Guides

Simple Lawn Solutions Detailed Guide

UPDATED FOR 2020

More Info on this Guide

Please be aware that the calendar of suggested applications is designed to guide you in the care and timing of applying fertilizer/soil treatments to your lawn. Location, soil type, health of lawn, and other factors will affect turf performance. With this in mind, the suggested dates and applications are a general guide and may need to be adjusted for your particular situation. I highly suggest a soil test to get a better idea of what should be applied in the future for long term success.

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: Ryan Knorr is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. The products links listed below are affiliate based and I receive a small commission through these links.

Thank you!

1. Soil Testing

Testing your soil will give you the full picture of what nutrients your soil needs and will also provide you with the pH of your soil. Knowing your pH will be key in a plan going forward as there is an optimal range for growing turfgrass.

For more information on how to properly conduct the soil test, watch my video.

To obtain soil lab test information and forms, click the button below.

2. Liquid Fertilizer

When applying liquid fertilizer with Simple Lawn Solutions you have the benefit of feeding the grass plant directly through the leaves. With this in mind it is important that irrigation is completed after application and regularly to your lawn. Many granular fertilizers are coated and therefore break down more slowly over time. With liquids we are applying the fertilizer directly to the plant and the nutrients are taken in quickly but ​must be watered in.

  • One bottle of fertilizer with the ready to use hose end sprayer covers 3200 sq ft.
  • Apply liquids in the early morning before 10am or ​preferably after 4pm​ and into the evening. ​Do not apply liquids during the heat of the day​ as damage can occur to the grass.
  • Allow liquids to sit on the grass blades for an hour or so and then irrigate. This is also why ​applying in the late afternoon/evening works best​ because you can let the liquid sit on the grass overnight without sunlight and when temps are cooler and irrigate as you normally would between 4am-8am.
  • The sprayer is easy to use and you will become very comfortable with it as you practice. Spray the grass evenly and move at a steady pace. It would be better to move faster and have some fertilizer leftover than it would to move slowly and run out of fertilizer before covering your area.
  • In the application calendars I mainly talk about 16-4-8 or 15-0-15. The first number is nitrogen. The second number is phosphorus. The third is potassium. The reason for our soil testing is to better target which one of these products would be best for your lawn. We will always need to provide nitrogen, or that first number, every single season. The second and third numbers (phosphorus and potassium) could be available in your soil and not needed as often depending on your situation. Again, soil tests will be the guide here and if you have not done a soil test yet, I would suggest the balanced formula of 16-4-8 for your lawn.

3. Granular Fertilizer

Liquid fertilizers are fantastic for the quick results they provide, but one thing to note with liquids is that they provide nutrients in doses that are smaller and best applied more often. Because of this there are a couple of key times during the year when you may wish to use granular and I have outlined this in the application calendars. This provides the plant a higher rate of nitrogen than we can provide safely in liquid form, and breaks down a little slower as we continue to provide liquid nutrients and iron in between.

If you want to use an ​all liquid program​ you can apply your liquid ​lawn food every 2 weeks during the growing season​ and follow the application calendar for lawn energizers in between for deep green color with iron. I would plan on lawn food every 4 weeks if you had centipede grass or fine fescues as these need less fertilizer.

Warm Season Application Guide

Click Image to Enlarge
Click Image to Enlarge
Click Image to Enlarge
Click Image to Enlarge

Cool Season Application Guide

Click Image to Enlarge
Click Image to Enlarge
Click Image to Enlarge
Click Image to Enlarge

Application Calendar Notes

If you decide to use granular products like I show in the application calendars, follow these notes below.

For beginners I recommend the Scotts Turf Builder Spreader. I have used it for many years and although it’s not necessarily fancy, it does the job as intended at an affordable price.

Where you see an ​’X’ ​in the application calendar I give you the choice of fertilizer options.

Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food

  • Go to granular option for the price and results are very good
  • This says southern lawn food but it’s just marketing talk – you can apply north or south
  • This should be readily available locally as well

Milorganite

  • Usually you can find cheaper at a local store
  • Breaks down naturally through soil activity and helps to build your soil
  • Great for beginners because if you over-apply, the possible damage to your lawn is extremely low
  • Contains Phosphorus and NO Potassium

Purely Organic Lawn Food

  • Good Organic Option
  • Very similar to Ringer but may be a little cheaper
  • Usually available at Home Depot, Walmart as well
  • Great for beginners because if you over-apply, the possible damage to your lawn is extremely low

If I recommend a specific type of fertilizer for a specific application, I have listed it in the application calendar. ​Synthetic​ is the Scott’s product or another product that’s similar and not organic in nature. These are needed when cooler weather has set in and organic fertilizers are slower to work.

Use the back of the bag for spreader settings on Scotts and Milorganite. These should be accurate and should list the Edgeguard Mini setting on those bags. For Purely Organic I would try a setting around 5.

We want to walk at a steady pace when applying granular and overlap the passes so that you are throwing fertilizer to your previous tire mark. Here’s a little clip about that.

 

It is highly recommended that you ​water in your granular products​ as well!

4. Application Instructions

When it comes to applying products to your lawn you must know the square footage. This can be easily calculated by measuring each section of your lawn and multiplying the length x the width. For example, a small section of my lawn at my house is 17 ft wide by 35 ft long. Multiply those together and we arrive at 595 sq ft. I round this up to 600 just to make it an even number in my head.

  • One of the 32 ounce bottles from Simple Lawn Solutions will cover ​3200 sq ft​ when using the hose end method.
  • When spraying multiple Simple Lawn Products on the same day it would generally work best to spray the ​lawn food first, then the lawn energizer product, and then finally the root hume last before watering these products in. These products are featured in the lawn essentials bundle box.
  • The soil loosener can be applied with these as well but also must be watered in .​5 inches​ to help the product reach the soil layer.
  • Here are the products I mentioned, and a video showing how I applied the liquids to my lawn.

5. Soil Treatment

Root Hume contains humic/fulvic acid which has many benefits for your soil and lawn. This product helps to deliver the nutrients to the plant more efficiently and to improve soil structure over time. If there was one product I would start applying to my lawn more often in addition to just fertilizer, this would be it. For more talk on this check out this video.

 

Apply Root Hume as indicated on the application calendar or every month if you would like. (note: humics and other simple lawn liquids can stain and care should be taken around hard surfaces..wash off the product with clean water immediately if you spray onto a surface that other than the grass)

Soil Loosener is a product that helps water to penetrate hard and crusty soils and also helps with drainage where standing water can be an issue in some areas of a lawn. Irrigation is an extremely important part of lawn care and we use this product to help us use that water more efficiently. This product can be applied at any time and as often as you see fit and ​must be watered in with .5 inches of water.​ One bottle covers 32,000 sq ft. Here’s a video on an experiment I did with soil loosener

Products Used in Application Calendar - Remember you get 5% off ANY product with code ryanknorr

You can find all the products below listed in one place at this link.

6. Mowing

Mowing is one of the most important aspects of a healthy and aesthetically pleasing lawn.  Really, it is! The practice of proper mowing alone can provide amazing results. Each grass type has a proper range as far as what height it should be cut with the mower.  In general, you should try to stay on the tall side of these recommendations with the exception of bermuda and zoysia which do well at low cuts. Cool season lawns can be mowed shorter in the cooler parts of the year but it is recommended to raise the height as heat sets in. I do indeed mow parts of my cool season lawn very short (less than 1 inch) but this takes a higher amount of mowing, fertilizer, and fungicides to accomplish this.

Here’s a general list:

Warm-Season Grasses

  • Bermudagrass: 0.5 to 2.5 inches
  • Centipede: 1 to 3 inches
  • St. Augustine: 1 to 4 inches
  • Zoysia: 0.5 to 3 inches

Cool-Season Grass

  • Fine fescue: 1.5 to 3 inches
  • Kentucky bluegrass: .75 to 3.5 inches
  • Perennial ryegrass: 0.5 to 2.5 inches
  • Tall fescue: 1.5 to 4 inches

Sharpen your mower blades often and only remove ⅓ of the grass blade in a single mowing.  This means you may need to mow more often than you may have in the past. I promise you it will be worth it!

