9 Biggest Lawn Care Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Woman with rubber boots pressing down on garden fork to aerate lawn
When it comes to aerating, many tools can do the job. Just do the job! (DepositPhotos)

6. Not Aerating

Aeration is one of the most important steps to maintaining healthy lawns — and not doing so is one of the biggest lawn care mistakes. Aerating involves poking holes into the soil, so the lawn can more easily absorb water, fertilizer and amendments, such as peat moss.

If you’ve got a small lawn, you can use a manual aerator, which is a spiked tool that you stomp into the ground to create a series of holes.

Otherwise, rent a power aerator, which is a walk-behind gas-powered machine that can punch thousands of holes in a matter of minutes.

Just make sure you don’t damage any buried irrigation lines or cables.

Woman sprinkling fertilizer over her lawn
Fertilize, but do strategically for your specific region. (DepositPhotos)

7. Improper Fertilizing

While most homeowners know it’s important to fertilize a lawn, few do it correctly. Applying the wrong fertilizer or applying too much fertilizer can do more harm than good.

It’s difficult to give specific recommendations for fertilizing because so much depends upon the type of grass and region of the country. (Check with a local landscaper for specific recommendations.)

However, here’s an annual maintenance schedule that’s appropriate for most parts of the country:    

March-April: If crabgrass is present, use a crabgrass preventive agent combined with a slow-release lawn fertilizer. However, don’t apply it until the grass is green and has been mowed a couple of times.

May-June: Apply a slow-release lawn fertilizer, if you didn’t do so in the spring. Treat dandelions and other broadleaf weeds with a dual-function “weed and feed” product.

July-August: Inspect lawn for insect pests. If necessary, apply a grub-control agent.

September-October: Apply a fall fertilizer to strengthen the lawn and repair summer damage. Treat bare spots with an all-in-one lawn repair mix that contains grass seed, mulch, and a quick-start fertilizer.

And if you’re only going to fertilize your lawn once a year, do it in the fall. Grass leaves grow much more slowly as the weather cools, but the grass roots and rhizomes continue to grow strong. (Rhizomes are the horizontal plant stems that lie just beneath the soil’s surface; they produce the blades of grass above and the roots below.)

Sprinkler watering a lawn
Watering is good for grass, but all good things in moderation! (DepositPhotos)

8. Over-Watering

Water is vital to growing a healthy lawn, but over-watering can be just as destructive as watering too little, so it’s one of the biggest lawn care mistakes.

If you water too frequently, the grass will fail to develop deep roots because there’s no need for it to reach deep down into the soil to find moisture.

Watering correctly allows the grass to grow deep roots, creating a lawn that’s much stronger, healthier and better equipped to survive drought conditions.

Generally, most lawns require about an inch of water per week, but that varies widely based on weather, soil conditions and grass species.

For more specific information, contact a local nursery or landscaper.

leaves lying on poorly maintained lawn during the fall
Leaves will fall — don’t just leave them there. (DepositPhotos)

9. Not Raking Leaves

No one enjoys raking, but it’s important to remove leaves from the lawn shortly after they’ve fallen from the trees.

If you wait until all the leaves have fallen or even worse, fail to remove them at all, the leaves will stick together and form an impenetrable mat, which can kill the grass and breed fungal diseases.

If you know someone making these lawn care mistakes, hit the share button!

Further Reading


  1. You say to dethatch my lawn, but not how or what to use. Is it an easy tool to buy, or bigger and rentable?


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