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Landscape Maintenance Schedule

The following maintenance schedule is a checklist with the emphasis on prevention rather than remediation.

 

January

  • If precipitation has been deficient (1” of snow = ~1/10” of water), water lawns, trees, and shrubs, especially broadleaf and narrowleaf evergreens. Double check moisture in protected or raised planters and beds under eaves.
  • Check on supplies of pesticides. Pesticides should be stored under non-freezing, ventilated, secured conditions. Check for leaks. Secure a copy of current recommendations and post them in a convenient place. Use only as per the original label or updated law. Dilution and quantity tables also are useful. Commercial applicators and other green industry professionals need to have label and MSDS accessible to employees.
  • If you did not treat young pines for tip borers in November, do so before March. (EPP-7645)
  • Check that gardening tools and equipment are in good repair—sharpen, paint, and repair mowers, edgers, sprayers, and dusters.
  • Make sure gardening tools and equipment are in good repair—sharpen, paint and repair hand tools, mowers, edgers, sprayers, etc.
  • Inspect your irrigation system and replace worn or broken parts. (HLA-6615)
  • Control overwintering insects on deciduous trees or shrubs with dormant oil sprays applied when the temperature is above 40oF in late fall and winter. Do not use “dormant” oils on evergreens. (EPP-7306)
  • A product containing glyphosate plus a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide that are both labeled for this use can be used on completely tan and dormant Bermudagrass in January or early February when temperatures are above 50 F for winter weed control. (HLA-6420)
  • Apply first pre-emergent summer annual herbicide to turf areas from January to mid-March.

 

February

  • Base any fertilizer application on a soil test. For directions, contact your local OSU Extension educator.
  • Fertilize ornamental trees and shrubs as needed based on soil tests. (HLA-6412)
  • Finish pruning shade trees, summer flowering shrubs, and hedges. Spring blooming shrubs such as forsythia may be pruned immediately after flowering. (HLA-6409)
  • Most bare-root trees and shrubs should be planted in February or early-March. (HLA-6414)
  • Pre-emergent herbicides labeled for landscape beds, such as shrub borders and perennial beds, can be applied at this time to control summer annual weeds.
  • Apply first pre-emergent summer annual herbicide to turf areas from February to mid-March.
  • Dormant oil can still be applied to control mites, galls, overwintering aphids, etc. (EPP-7306)
  • A product containing glyphosate plus a broadleaf herbicide can be used on completely tan and dormant Bermudagrass in January or early February when temperatures are above 50 F for winter weed control. (HLA-6420)
  • Place Nantucket pine tip moth pheromone traps by March 1.
  • Pre-emergent crabgrass control chemicals can still be applied to cool and warm season turfgrasses (HLA-6420). Heed label cautions when using any weed killers near or in the root zone of desirable plantings.

 

March

  • Prepare lawn mower; install clean filters, check or change oil, sharpen blade and check air pressure in tires.
  • Cultivate annual flower beds to destroy winter weeds.
  • Broadleaf evergreens are best planted in the spring. (HLA-6414)
  • Apply organic mulch to control weeds in beds.
  • Remove excessive thatch from warm season lawns. Dethatching, if necessary, should precede crabgrass control treatment. (HLA-6604)
  • March is the second best time of the year to seed cool-season turfgrass; however, fall is the best time to plant. (HLA-6419)
  • Cool-season lawns such as bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass may be fertilized now with the first application of the season. Usually, four applications of fertilizer are required per year, in March, May, October, and November. Do not fertilize these cool-season grasses in summer months. (HLA-6420)
  • Broadleaf weeds can easily be controlled in cool-season lawns at this time with post-emergent broadleaf herbicides. (HLA-6420)
  • Begin mowing cool season grasses at 1 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches high. (HLA-6420)
  • Chemical and physical control of galls (swellings) on stems and foliage of trees should begin now. (EPP-7168 & EPP-7306)
  • Dormant oil can still be applied to control mites, galls, overwintering aphids, etc. (EPP-7306)
  • The first generation of Nantucket pine tip moth appears at this time. Begin pesticide applications in late March based on pheremone catches. (EPP-7306)
  • Control of anthracnose on sycamore, maple and oak and other leaf diseases of ornamental shrubs and trees should begin at bud swell. (EPP-7634)
  • Prune roses just before growth starts and begin a regular disease spray program as the foliage appears. Check with garden center personnel for roses that few to no chemical applications. (HLA-6403 & EPP-7607)
  • Divide and replant summer- and fall-blooming perennials. Mow or cut back old liriope (also known as monkey grass) and other ornamental grass foliage.
  • Be sure to read and follow all pesticide label directions, especially insecticides to help reduce loss of important insects such as pollinators and beneficial insects.

