is very difficult for a homeowner to locate. In fact, only one other (highly respected) company offers it in the Kansas City area. It’s expensive, but it will efficiently feed the lawn throughout the summer. Our supplier does not sell to the public, so it’s unlikely that you’ll find this fertilizer. Instead, you can apply a low- to mid-rate fertilizer with the highest slow release percentage you can find. If the fertilizer is only a 5-6 week release, you’ll probably need to reapply in August.

-Apply grub control before July 4th.

-Blanket spray for nutsedge weeds, if necessary. If you’re doing this yourself, you may be able to achieve acceptable results by spot spraying if weeds are scarce. There are two common herbicides used for spraying nutsedge. The less expensive option will contain Sulfentrazone, but this chemical is easily overapplied and frequently kills turf. Even our trained technicians do not use it. Instead, look for a product called Sedgehammer. It can be expensive, but it’s better than killing your lawn!

-Spot spray for broadleaf weeds in turf areas.

Lawn Fertilization & Weed Control Service >>

Lawn Watering

-Once the spring rains have ended and the heat increases, water twice a week for 45 minutes per zone (25 minutes for zones that have fan sprayer nozzles). This frequency allows the water to seep deeper into the ground and the surface to dry out between watering cycles, minimizing the chances of turf disease. This method will allow the turf to go dormant but keeps it healthy. If you require a dark green color all season, you’ll need to water much more frequently, but you may experience problems with disease. For best water efficiency, water in the early morning hours before the sun comes up. 

Landscape

-Trim all shrubs that need it in late June to mid-July.

-Spot spray for weeds in landscape beds.

Bush Trimming Service >>

AUGUST

Lawn

-Spot spray for nutsedge and broadleaf weeds.

Lawn Fertilization & Weed Control Service >>

Lawn Watering

-Once the spring rains have ended and the heat increases, water twice a week for 45 minutes per zone (25 minutes for zones that have fan sprayer nozzles). This frequency allows the water to seep deeper into the ground and the surface to dry out between watering cycles, minimizing the chances of turf disease. This method will allow the turf to go dormant but keeps it healthy. If you require a dark green color all season, you’ll need to water much more frequently, but you may experience problems with disease. For best water efficiency, water in the early morning hours before the sun comes up.

Landscape

-Spot spray for weeds in landscape beds.

Lawn Fertilization & Weed Control Service >>

SEPTEMBER

Lawn

-Aerate and seed. Verticut, if necessary, to fill in any bare spots. Laying seed while you aerate maintains soil quality and keeps the lawn thick. Many factors create a beautiful lawn, but annual seeding probably has the single biggest impact on creating a lawn that wows your neighbors. Thick lawns also help prevent weeds. If you have thin or bare areas, something will grow there, and it usually isn’t turfgrass. You just can’t beat the appearance of a thick lawn that doesn’t have thin areas or bare spots.  

-Apply starter fertilizer that also contains a root stimulator.

Lawn Watering

-If you’ve seeded your lawn, follow the instructions for watering after overseeding, which can be found in the link below. 

-If you did not seed your lawn, use the summer watering instructions, but reduce the watering frequency by up to 50% depending on rainfall and current daytime temperatures.

-VERY IMPORTANT: If you use us or another company to mow your lawn, it is very important that you turn off the watering a couple days before each mowing to allow the surface to dry out.  After seeding, the ground will be wet, and the large commercial mowers can easily damage the new grass no matter how careful the operator is. If possible, you can even push-mow the lawn for a couple weeks after it’s been seeded.

Overseeding Service >>

OCTOBER

Lawn

-Blanket spray for broadleaf weeds. Many weeds, including dandelions, germinate in fall.  Spraying for them now will help eliminate them and reduce the number of weeds that grow during the following spring. If you have previously used a 2, 4-D formulation twice in the season, you will need to use a different broadleaf product for this treatment. State regulations prohibit using 2, 4-D as a blanket spray more than twice per year. Alternatively, you can spot spray as many times as you’d like, but the results may not be as good.

Lawn Fertilization & Weed Control Service >>

Lawn Watering

-If you’ve seeded your lawn, follow the instructions for watering after overseeding, which can be found in the link below. 

-If you did not seed your lawn, use the summer watering instructions, but reduce the watering frequency by up to 50% depending on rainfall and current daytime temperatures.

-If rainfall is sparse, consider watering once or twice a week for 10-15 minutes per zone.

Overseeding Service >>

Landscape

-Spot spray for weeds. Trim all shrubs that need it.

Bush Trimming Service >>

NOVEMBER – EARLY DECEMBER

Lawn

-Apply a high nitrogen winterizer fertilizer. This can be done even if there are leaves on the ground because the vast majority of granules will fall right through the leaves. Any granules that stay on top of the leaves will fall once the leaves are disturbed by wind, a mower, a rake, or rinsed off by rain. The leaves will not reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.

-Full leaf cleanup. Remove leaves from turf areas and landscape beds.

 Lawn Watering

-No watering is necessary. Most sprinkler systems will be winterized by early to mid-November.

Final Note

Short of writing several books on the subject, it’s simply not possible to talk about every important detail of great lawn maintenance practices. Your lawn is unique, and no single set of instructions or advice will be able to address the needs of every yard. If you have any questions about your lawn, we’re here for you! Advice is always free, and, if you need someone to do the work, we’re happy to help with that too! 

Brett Jackson

Heartland Turf and Landscape

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