7. Irrigation

This is another piece of lawn care that is extremely important. As I mentioned in the liquid fertilizer section, it becomes even more important when using liquid fertilizers.  These products not only need to be watered in, but irrigation overall needs to continue throughout the season to have the best lawn possible.  Don’t have an irrigation system? No problem!

  • The lawn should be watered deeply and infrequently.  Watering should take place between 4am-8am if possible. 
  • Including rainfall, a lawn usually requires 1-1.5 inches of water per week. This should be spaced apart twice a week at .5-.75 inches per watering.
  •  A good way to test how much water is being put out of your sprinkler is to set out a tuna can while watering and measure how much water falls into the can in a specific amount of time.  This will be your guide for how long to run the sprinklers.

8. Pre-Emergent and Weed Control

Another way to significantly improve a lawn is to use a pre-emergent.  This is a product that mainly prevents crabgrass from germinating but also a few other weeds as well.  It unfortunately does not prevent common broadleaf weeds like dandelions, clover, etc but those can be targeted with a different kind of weed control.  For pre-emergent there are many options but the main thing is to remember it should be applied before soil temperatures reach 55 degrees and can be applied again in the fall when soil temps fall to 70 degrees if you are not overseeding a cool season grass or doing any renovation work.  

Here’s a video showing you how to apply pre-emergent.

Here’s another video with additional details on pre-emergents and products you can use.
For other weeds in the lawn it is hard to give you a general recommendation on what to use other than many local stores will have products that work in your area.  I prefer to target weeds in the lawn by spot spraying (meaning just spraying small areas where I see weeds) and not using a weed and feed product or spraying an entire area that may not have many weeds in it at all.  If you are having weed problems in your lawn, a local extension office is the expert for your area and can usually help. Find your extension office – Click Here

9. Fungus and Insects

Where there’s heat and humidity, there is often fungus. Then there’s those pests that can quickly turn a lawn into a disaster area. There are many products out there and also many different types of fungal diseases and pests.  Again, in this scenario I would do some research on your area and what diseases might be common with your grass type. From there you can make a better decision on the product to use or again, use your local extension office for assistance.
Grub damage can be another common issue in lawns.  A preventative product will work best in spring. This video will give you more info.

Warnings and Disclaimers

All products you apply are applied at your own risk and you must follow label directions for rates and for any safety equipment required.  

Some states have specific laws regarding fertilizer application and times of the year when fertilizer can not be applied. You must follow these laws and are required to read up on your specific state and what is or is not allowed.  

Phosphorus is also another regulated nutrient in some states.  In those states you may only apply it if a soil test says that you need that nutrient.  You must follow these rules and regulations.  

Finally, lawn care takes time and patience!  Each year presents its own set of challenges but that is part of the fun and the challenge of taking care of a living plant that covers your landscape.  Keep your expectations in check and know that things will improve with time and proper maintenance.

THANK YOU

Have fun in the yard, and I hope this guide has been valuable to you!

If you found value in this guide and want to help support me, join my community at patreon.com/ryanknorrlawncare
Back to list

23 thoughts on “Simple Lawn Solutions Detailed Guide

  1. Terry Ford says:

    I had what I call “rust” in my yard last year. You would walk through the yard and your shoes would have a rust color powder on them. I believe these are the spores. It manifested in June. Can you advise as how to control this? Would like to get ahead of it by pre-treating prior to it manifesting. Last year I lowered mower setting, bagged clippings and washed mower. Don’t want a repeat this year. Thanks in advance.

    1. Ryan Knorr says:

      I have had this in my lawn before as well and with minor cases of it, it usually clears up on its own. You could look at a product like Disease Ex to help in severe cases https://amzn.to/2V41ImH

  2. Viktor says:

    Hi Ryan, greetings from Czech Republic
    When you mow the lawn.
    You collect grass clippings in the lawnmowers basket all time?

    1. Ryan Knorr says:

      Most of the time, but you certainly don’t have to.

  3. With COVD 19 giving me an unintentional, temporary 3 month retirement, I am finding your videos and recommendations invaluable for my 32 year old lawn renovation. Where can I but the Peat Moss Spreader?

