Extension Logo
Extension Logo
University of Minnesota Extension

Lawn care calendar

Minnesota lawns of cool season turfgrasses bear the stress of changing weather and can survive harsh winters.

illustration of progress of grass growing through each month of the year with green lines at rising and falling heights on the top of the image and white roots on a brown background at varying depths to show root development through the year
Cool season turf grass growth cycle

These grasses endure throughout the seasons because they grow rapidly during spring and fall when temperatures are cool and then become inactive during the heat and drought of summer.

A sustainable lawn care routine should support this natural life cycle of cool season grasses.

Seasonal plant growth cycle

In early spring, roots are long and full of nutrients stored from the fall. Shoots, the part of grass visible above ground, use this stored energy for growth.

In warm summer temperatures, leaf and root growth slow down. Plants rest during times of heat and drought. Roots can be damaged when soil temperatures are above 85°F.

In the fall months shoots start to grow again and nutrients are stored in the long roots for the winter. Optimal shoot growth occurs with air temperatures of 55 to 75°F.

Cool-season root growth is stimulated by soil temperatures above 32°F, and is optimal with soil temperatures between 50 and 65°F. 

When to schedule lawn maintenance

It is important to schedule your lawn care maintenance during times that match the life cycle of the turfgrass.

Things to avoid:

  • Do not add fertilizer too early in the spring. This may encourage the grass to grow during a time when it should be slow or dormant.
  • Do not spray to control weeds when temperatures are warm. This increases the likelihood of damaging the lawn.
  • Do not fertilize in hot mid-summer months. This can cause irreversible damage to your lawn.
  • Crabgrass doesn't develop until late spring or early summer, so don't apply herbicide used to prevent pre-emerging crabgrass in the fall.


Minnesota lawn care calendar

What to do Best time to do it Okay time to do it
Mowing Last week of April through early November
Crabgrass control Pre-emergence: Mid April to mid May, before crabgrass comes out of the ground Post-emergence: Mid May to early July, apply to small, visible crabgrass
Sodding Early May through June; mid August to late October Late June to 2nd week of August
Watering May through late October
Seeding Early August to late September; Mid November May through early June
Fertilizing Early August through mid October May through late June
Aerating Mid August through mid October Late April through May
Dethatching Mid August through September
Broadleaf weed control September through late October May through late June

Reviewed in 2018

Share this page:

© 2019 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.