University of Maryland Extension

May Lawn Tips

lawn mower on home lawn

(More tips from HGIC)

  • During periods of rapid growth in the spring, you may need to mow your lawn twice each week. Try not to remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade at each mowing.
  • It’s getting too late to successfully sow grass seed and have it survive the coming hot summer. However, you might be able to repair small bare spots now IF you are diligent about watering the young grass through the summer until well established. See publication (PDF) HG 102 Lawn Establishment, Renovation, and Overseeding for more information.
  • Always mow cool season grasses, like tall fescue and bluegrass, at a height of 3 inches. Mowing the lawn too close weakens the grass and permits many weeds to invade your lawn.
  • Mow zoysiagrass and bermudagrass to a height of 2 -3 inches and fertilize them in July, not in the fall.
  • Keep your mower blades sharp to prevent turf damage. Dry white or tan colored grass blade tips are an indication that the mower blade is dull. Dull mower blades tear turf grass and can lead to disease problems.
  • Leave grass clippings where they lay. Grasscycling eliminates bagging labor and costs, adds organic matter and nitrogen to your soil and does not contribute to thatch build-up.
  • Cool season lawns like fescue and Kentucky bluegrass should have been fertilized in the fall. If you did not do so and your lawn is young or looks weak and thin apply no more than a half pound to 0.9 lbs. of nitrogen per 1000 square feet now.
  • Do not apply fertilizer if a heavy rain event is predicated.
  • Ground ivy, clover, dandelion and other broadleaf weeds are rapidly growing at this time. They can be controlled now with an application of a liquid broadleaf herbicide. Make sure the product is labeled to control target weeds. Apply according to rates listed on label. (PDF) HG 101 Guide to Controlling Weeds in Cool Season Turf has additional information.
  • Small patches of crabgrass can be controlled during the growing season by hand pulling it out by hand or applying a post-emergent herbicide as a spot treatment. Mow high and encourage thick turf.crabgrass
  • Pick up and discard  (PDF) dog droppings from turf areas. The droppings will burn grass plants if left for an extended period of time. Decaying pet waste also contributes to polluting our lakes, streams and the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Mushrooms may be an eyesore but do not damage the lawn. These fungi are feeding on decaying organic matter in the soil, dead tree roots, etc. The fungi can be knocked or kicked apart to help dry them out. They will disappear with a return to dry conditions.mushrooms in turf
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