 

April

  • Control cedar-apple rust. When the orange jelly galls are visible on juniper (cedar), begin treating apple and crabapple trees with a fungicide. Treat hawthorns accordingly. (EPP-7611)
  • Fire blight bacterial disease can be controlled at this time. Use plant disease-resistant varieties when possible. 
  • Diplodia tip blight fungicide applications should be applied at bud break.
  • Control of powdery mildew disease can be done with early detection and regular fungicide treatments. Many new plant cultivars are resistant. (EPP-7617)
  • Most bedding plants, summer flowering bulbs and annual flower seeds can be planted after danger of frost. This happens around mid-April in most of Oklahoma.
  • Let spring flowering bulb (daffodil, tulip, etc.) foliage remain as long as possible before removing it.
  • Fungicides for leaf spot diseases of ornamentals can be applied.
  • Warm-season grass lawns, such as Bermudagrass, zoysiagrass or, in southern Oklahoma, St. Augustinegrass can be established beginning in mid-April from sprigs, plugs or sod. (HLA-6419)
  • Warm-season grasses can be fertilized three to five times per season using one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in each application. Apply one-half to one pound in April, May, June, August and September for a moderate- to high-quality lawn. Water in fertilizers. (HLA-6420)
  • Mowing of warm-season lawns can begin now. Cutting height for bermuda and zoysia should be 1 to 1 1/2 inches high. Mow buffalo at 3 inches high. (HLA-6420)
  • Damage from spring dead spot disease (SDS) becomes visible in bermudagrass. Perform practices that promote grass recovery. Do not spray fungicides at this time for SDS control. (EPP-7665)
  • Apply preventative white grub treatments from late April to early June.
  • Be alert for both insect pests and predators. Some pests can be hand-picked or removed with strong streams of water without using a pesticide. Do not spray pesticides if predators such as lady beetles are present. Spray only when there are too few predators to be effective.
  • Remove any winter-damaged branches or plants that have not begun to grow by late April. (HLA-6404)
  • Clean out water garden and prepare for season. Divide and repot water garden plants.
  • Begin feeding fish when water temperatures are over 50 F.
  • Nutsedge plants can become visible during this month, but wait until May for treatment.

 

May

  • Insect Alert: (EPP-7306)
    • Bagworms on juniper, arborvitae and other trees and shrubs. (Late May)
    • Elm leaf beetles and larvae on elms and zelkova. (Late May)
    • Mimosa webworms on mimosa and honeylocust.
    • Lace bugs on sycamore, pyracantha and azalea.
  • Apply preventative white grub treatments from late April to early June
  • Pine needle disease treatments are needed in mid-May. 
  • Cool-season lawns can be fertilized again. If you did not fertilize cool-season grasses in March and April, do so now.
  • Warm-season lawns may be fertilized again in May. (HLA-6420)
  • Seeding of warm-season grasses such as Bermudagrass, buffalograss, zoysiagrass and centipedegrass is best performed in mid-May through the end of June. Soil temperatures are warm enough for germination and an adequate growing season left to promote winter hardiness.
  • A simple irrigation checkup may reduce outdoor water use by helping identify problems with your irrigation system. (HLA-6615)
  • Dollar spot disease of lawns can first become visible in late April to mid-May. Make certain fertilizer applications have been adequate before ever applying a fungicide. (EPP-7658)
  • Post-emergent nutsedge treatments are best applied for the first time this month (HLA-6420). Make certain warm-season grasses have completed green-up.
  • The second application of pre-emergent annual grass herbicides can be applied in mid-May or early June, depending on timing of first application. Check label for details. (HLA-6420)
  • Vegetative establishment of warm-season grasses can continue. (HLA-6419)
  • Annual bedding plants can be set out for summer color.
  • Soak new transplants and newly planted trees and shrubs unless rainfall is abundant.

