Q: Is there a place where I can find out how to best care for my lawn all year long?

A: In our last column, there was a fungus among us. I hope you caught our “fighting the fungi” tips for lawns. Your question today has saved readers from the sequel. (Return of the fungi? Revenge of the fungi? Rise of the fungi?) Instead, at your request, here is a year’s lawn care schedule for Mobile’s St. Augustine, Zoysia and Bermuda lawns by James Miles, regional extension agent.

Before we begin, let’s practice our Master Gardener mantra. Click your heels three times and repeat: Get a soil test and use the results … identify, target, apply only if needed … follow label directions. We may not get to Oz this way, but we can have a healthier garden, not to mention a healthier earth.

February
• Apply pre-emergent herbicide as needed.

April
• Aerate compacted soils.
• Begin regular mowing (once every five days if clippings are left on the lawn, once every seven days if clippings are removed).
• Generally, do not remove more than 1/3 of grass blades per mowing; mow St. Augustine grass at 3 to 4 inches and all other grasses as low as you can go.
• Begin weekly irrigation, as needed.
• Wet soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.
• Irrigate between the hours of 2 a.m. and 10 a.m.
• Continue irrigation as needed until grass is dormant for winter.
• Map Mole Cricket activity for future treatments.
• Fertilize with 24-6-12* at four pounds per 1,000 square feet or according to soil test results.
• Treat for fire ants as needed.

May
• Watch for spittle bugs and chinch bugs and treat if needed.
• Apply ammonium nitrate if more growth is desired, at three lbs. per 1,000 square feet.

June
• Apply pre-emergence herbicide if needed.
• Apply post-emergence herbicide if needed.
• Fertilize with 24-6-12* at four pounds lbs. per 1,000 square feet or according to soil test results.
• Continue to watch for spittle bugs and chinch bugs and treat if needed.

July
• Treat for mole crickets in the areas mapped in April if needed.
• Apply ammonium nitrate if more growth is desired, at three pounds per 1,000 square feet.
• Continue to watch for spittle bugs and chinch bugs and treat if needed.

August
• Fertilize with 24-6-12* at four pounds per 1,000 square feet or according to soil test results.
• Continue to treat for mole crickets in the areas mapped in April if needed.

September
• Winterize weak turf with 5-5-25* at four lbs. per 1,000 square feet or equivalent.
• Treat for fire ants if needed

October
• Apply pre-emergence herbicide if needed.
• Overseeding with rye grass is not recommended.
• Do not use pre-emergence herbicide if overseeding.

November
• Get a soil test.

December
• Lime according to soil test.   

*For centipede lawns, fertilize only in May or not at all. Centipede doesn’t have a hefty appetite and can easily be overfed.

So there you have it, a full year of yard work just waiting for you. And for a full weekend of reading on how to have a gorgeous lawn, go to the extension website: www.aces.edu/pubs/docs and type your question into the search box.

Email us your questions at [email protected] or call toll-free 1-877-252-4769, the Master Gardener Helpline answered by Mobile and Baldwin County Master Gardener volunteers.