Month-to-Month Indiana Lawn Care Schedule

lawn in front of a house in indiana

Maintaining a healthy lawn in the Hoosier State requires more than just a green thumb. Luckily, this guide will walk you through an Indiana lawn care schedule that fits your area.

Whether you’re admiring the sprawling cornfields that define Indiana’s landscape or cheering on the Colts and the Pacers, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started.

Indiana lawn care schedule

Indiana Lawn Care schedule Bar Chart

Spring lawn care in Indiana

Spring in Indiana is the perfect time to enjoy buggy rides in Shipshewana, but also to start your lawn care schedule. As the grass begins to transition out of its winter dormancy, your lawn will need a bit of attention. Here’s what you need to do month by month:


As March rolls in, temperatures in Indiana are still quite low, and your grass is likely still in its winter dormancy. This month is primarily about preparing your lawn for the growing season ahead by dealing with snow mold.

Snow mold is a fungal disease that thrives in cold, wet conditions, often appearing as patches of crusty, matted grass on the snow melts. To get rid of snow mold, rake the affected areas to break up the crust and allow the turf to dry out.

Additionally, take this time to remove debris such as leaves, twigs, and other materials that might be blocking sunlight from reaching your grass.


Temperatures start to rise in April, so you’ll notice your grass beginning to green up. Here’s what you can do:


growth of cool season grass
Infographic by Juan Rodriguez

It’s time to bring out the mower. Set your mower height to between 2.5 to 3.5 inches, making sure never to remove more than one-third of the grass blade in a single mowing, as cutting too much at once can stress the grass. Also, sharpen your mower blades so they don’t tear the grass.

Apply herbicides

April is the ideal time to apply pre-emergent herbicides, especially if you’ve had issues with crabgrass in the past. These herbicides will prevent weeds from sprouting. Choose one that contains little to no nitrogen (avoid applying more than 0.75 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet).

Pro Tip: Apply pre-emergent herbicides when soil temps reach 50-55 F and are climbing. Check your soil temps using a meat thermometer, or go high-tech and look at real-time soil temp data in your city using Greencast’s soil temperature maps.

Overseed your lawn

Spreading seed by hand over an area that has little to no grass

If your lawn had a rough winter and is thinning, overseeding in spring in Indiana can help restore its density. Consider “dormant seeding” to get ahead of weed growth. This involves seeding before the ground completely thaws so there are crevices in the soil as it heaves and cracks, providing more seed-to-soil contact for grass seeds.

Pro Tip: Do not overseed if you have applied pre-emergent herbicides or plan to do it. You’ll be wasting your time and money, as these herbicides will also prevent grass seeds from sprouting.


By the time May rolls around, you’ll be fully immersed in lawn care tasks. Here’s what you need to do:

Keep mowing

illustration explaining the one-third rule for mowing grass
Infographic by Juan Rodriguez

In May, you’ll need to mow more frequently as your cool-season grass grows vigorously. However, resist the urge to scalp your lawn to extend the time between mowings. Continue to follow the rule of removing only one-third of the grass blade with each mowing to avoid stressing the grass.

You’ll have to keep mowing at least until November, but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Plant warm-season grass

growth of warm season grass
Infographic by Juan Rodriguez

For those in Southern Indiana, May is the perfect time to plant warm-season grass, especially Zoysiagrass. This grass thrives in hotter temperatures and establishes best when planted in late spring, giving it ample time to develop a robust root system before cooler temperatures arrive.

Aerate or power rake if needed

illustration showing how aeration works and the benefits of aerating soil
Infographic by Juan Rodriguez

Winter can leave your soil compacted, hindering the growth of your grass. Aerating, which involves removing small cores of soil, allows more air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots. Power raking is another useful task for the end of April and May, as it removes the layer of excess thatch that can suffocate your grass.

Both aerating and power raking prepare your lawn for fertilization and promote healthier growth.

Fertilize your lawn

The best time to fertilize your lawn if you have cool-season grass in Indiana is in the fall. However, spring is the second best time, especially if you haven’t fertilized last fall. Use a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer to minimize excessive growth, at a rate of 0.75 to 1 pound per 1,000 square feet. 

Pro Tip: Fertilizing also helps get rid of red thread disease, a fungal disease common in late spring.

Spot treat weeds

Despite your best efforts, weeds like dandelions might still appear on your lawn. May is a good time to spot-treat these weeds. You can hand-pull them or apply post-emergent herbicides to target specific problem areas. Addressing weeds now prevents them from spreading and competing with your grass for nutrients and sunlight.

Summer lawn care in Indiana

Summer for you might mean enjoying the Indiana State Fair, hiking at the Indiana Dunes, or taking a refreshing swim. However, amidst all the fun and outdoor activities, it’s important not to forget about your lawn. Here’s what to do to stay on top of your lawn care routine:


As the first month of summer arrives, it’s time to adapt your lawn care routine to the warmer weather. You’ll have to keep mowing (or you can call a lawn care pro). Here are some other essential tasks for June:

Water effectively

water coming out of a hose, being used to water lawn

Watering deeply and infrequently, as opposed to frequently and lightly, is key to maintaining a healthy lawn in June. According to Purdue, Indiana lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. 