 

June

  • Vigorous, unwanted limbs should be removed or shortened on new trees. Watch for forks in the main trunk and remove the least desirable leader as soon as it is noticed. (HLA-6415)
  • Remain alert for insect damage. Spider mites begin to appear. Spider mite damage includes foliage of most plants becomes pale and speckled; juniper foliage turns a pale yellowish color. Shake a branch over white paper and watch for tiny specks that crawl. Watch for first generation of fall webworm. (EPP-7306)
  • Apply preventative white grub treatments from late April to early June.
  • Pine needle disease treatments are needed again in mid-June. 
  • Cultivate and mulch. Mulching will reduce about 70% of the summer yard maintenance.
  • Fertilize warm season grasses as per April instructions.
  • Dollar spot disease of lawns can continue in June. Make certain fertilizer applications have been adequate before applying a fungicide. (EPP-7658)
  • Seeding of warm-season grasses should be completed by the end of June to reduce winter kill losses. (HLA-6419)
  • Brown patch disease of cool-season grasses can start to become a problem, avoid over watering these grasses. (HLA-6420)
  • Meet water requirements of turf. (HLA-6420)
  • Post-emergent control of crabgrass and summer annual grasses is best performed on young plants. (HLA-6420)
  • Conduct the simple irrigation audit in your home lawn. This simple procedure may save you money, keep plants healthier and help conserve Oklahoma water resources. (HLA-6610)
  • Post-emergent control of crabgrass and summer annual grasses is best performed on young plants. (HLA-6420)
  • Aerification of warm-season grasses like Bermudagrass should be done in summer months if needed to control compaction.
  • Continue to water deeply as needed. Apply at least one inch of water each time.
  • Softwood cuttings from new growth of many shrubs or herbaceous plants will root if propagated in a moist, shady spot.

 

July

  • Divide and replant crowded hybrid iris (bearded iris) and other summer blooming perennials after flowering until August.
  • Apply white grub treatments from late June to mid-July if needed.
  • Expect some leaf fall, a normal reaction to drought. Water young plantings well.
  • Mowing heights for cool-season turfgrasses should be 3 inches during hot, dry summer months. Gradually raise mowing height of Bermudagrass lawns from 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches.
  • Vegetative establishment of warm-season grasses should be completed by the end of July to ensure the least risk of winter kill. (HLA-6419)
  • Brown patch disease of cool-season grasses can be a problem if over watering or frequent rains occur. (HLA-6420)
  • Meet water requirements of turf. (HLA-6420)
  • Another simple irrigation checkup may reduce outdoor water use by helping identify problems with your irrigation system. (HLA-6615)
  • Fertilization of warm-season grasses can continue if water is present for growth. (HLA-6420)
  • Aerification of warm-season grasses like Bermudagrass should be done in summer months if needed to control compaction.
  • The hotter and drier it gets, the larger the spider mite populations become. Spraying a forcible stream of water will provide partial relief of this pest.

