Month-to-Month Lawn Care Guide for Kansas

gardener watering lawn over an image of kansas state capital building

If you’re struggling to keep your lawn thick and green month after month in the ever-changing Kansas weather, you’re not alone. Between scorching summers and icy winters, maintaining a picture-perfect lawn in Kansas can feel like a never-ending battle. 

Luckily, we’ve got your back with this month-to-month lawn care guide tailored for the Sunflower State. From tackling those pesky weeds in the spring to keeping your grass hydrated through long summer days and prepping for the winter chill, discover all of the tips and tricks you need to keep your lawn looking its best year-round.

Lawn Care in Kansas

Transforming your outdoor space and maintaining a healthy lawn in Kansas requires attention and an understanding of our climate. Each month presents challenges, so it’s essential to follow some practical tips and tricks when dealing with drought, weeds, or heat stress.

When to Mow Your Lawn

person mowing a lawn
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As the last traces of winter disappear and spring draws closer, you may wonder when is the best time to break out the lawn mower. Unfortunately, things aren’t as cut-and-dry in Kansas as in other parts of the country, and lawn care may feel like a bit of a guessing game.

Here are some simple mowing rules for a healthy lawn:

  • Mow a dry lawn. Dry grass is less brittle and sticks up straight, so it’s easier to cut and clumps less.
  • Vary your mowing pattern. Repetition can cause your grass to lean in the direction you mow, so shake things up by mowing in a different direction every time.
  • Don’t set a strict schedule. Rather, mow as often as needed for your grass type, growing conditions, and season. 
  • Don’t leave clippings on the grass. While a small amount is recommended for fertilizing purposes, too much will cut off sunlight.
  • Don’t mow in the heat. It will put stress on the grass and yourself. Instead, mow in the morning or early evening. 
  • Never remove more than one-third of the grass blade. This allows enough surface area for photosynthesis and moisture retention. Scalping (cutting your grass too short) can harm your grass in several ways. 

Pro tip: We recommend starting with a higher mower setting and gradually lowering the height until you reach two to three inches or the recommended height for your grass type.

Spring (March to May)

Once soil temperatures reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit, around late March or early April, cool-season grasses start to come out of dormancy and green up. When your grass reaches 3 to 4 inches, begin mowing and increase the frequency as your grass grows. Aim for a regular mowing schedule to avoid problems and promote a dense lawn.

Summer (June to August)

Warm-season grasses grow most vigorously in the summer until early fall, from July to September.  Let your grass reach 3 to 4 inches before giving it that first trim. Continue cutting your grass as needed, especially if the temperatures are warm and there’s natural precipitation. 

Pro tip: During the hottest months, adjust your lawn mower to a taller height to help your grass retain moisture and withstand heat stress.

Fall (September to November)

Keep up with your regular mowing, but monitor grass growth. As growth slows, your lawn won’t need cuts as frequently. Gradually lower the mowing height to prepare your grass for winter dormancy. Around November, you’ll find that you only need to mow your lawn occasionally, eventually stopping altogether as winter sets in.

Winter (December to February)

Grasses go dormant in Kansas in the winter. With grass growth halting, you can stop mowing your Kansas lawn. However, keep an eye on the weather. Short spurts of warmer weather can activate sporadic growth.

Preventative Weed Control

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Weeds are an ongoing problem in Kansas, which is why employing preventative weed control strategies is a good idea. Whether you choose the post-emergent or pre-emergent approach, both practices can effectively eradicate and prevent common Kansas weeds like:

  • Thistle 
  • Crabgrass
  • Nutsedge
  • Spurge
  • Dandelions
  • Clover
  • Chickweed
  • Henbit

Proper lawn maintenance can also prevent weeds in your yard. These tasks include regular fertilization for healthy grass growth, watering at the right time to maintain optimal soil moisture, overseeding to fill in thin areas and discourage weeds from pushing through, and staying vigilant when it comes to weed control.

Post-Emergent Herbicides (April to June)

Post-emergent herbicides control weeds that have germinated and emerged from the soil. Unlike pre-emergent herbicides, which prevent weeds from sprouting, post-emergent options eliminate actively growing weeds. 

Many homeowners use post-emergents to manage weed infestations in lawns, gardens, agricultural fields, and other landscapes. Apply post-emergent herbicides between late April and early June. Timing can vary depending on the type of weeds you’re targeting and the weather conditions.