The best times to water are early in the morning from 4 to 8 a.m. or late at night from 8 to 12 p.m., when there is little wind and minimal evaporation. This ensures that water penetrates deeply into the soil, encouraging root growth and reducing water loss.

Watch out for diseases

Summer lawn diseases such as red thread and dollar spot can become problematic in June. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Red thread is a fungal lawn disease. It appears when there is excess humidity and a lack of nutrients in the lawn. It causes a reddish structure called stroma in grass blades. 
  • Dollar spot is another common lawn disease that also appears in humid environments. It appears as circular patches that measure 1 to 4 inches in diameter. 

Both of these diseases can be managed with proper watering practices, fertilizing, reducing thatch, and applying fungicides if necessary. 

Remove weeds

two hands with gloves holding out weeds

Despite your best efforts early in the season, weeds like crabgrass can still appear in June. Apply post-emergent herbicides to spot-treat these pesky weeds. However, be cautious not to apply herbicides when temperatures exceed 80 F or to drought-stressed turf, as this can harm your grass.


July is a month of high temperatures and active lawn maintenance. You’ll need to stay diligent with mowing and watering to keep your lawn healthy. Here are a few tips:

Fertilize only if necessary

If you have a high-maintenance lawn like Kentucky bluegrass, you can also fertilize lightly in July with 0.75 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet using a slow-release fertilizer. Zoysia and tall fescue lawns don’t usually need this summer fertilizer application.

Pro Tip: Only fertilize your lawn in summer if there has been above-average rainfall.

Treat white grubs

White grub on soil
White grub
Patty O’Hearn Kickham | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

White grubs are a common lawn pest in Indiana, and addressing them early is important for maintaining a healthy lawn. If you’ve had issues with grubs in the past, consider applying an insecticide in early July. If you want a more natural method, you can mix neem oil and water and spray it in your yard.

In case you haven’t encountered white grubs before, you can scout for them by cutting a one-foot section of your lawn using a shovel. Then, peel back the soil and sift through it, counting the grubs you find. If you find 10 or more, you likely have an infestation.


The hot summer days continue, and maintaining your lawn remains a priority. Keep up with your mowing and watering schedule, and pay attention to these additional tasks:

Overseed thinning areas

Overseeding helps thicken your lawn, filling in bare or thinning areas. Late summer to early fall is the best time to plant and overseed cool-season grasses, which are the most common grasses in Indiana. The specific time will depend on your region:

  • Northern and central Indiana: Overseed between August 15 and September 15.
  • Southern Indiana: This region is in a different Indiana planting zone, so wait until next month to begin overseeding.

Watch for diseases and pests

Rust lawn disease
NC State Cooperative Extension

Unfortunately, you’ll have to continue monitoring for white grubs throughout August. In addition, other diseases may appear, like rust in the lawn. This disease is characterized by orange dust, small yellow spots, and raised pustules.

To treat rust in the lawn, you can apply nitrogen fertilizer and maintain proper watering and mowing practices to reduce the ideal conditions for this disease.

Fall lawn care in Indiana

Fall in Indiana is a season filled with corn mazes, haunted houses, and trips to the nearest orchard. But it’s also a critical time for lawn care — you’ll have to keep mowing and watering as long as your grass is growing. So, let’s take a look at what else you need to do before you head out for your autumn adventures:


As September arrives, the scorching summer heat begins to wane, making it an ideal time to focus on these lawn chores:

Overseed in Southern Indiana

In Southern Indiana, the summer heat lingers a bit longer, so it’s best to wait until this month to overseed or plant cool-season grasses. Overseeding now will help make your lawn thicker and more resilient, filling in any bare or thinning areas.

Aerate or dethatch if needed

illustration explaining thatch on grass
Infographic by Juan Rodriguez

If you haven’t dethatched (power-raked) in the spring and notice a thatch layer of 0.5 inches or more, it may be necessary to dethatch now. 

Aeration might also be required if your soil is compacted. Perform the screwdriver test to determine if you’ll need to aerate: Push a screwdriver into the soil; if it’s difficult, your soil is compacted and needs aeration. If it goes in easily, you can skip this step.


one man farmer is fertilizing the lawn soil
Adobe Stock

September is a great time to perform fall fertilization on your lawn. This will provide essential nutrients to help your grass recover from summer stress and prepare for winter. Here are a few tips:

  • Choose a product that contains both quick- and slow-release nitrogen.
  • Apply 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
  • Ensure that daytime temperatures are lower than 90 F.

Continue to watch for pests and disease

White grubs and rust disease can still be problematic in September. Continue to monitor your lawn for these issues and practice standard lawn care tasks, such as mowing and watering. Purdue recommends applying the insecticide Dylox to get rid of grubs in your lawn.