 

August

  • Water all plantings thoroughly unless rainfall has been adequate.
  • The fall vegetable garden is planted now. (HLA-6009)
  • Divide and replant spring-blooming perennials.
  • Irrigated warm-season lawns may be fertilized again. (HLA-6420)
  • Hedges and shrubs can be pruned, if necessary, about mid-August.
  • Young trees and shrubs may be fertilized again. (HLA-6412)
  • Discontinue dead-heading roses by mid-August to help initiate winter hardiness.
  • Brown patch disease of cool-season grasses can be a problem. (HLA-6420)
  • Meet water requirements of turf. (HLA-6420)
  • For areas being converted to tall fescue this fall, begin spraying Bermudagrass with labeled glyphosate products in early August. (HLA-6419 & HLA-6420)
  • White grub damage can become visible this month. Apply appropriate contact insecticide if white grubs are a problem. Water product into soil. (EPP-7306)
  • Watch for a second generation of fall webworm in late August or early September.
  • Pre-emergent herbicides for winter annual weed control in warm-season grasses can be applied in late August. Water in the product after application. (HLA-6420)

 

September

  • The last nitrogen fertilizer application of the year on warm-season grasses should be applied no later than September 15. (HLA-6420)
  • Brown patch disease of tall fescue can still be a problem. (HLA-6420)
  • White grub damage or foraging by animals can become visible this month. Plan to make preventative insecticide treatments next spring for white grubs. These insecticides should be watered into soil. (EPP-7306)
  • Continue Bermudagrass spray program with labeled glyphosate products for areas being converted to tall fescue this fall. (HLA-6420)
  • Meet water requirements of turf. (HLA-6420)
  • Continue Bermudagrass spray program with labeled glyphosate products for areas being converted to tall fescue this fall. (HLA-6420)
  • Plan to seed bluegrass, fescue or ryegrass as needed in shady areas in late September through mid-October. Fall is the best time to establish cool-season lawns. (HLA-6419)
  • Choose spring flowering bulbs as soon as available.

 

October

  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs now in well-drained soils with good sunlight. Planting depth is two times bulb diameter.
  • Plant pansies, ornamental kale, ornamental cabbage and other cool-season annuals.
  • Dig and store tender summer bulbs and tubers in a cool, dry place.
  • Be prepared to move tropical plants grown outside in containers inside before cold or freezing temperatures arrive. Prepare them for low indoor lighting by moving them into a shady area for several days and thoroughly check for pests and treat accordingly before moving indoors.
  • Container-grown shade trees and pines are most successfully planted in the fall. Broadleaf evergreens or bare-root plants are best planted in the spring. (HLA-6414)
  • In mid-month, fertilize cool season lawns. (HLA-6420)
  • Seeding of cool-season grasses for perennial lawns can continue through mid-October. (HLA-6419)
  • Over-seeding of warm-season lawns with cool-season grasses for winter should be performed late this month. Warm-season lawns are healthiest if winter over-seeding is not performed. (HLA-6419)
  • Continue mowing cool-season lawns on a regular basis, even if warm-season grasses have quit growing. (HLA-6420)
  • Remove fallen leaves from cool-season grasses or mow with mulching mower. (HLA-6420)
  • October is an excellent time to control broadleaf weeds in well-established warm- or cool-season lawns with a post-emergent broadleaf weed killer. Don’t apply to seedling fescue. (HLA-6420)
  • Mow and edge neatly before killing frost.
  • Clean up marginal water garden plants after first frost kills the tops.
  • Place a net over the water garden to prevent leaves from falling in the water.
  • Remove diseased plant material from the landscape to reduce disease problems next year.

 

November

  • Continue to plant spring flowering bulbs, pansies, ornamental kale, ornamental cabbage and other cool-season annuals.
  • In the first week of November, fertilize cool-season grasses again. (HLA-6420)
  • Continue mowing cool-season lawns on a regular basis. (HLA-6420)
  • Remove leaves from cool-season grasses or mow with a mulching mower. (HLA-6420)
  • Continue to control broadleaf weeds in well-established warm- or cool-season lawns with a post-emergent broadleaf weed killer. (HLA-6421)
  • Now is a good time for a soil test to correct nutrient deficiencies before winter.
  • Dispose of pinecones infested with Diplodia tip blight. Prune out dead tips. Fallen needles of pines infested with Dothistroma needle blight should be removed from the ground and discarded in the trash to reduce inoculum.
  • Compost annual debris and leaves, but do not compost diseased plant parts.
  • Nov. 15 to March 15 is the best time to prune most trees and shrubs. Do not prune spring-flowering plants until after they flower in the spring. (HLA-6409)
  • Prepare the landscape for winter. (HLA-6404)
  • Scale insects and other overwintering insects can be controlled with dormant oil sprays applied when the temperature is above 40 F in late fall and winter. Do not use “dormant” oils on evergreens. (EPP-7306)
  • Drain gasoline from power equipment or use fuel stabilizer before winter storage. Drain and store water hoses, drain water from spray equipment and wrap hydrants. Clean all tools. Coat metal surfaces with a thin film of oil to prevent rust.
  • Remove diseased plant material from the landscape to reduce disease problems next year.