Pre-Emergent Herbicides (February to April)

Pre-emergent herbicides inhibit seed cell division and stop weed growth. They keep weeds from emerging by depriving the weed seeds of essential nutrients and creating a chemical barrier in the top layer of the soil, preventing root development.

Apply pre-emergent herbicides between February and early April, before weeds germinate. Aim to spread your fertilizer when temperatures are around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lawn Pest Control

Worker spraying pesticide on green lawn
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Homeowners and gardeners in Kansas can attest to the challenges that pest control presents. Understanding the pests that call our area home, their behaviors, and the steps necessary to keep them at bay can work wonders for your backyard oasis.

In Kansas, you may encounter any of the following pests on your lawn:

Ants (May through September)

closeup image of an ant
Photo Credit: Pxhere

Ants are very common pests, terrorizing homeowners across the nation. They’re small, skinny bugs with six legs and antennae. While they won’t damage your grass, they can leave your yard covered in dirt, making many lawn chores challenging. 

They can also invade your home and bite you, your family, and your pets. This is especially true (and painful) if you’re dealing with fire ants, making walking around your yard unpleasant. Watch for ants during their active seasons and implement an elimination and control plan at the first sign of an infestation

Preferred grass type: Tall, dense grass, including bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass

Active months: Late spring to early fall (May through September)

Billbugs (May through August)

A close up of a billbug
Photo Credit: Joseph Berger / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Billbugs are small weevils or beetles that threaten turfgrass and landscape plants. They have elongated snouts and an oval-shaped body that reaches 0.5 inches in length. These invaders feed on grassroots and plants, and they’re not concerned about whether you have warm-season or cool-season grass

Although the adults can pull their weight, it’s the grub larvae that can decimate your lawn. They tunnel through the soil and greedily consume any roots they find, destroying your vegetation in one fell swoop. The best methods to control billbugs include proper fertilization and watering, thatch management, and routine mowing.  

  • Preferred grass type: All turfgrass roots
  • Active months: Late spring to late summer (May through August)

Chinch Bugs (May through October)

close-up photo of chinch bug
Photo Credit: Christina Butler / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Chinch bugs are tiny, sap-loving insects that can cause costly damage to your lawn. They prefer warm-season varieties. Chinch bugs are difficult to spot, being less than 0.25 inches in size. While red in adolescence, they turn black and develop white wings on their backs in adulthood.

Chinch bugs infest thatch layers but can also be found on grass leaves when populations are large. They prefer hot, sunny, dry environments and typically gather near paved areas like sidewalks and driveways. Proper lawn care coupled with chemical pesticide applications are the best methods for eliminating chinch bugs

  • Preferred grass type: Warm-season grass, especially St. Augustine
  • Active months: Late spring to early fall (May through October)

Cutworms (April through July)

Cutworm sitting
Photo Credit: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab / Flickr / Public Domain

Cutworms are caterpillars that cut through the stems of young plants at ground level, causing the plants to wilt and collapse. They attack anything from ornamental plants to vegetables and crops. Cutworms are generally smooth and soft-bodied, with varying colors and patterns.

These insects are night feeders, typically hiding in the soil during the day. They can produce multiple generations a year (typically two to six), but spring is when they cause the most damage. Eliminate cutworms with chemical pesticides. For localized infestations on landscape plants, hand removal is also an option. 

  • Preferred grass type: Perennial ryegrass, bentgrass, or annual bluegrass
  • Active months: Early spring to mid-summer (April through July)

Grubs (May through September)

white grub laying on soil
Photo Credit: Patty O’Hearn Kickham / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Also known as white grubs, these c-shaped insects are legless, have soft bodies, and can significantly damage your lawn. Grubs are the larvae form of various beetle-type insects, including: 

  • Japanese beetles
  • Masked chafers
  • European chafers
  • Billbugs
  • June bugs

Grubs can be identified by their rastral pattern or the arrangement of spines around their anal opening. After being laid in the ground as eggs, they hatch into larvae and feed until they transform into pupa. 

These pests exist in various habitats, including soil, decaying organic matter, and plant roots. While some grubs play essential roles in ecosystems by aiding in decomposition and nutrient cycling, others can negatively impact lawn care and agricultural practices. The best elimination and prevention plan for grubs includes routine lawn maintenance line aeration, dethatching, and proper drainage.

  • Preferred grass type: All turfgrass
  • Active months: Late spring to early fall (May through September)

Sod Webworms (May through September)

A close up of a sob webworm
Photo Credit: Judy Gallagher / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Sod webworms are the larvae of small moths. They’re usually around an inch long and have cylindrical, smooth bodies. These insects get their name from the silky tunnels they carve on lawns, golf courses, and other turfgrass areas. 

