Skip Maine state header navigation

Agencies | Online Services | Help

Skip First Level Navigation | Skip All Navigation

Home > Lawns > Existing Lawn?

Existing Lawn?

To make the transition to a lower maintenance lawn a successful one, begin by carefully evaluating current conditions, including your recent maintenance history. Before beginning corrective action, examine your lawn and surrounding landscape for the following:

  • Soil compaction
  • Excessive levels of thatch
  • Shade
  • Poor or excessive drainage
  • Weeds
  • Insects and other pests
  • Species/varieties of grasses present

Lawn grasses that already adapted to less water and fewer nutrients (grasses such as endophyte enhanced tall fescues, fine fescues, perennial ryegrasses and common Kentucky bluegrasses) must be present. If not, you should consider adding them.

In addition, have the soil where grasses are growing tested to determine fertility requirements. Test kits are available from your local Cooperative Extension and Soil & Water Conservation District offices or order online.



Lawn Care Level Amount of Watering Mowing Heights Pounds of Fertilizer That May be Needed*
Timing of Fertilizer Applications**
Very Low Maintenence
Suitable grasses are tall fescues, hard and sheep's fescues and other fine fescues
None 3 - 4 in. 0
Low Maintenance
Suitable grasses are common Kentucky bluegrasses & fine-leaved fescues
Little to None 3 in. 1
Labor Day - Columbus Day
Medium Maintenance
Suitable grasses are most Kentucky bluegrasses & fine-leaved fescues
Some 21/2-3 in. 2
mid- to late-August

Labor Day - Columbus Day

Grass Seed Sources

* Eliminate one fertilizer application by leaving clippings on the lawn. Soils with high organic matter levels (indicated by a soil test) and lawns more than 10 years old need less nitrogen (N) per year due to the reserve N supply in the organic matter. N will be slowly released for plant use as the organic matter further breaks down over time. Never apply more than 1 pound of N per 1,000 square feet per application.

** Use earlier times in northern parts of the state, later times in southern areas.