    1. Ryan Knorr says:

      Glad you are enjoying the videos! You can find the spreader in my store here https://ryanknorrlawncare.com/product/landzie-peat-moss-spreader/

    2. Ryan Knorr says:

      Click on over to the store here on the website and it should be there

  4. Matt says:

    Hi Ryan. Just found your channel. My yard stinks. I’m trying to fix it and just starting. I live in Kentucky. Any help greatly appreciated.

    1. How do i find out for sure what type of grass i have?
    2. I have several bare spots but Already spread my ore emergent granularly about two weeks ago. I can’t seed now correct?
    3. What do you recommend for violets?
    4. My lawn has been neglected for years. What type of fertilizer should i use?

    Thanks for your help. Love the channel.
    4.

    1. Ryan Knorr says:

      1. Do a google search for lawn type in your area and you should get a good idea
      2. No seeding after pre-emergent
      3. Search my channel for “creeping charlie” and you’ll find the product I recommend
      4. Follow the calendars on this guide for what to apply and when

  5. Skip says:

    Love your videos! I have growing wild garlic (or perhaps onion) infestation in my yard. The wild garlic plants in my flower beds are easy to dig up but the ones that are popping up in my lawn are quite numerous and would take a solid day or 2 of work to dig up. Any recommendation on weed control products take control back? Thanks

  6. Jeff says:

    I just dethatched my lawn in Utah and am wondering what the next best course of action would be. My lawn is approximately 6 years old and there was a ton of thatch!

    1. Ryan Knorr says:

      Check out some of the guides on the site here

  7. Jamen L says:

    Hey Ryan, thanks for all the fantastic content. Two questions, if you have a minute:

    1. When overseeding, do you do anything to prevent birds and squirrels from eating the seeds? I thought I saw some burlap in one of your videos.
    2. Do you have any tips for dealing with moss ? Here in Portland, OR it’s a common problem. Dethatching and using things like Moss Out, or other products available at HD never seem to fully solve the problem.

    1. Ryan Knorr says:

      I just simply cover with peat moss and I don’t seem to have issues. For moss, sunlight is obviously important to keep the grass strong and a heavy aeration with grass seed after to get established turf in place is a good strategy. You need something there to compete with the moss.

  8. Jason L says:

    Hello Ryan,
    I am thinking of creating a putting green in my backyard to keep myself and the kids entertained this summer. Two questions:
    1. Will it be hard without a reel mower? I plan to set my rotary lawn mower to the lowest setting and hope that my lawn is level enough to avoid scalping. This brings me to no.2.
    2. I haven’t taken the plunge to buy the lawn leveling tool which you recommended due to the price. Do you have any good alternatives other than a yard rake?

    I live here in Sioux Falls SD so my climate is very similar to yours.

    Keep up the good work sir. You are an inspiration.

    1. Ryan Knorr says:

      Definitely need the reel mower to avoid scalping from my experience unless the ground is very level already. I can’t mow my backyard under 1.75″ without scalping on the rotary but with a reel it can easily get to 3/4″ – For a rake there isn’t a great substitute for that lawnlevel but any rake will work to some extent.

  9. Michael Sawdy says:

    I have over a 11,000 square foot yard. I can’t water that much I am on a well. Is it still possible to use Milorganite and Scott’s turf builder without watering.

    1. Ryan Knorr says:

      Timed appropriately ahead of rainfall, yes.

  10. Chris says:

    we bought a new home and we continue to have standing water because of poor grading and hard soil. Would the liquid aeration help with this?

    1. Ryan Knorr says:

      It may help some of the water to better soak in, but the issue with grading and such will need to be addressed for a long term fix

  11. Alex Freeman says:

    I recently found your YouTube channel and appreciate the content you are publishing! It is helping me work through my yard. We built our home a few years ago and everything was laid on top of clay (here in Indiana). With that said, I am trying to fill in my backyard and my main problem right now is finding the best spot treatment/weed killer that will not kill the grass. Any recommendations?

    1. Ryan Knorr says:

      Yep, I talk about some easy options here https://youtu.be/-l2cBTlsQug

Comments are closed.