Sod webworms attack grass leaves and stems and tend to pop up May to September. They typically infest grass species such as Kentucky bluegrass, fescue varieties, bermudagrass, and perennial ryegrass. 

Due to our humid summers, sod webworms can become a serious problem. Get rid of sod webworms by implementing nematodes, using insecticides, or dethatching. 

  • Preferred grass type: Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, tall fescue, bermudagrass, and perennial ryegrass
  • Active months: Late spring to early fall (May through September)

Ticks (April through September)

Dog Tick
Photo Credit: Jerry Kirkhart / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Ticks are minuscule pests that feed on blood and transmit diseases. They have tiny, flat, oval-shaped bodies and eight legs. After feeding, ticks can grow as much as ½ inch.

These insects can spread Lyme disease, tularemia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, among other illnesses. In humans, these diseases can wreak havoc on the body and lead to lifelong health problems. Control ticks with preventative pest control, nematodes, and diatomaceous earth.

  • Preferred grass type: Tall grass, dense vegetation, and humid environments
  • Active months: Early spring to early fall (April through September)

When to Water Your Lawn

water coming out of a sprinkler system in a lawn
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Most grasses need between 1 inch and 1.5 inches of water per week during the growing season. Consider current weather conditions, your grass type, and your soil type. However,  as a general rule, you can start irrigation in late spring or early summer.

The best time of day to water your grass is in the morning between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. when conditions are less windy, sunlight is less intense, and evaporation is less likely. Early morning irrigation allows the water to penetrate the soil and reach the roots. It also gives the water left on the foliage time to dry, which reduces the risk of fungal lawn diseases.

Pro tip: We recommend deep, infrequent watering to stimulate deep root growth, contributing to your lawn’s overall health and drought resistance.

Spring (March to May)

It is important to monitor your grass and water as soon as you notice your grass hit its spring green-up. Watch for signs it is time to water like a change in color or dry, crumbly soil. In Kansas, supplemental spring irrigation is typically not necessary. 

Be careful not to overwater which can cause a host of problems, including root rot, weeds, fungal diseases, and pests. When rain is not forecasted, aim to water three times per week for 20 minutes a session.  

Summer (June to August)

Warm-season grasses grow best in temperatures between 80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, so do your best to provide adequate moisture during the summer. Give your warm-season grass between half an inch and 1 inch of water per week, watering deeply each time. 

Many cool-season grasses will enter dormancy during Kansas’ summers but will green up again in the fall. 

Fall (September to November)

Continue applying around 1 inch of water per week until you notice signs of dormancy, frost, or consistent cool temperatures. Let the state of your grass guide you to the best time to stop watering your lawn. When in doubt, contact a professional to help you make the best decision.

Soil Type

person testing the soil quality
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Kansas has a diverse landscape with different soil types, including clay, sand, silt, and loam. Each retains and drains water differently, but loam is considered the healthiest, most fertile type and is a balanced mixture of all the other types.

  • Clay soils are commonly found in Eastern Kansas. They are compact and hold water well. To avoid runoff and pooling, watering sessions should be shorter — around 15 minutes. 
  • Sand absorbs water well but drains quickly, thanks to larger particles. They’re typically found in Western and Southwestern Kansas and require watering three times per week.
  • Silty is prone to erosion, so you must be careful not to overwater. This variety is predominantly found around rivers and streams and sits between clay and sand. Silty soil should be watered twice a week. 
  • Loam can be found in various parts of Kansas. It combines sand’s drainage qualities with clay’s water retention qualities. Lawns with loamy soil need to be watered around twice per week. 

Pro tip: If you don’t know your soil type, get a soil test with your local extension office. It will tell you the texture of your soil and what amendments can improve it. 

When to Fertilize Your Lawn

Fertilizer for grass, lawn, meadow in a bag of white granules on a background of green grass
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Keeping your lawn looking green and fresh can be tricky, especially when it’s exposed to changing temperatures, lawn diseases, pests, and weeds. One way to help your lawn stay healthy is to fertilize it according to its needs to increase nutrients, promote growth, and prevent weeds. 