 

December

  • Continue mowing cool-season lawns on a regular basis. (HLA-6420)
  • Remove fallen leaves from cool-season grasses or mow with a mulching mower. (HLA-6420)
  • Continue to control broadleaf weeds in well-established warm- or cool-season lawns with a post-emergent broadleaf weed killer. (HLA-6420)
  • If soil is dry, irrigate all plantings at least 24 hours before hard-freezing weather. (HLA-6404)
  • Review the year’s schedule and make plans for next year’s improvements.

 

Index of OSU Extension Publications listed as references for this publication: 

HLA-6403 – Rose Culture in Oklahoma

HLA-6404 – Winter Protection of Landscape Plants

HLA-6409 – Pruning Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

HLA-6412 – Fertilizing Shade and Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

HLA-6414 – Planting Shade Trees and Shrubs

HLA-6415 – Training Young Shade and Ornamental Trees

HLA-6419 – Establishing a Lawn in Oklahoma

HLA-6420 – Lawn Management in Oklahoma

HLA-6430 - Landscaping to Attract Butterflies, Moths, and Skippers

HLA-6445 - Smart Irrigation Technology: Controllers and Sensors

HLA-6446 - Augmentation Biological Control Practices for the Home Landscape

HLA-6447 - Conservation Biological Control for the Home Landscape

HLA-6604 – Thatch Management in Lawns

HLA-6608 - Managing Turfgrass in the Shade in Oklahoma

HLA-6610 - Simple Irrigation Audit for Home Lawns in Oklahoma

HLA-6614 - Lawn Care Safety and Basic Maintenance Tips for Teens

HLA-6615 - Simple Irrigation Checkup for Home Sprinkler Systems

HLA-6617 - Managing Pressure in the Home Irrigation System

L-429 - Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for the Home Landscape

L-432 - Seasonal Landscape Maintenance

L-434 - Irrigation

L-437 - Turfgrass Management in Oklahoma

L-441 - Bermudagrass Lawn Management Calendar

L-442 - Cool-Season Lawn Management Calendar

L-444 - Lawn Watering Tip

EPP-7168 – Plant Galls Caused by Insects

EPP-7306 – Ornamental and Lawn Pest Control

EPP-7322 - Grasshopper Control in Gardens and Landscapes

EPP-7324 - Large Patch (Zoysia Patch) of Warm-Season Turfgrass

EPP-7329 - Rose Rosette Disease

EPP-7607 – Diseases of Roses

EPP-7611 – Cedar-Apple Rust

EPP-7617 – Powdery Mildews of Ornamentals & Fruit, Shade & Nut Trees

EPP-7634 – Anthracnose & Other Common Leaf

EPP-7645 - Nantucket Pine Tip Moth

EPP-7652 - Non-Chemical Methods for Controlling Diseases in the Home Landscape and Garden

EPP-7658 – Dollar Spot of Turfgrass

EPP-7665 – Managing Spring Dead Spot Disease of Bermudagrass in Oklahoma

EPP-7674 - Pine Wilt Disease

 

 

David Hillock
Extension Consumer Horticulturist

 

Tom Royer
Extension Entomologist

 

Jennifer Olson
Plant Disease Diagnostician

 

Dennis Martin
Turf Extension Specialist

 

Mike Schnelle
Extension Ornamental Floriculture Specialist

 

Eric Rebek
Extension Entomologist

 

Nathan Walker

Turfgrass Extension Specialist

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