October brings specific tasks to prepare your lawn for the winter months:

Control weeds

Spraying Weed Killer Onto Weeds
Adobe Stock

Weeds like dandelions are persistent during the fall, and it’s important to manage them to keep your lawn healthy. Applying post-emergent herbicides containing 2,4-D, dicamba, and MCPP is effective. However, make sure you follow all label instructions carefully to avoid harming your grass.

Winterize your sprinkler system

In Indiana, where temperatures dip below freezing, it’s essential to know how to winterize your sprinkler system. Doing that will prevent damage from frozen pipes and ensure your sprinkler system is ready to go in spring. Follow these steps:

  • Turn off the water supply to the sprinkler system.
  • Drain any remaining water from the system by opening drain valves or using compressed air to blow out the lines.
  • Insulate any above-ground pipes and components to protect them from freezing temperatures.


As we move into November, lawn care tasks start to wind down. Your primary focus by the end of fall will be on watering and mowing until the grass stops growing. Here are a few tips:

Mow the right way

image of a person mowing grass

For your last mowings of the season, there’s no need to reduce the mowing height. Keep the same height recommended for your type of grass. This helps ensure that your lawn remains healthy and can better withstand winter conditions.

Fertilize for the last time

Fertilizing near or after the last mowing of the year while the lawn is still green, typically in the first few weeks of November, is crucial. Use a quick-release fertilizer so that the grass can absorb the nutrients before winter sets in. Apply 0.5 to 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.

Remove leaves

As the leaves fall, it’s important to keep your lawn clear to prevent smothering the grass. In Indianapolis, you can rake leaves and dispose of them with your regular trash during leaf collection season. Just place them on the street by 7 a.m. for collection, and remember not to burn them, as this is illegal in Marion County.

Check with your county to find out your specific collection days and any additional guidelines. Alternatively, you can use a mulching mower to chop the leaves into fine pieces, so they can decompose and enrich your soil. You can also add them to your compost bin.

Winter lawn care in Indiana

Even though winter brings a break from many lawn care tasks, there are still a few things to do (or avoid doing) before you hit Perfect North Slopes for skiing. Here’s what you need to do:

December to February

Minimize foot traffic

woman standing in grass
Adobe Stock

Foot traffic on frosted grass can damage the grass blades because the ice crystals can rupture the plant cell walls. To prevent this, try to avoid walking over your lawn when it is frosted to minimize damage and ensure a healthier lawn come spring.

Avoid chemicals

Once your grass has entered dormancy, chemicals such as fertilizers and herbicides won’t be absorbed by the grass or weeds. Using these products during winter would not only be a waste of money but could also introduce unnecessary harmful chemicals into the environment. Hold off until your lawn is actively growing again.

Remove debris

Rake in front of tree in colorful leaves

Debris, including excessive leaves, twigs, and other organic and inorganic materials, can block sunlight and smother the grass. Additionally, it can create a damp environment that fosters pests and diseases. Regularly remove debris throughout the winter to keep your lawn ready for the growing season.

Prepare your mower

Now that you won’t be using your mower for a while, winter is a perfect time for lawn mower maintenance practices. Change the oil, sharpen the mower blades, and run the mower out of fuel. Make your mower ready to go once spring arrives, so you won’t have any delays in your lawn care routine.

FAQ about lawn care in Indiana

When should you aerate your lawn in Indiana?

For cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, you should aerate and dethatch in spring (April/May) or fall (September). If you live in southern Indiana and have a Zoysiagrass lawn, the best time to aerate and dethatch is in summer (June).

When should you fertilize your lawn in Indiana?

Your Indiana lawn fertilizer schedule will depend mostly on the type of grass and the level of maintenance required:

  • For cool-season lawns, the best time to fertilize is during fall, specifically in September and November.
  • You can also fertilize in spring (May) with slow-release nitrogen.
  • If there has been above-average rainfall, you can fertilize in summer (July).
  • Hoosiers with Zoysia lawns should fertilize only once, in June.

A soil test will help you determine the specific nutrients needed and how many times a year to fertilize. 

When does grass stop growing in Indiana?

Grass usually stops growing when temperatures drop below 50 F during the day. In central and northern Indiana, this typically occurs by the last week of October and the first week of November. In southern Indiana, like Evansville, this usually happens by mid-November.

Call the pros

Maintaining a beautiful lawn in Indiana throughout the year might seem overwhelming. There are many chores and specifics that could go wrong. But don’t worry. You don’t have to tackle it all by yourself. Call a local lawn care pro to help ensure your lawn stays healthy and vibrant.

Main Image Credit: Ken Ratcliff / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Maria Isabela Reis

Maria Isabela Reis is a writer, psychologist, and plant enthusiast. She is currently doing a PhD in Social Psychology; and can't help but play with every dog she sees walking down the street.