Some signs it is time to fertilize your lawn in Kansas are:

  • Discoloration
  • Wilting
  • Thinning
  • Sluggish grass growth
  • Dead patches

Aim to feed your lawn two to four times a year. As soon as the seasons change and spring rolls around, perform your first fertilization. After that, fertilize based on your grass type and stick to the recommended schedule. The best time of day to apply fertilizer is in the morning or early evening

It’s important to note that nutrient deficiencies may not be the primary cause of lawn problems (though it’s often the case). Diseases, pests, weeds, and a lack of water can all lead to a less-than-spectacular lawn. In general, follow this recommended fertilization schedule in Kansas:

Grass CategoryGrass TypesRecommended Fertilization Schedule
Cool-SeasonFine Fescue
Kentucky Bluegrass
Perennial Ryegrass
Tall Fescue
1st Round: April
2nd Round: September
3rd Round: October
Warm-SeasonBahiagrass
Bermudagrass
Buffalograss
Zoysiagrass
Centipedegrass
St. Augustinegrass
1st Round: April
2nd Round: June
3rd Round: September

When to Aerate Your Lawn

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If your lawn gets heavy foot traffic, such as kids or pets running and playing in the same spot, your soil may become compacted and block grass growth. Aerating in the spring will allow existing grass to push through and grow thick by summer. The following techniques are the most common:

  1. Core aeration involves removing small plugs of soil from the ground and spreading them across the lawn’s surface. The great thing about core aeration is that it breaks up and redistributes compacted soil, promoting root growth and nutrient, water, and air absorption.
  1. Spike aeration creates holes in the lawn, but unlike core aeration, no soil is removed. Instead, the dirt is pushed into the ground. Spike aeration is recommended when you want to create better access to the root system before fertilization or overseeding.
  1. Liquid aeration involves using a special liquid solution. The product is mixed with water and spread evenly across the yard using a garden pump sprayer or a hose-end attachment. Its ingredients stimulate microbes and break down dense and compact soil. However, the effectiveness of liquid aeration is debatable.

Pro tip: Wait until May or June, when most weeds have already germinated, to aerate your lawn in Kansas. Otherwise, wait until the fall to aerate your lawn and provide support for the upcoming winter months. 

When to Overseed Your Lawn

Close-up of person pouring grass seed out of their hand
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

If your Kansas lawn isn’t what it used to be due to dog spots, heavy traffic, or negligence, a fresh application of seed — or overseeding — can return it to its former green glory. This process can bolster thinning, struggling lawns to help them grow thicker and healthier. 

In Kansas, overseeding is typically done in the fall, from late August to early or mid-October. The cooler temperatures and increased moisture levels support healthy seed germination and root growth before winter dormancy. Plus, there’s less competition from weeds in the fall, giving newly seeded grass a better chance to establish without interference and nutrient loss.

Pro tip: Use overseeding to introduce new grass seed varieties into your lawn. Check out our article on the best grasses for Kansas to help you decide what variety will work best for you.

FAQ About Kansas Lawn Care

What are some of the biggest lawn care mistakes to avoid?

If you’re a homeowner, you’re likely eager to care for your lawn, but there are some things you should know before you start: 

  • Don’t leave too many grass clippings on your lawn.
  • The best time for aeration and seeding is during the growing season.
  • Don’t cut your grass with dull lawn mower blades.
  • Don’t over- or under-water your turf.
  • Don’t forget to fertilize. 

How can I keep my pet from damaging my lawn?

If your dog regularly goes to the bathroom on your lawn, chances are you’re extremely frustrated with the brown spots left behind. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do, as dog urine contains high levels of nitrates that burn grass. 

Aside from training your pet to only go to one area, you can seek medical help. Veterinarians offer medicines that reduce the amount of salt in animals’ urine.

Will lawn fungus go away on its own?

No, fungal diseases will not go away on their own. In most cases, the disease will kill the entire lawn without proper treatment. Using fungicides early on is the only way to eradicate diseases and save your lawn.

Proper Lawn Care Pays Off

Performing some outdoor tasks will go a long way toward establishing a picture-perfect lawn year-round. But we understand that lawn care isn’t for everyone. You may be busy juggling dozens of responsibilities and simply don’t have the time, resources, or energy to perform quality lawn maintenance. 

In that case, hire a local LawnStarter Pro to give you a show-stopping lawn without you lifting a finger. You’ll leave your neighbors green with envy and enjoy all of the benefits a healthy lawn has to offer.

Main Image Credits:
Background: pabradystudio / Canva Pro / License
Gardener watering lawn: welcomia / Canva Pro / License

Andie Ioo

Andie Ioo

In my free time, I enjoy traveling with my husband, sports, trying out new recipes, reading, and watching reruns of '90s TV shows. As a way to relax and decompress, I enjoy landscaping around my little yard and DIY home projects.