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Best of Times

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Best of Times                                                 


This chart shows the best time of year to do a particular lawn or garden task. Other “okay” times are listed, too. If there’s a time that is not good, it is noted. This is only a guideline. Minnesota’s unpredictable weather should always be considered. Check with the friendly experts at Dundee Nursery if you are in doubt.


TASK              BEST TIME              OKAY TIME              NOT NOW

Fertilize          3 times per year: May,      Can be done twice in        Late June through
                       early September, very       spring (at 6 week             August - too hot!
                       late October.                    intervals) but usually
                                                              not necessary.

Aerate             Aug. 20 - Sept. 20             Spring, after lawn has      Hot part of
                                                              thawed & dried but          summer or late
                                                              before heat sets in.         fall.

Dethatch         Aug. 20 - Sept. 20             Spring, same as for         Same as for
                                                              aerating.                         aerating.

Pre-Emergent   About May 1. If spring      Second application may     Too early in
Crabgrass         is very warm, do in late    be necessary 4-6 weeks    spring or after
Control             Apr. If cool, do in early     after first if crabgrass      crabgrass
                        May - before 10th.            was bad last year.            germinates.

Post-Emergent  Mid to late June while                                             Only works if
Crabgrass         plants are very young.                                             crabgrass is
Control                                                                                          very young.

Broadleaf         Late summer to early       Spring, once plants are      Too early in
Weed Control   fall.                                actively growing.               spring or when
                                                                                                      very hot. Never
                                                                                                      when windy or if
                                                                                                      rain is predicted.

Seed Grass       Aug. 15 - Sept. 10            Spring. Dormant                When very hot in
                                                              seeding can be done           mid-Sept. to late
                                                              in very late fall.                  fall.

Sod Grass        After spring growth           Just about anytime             Not later than
                       starts & soil warms.          during the growing              October.
                                                              season if watering is



TASK              BEST TIME              OKAY TIME              NOT NOW

Fertilize           Spring through July 4.       Late fall when plant           Not later than
                                                               is dormant.                       October.

Prune              See Dundee Fact Sheet "Pruning Guide - Timing" for specifics. In
                       general, shrubs that flower in spring should be pruned right after
                       flowering. Shrubs that flower in summer/fall should be pruned in the
                       spring before they leaf out.

Plant Bareroot Spring until about June 1.                                          After about
Trees & Shrubs                                                                               June 1.

Plant               Spring or early fall.          Can be successfully planted any time during
Container or                                          the growing season, including mid-summer.
B&B Trees &                                          Do not plant evergreens after about Oct. 10.

Transplant       Early fall.                        Spring, before growth          Hot part of
                                                              starts.                                summer.

Wrap Tree       Late Oct. through                                                      Do not leave
Trunks             mid to late April.                                                       wrap on during

Stake               First growing season after planting. Only needed if      After first
                       site is particulary windy.                                            season. Trees
                                                                                                       get brittle if
                                                                                                       staked too long.



TASK              BEST TIME              OKAY TIME              NOT NOW

Plant                Some plants (i.e. pansies, broccoli, onions, spinach, radishes, etc.)
                        are cold tolerant and can be planted in mid to late April. Most should
                        be planted after last frost (usually around May 15 in the Twin Cities.)
                        Some (such as peppers and tomatoes) are quite sensitive and should
                        not be planted until about June 1. Many plants can be started indoors
                        earlier. See the Dundee Fact Sheet "Spring Garden and Vegetable
                        Planting Guide" for more details.

Transplant      Spring for late-season bloomers. Early fall for spring     Hot part of
Perennials       blooming plants.                                                         summer.

Fertilize          Spring                             Late Fall.                              Summer to
Perennials                                                                                         early fall.

Uncover          Using spring weather as a guide, remove mulch in stages. All mulch
Roses and       shouldn't be removed until late April-early May. Rose cones and/or
Perennials      heavy mulch should be removed when weather is warm in early spring
                      to avoid disease problems. Fluff up remaining mulch to increase air

Prune             Major pruning in spring     Minor pruning can be            Late summer
Roses              after uncovering.             done if necessary when         to early fall.
                                                             when roses are covered
                                                             in fall.



TASK              BEST TIME              OKAY TIME              NOT NOW

Lawns              Newly seeded or sodded lawns need consistent,            Do not water so
                       frequent watering. Eastablished lawns need the            late in the day
                       equivalent of 1" per week. It's best to water                 that the grass
                       deeply, but spaced watering out. Do NOT lightly           stays wet after
                       sprinkle established lawns every day.                           dark.

Gardens          Early in the day.                                                          Do not water so
                                                                                                        late in the day
                                                                                                        that the plants
                                                                                                        stay wet after

Trees and       Newly planted bareroot plants need frequent watering (possibly every
Shrubs           day, depending on weather and soil conditions) for the first few weeks.
                      Slowly back off as the plant establishes. Newly planted container-grown
                      or ball and burlapped plants should not need daily watering unless their
                      root system is quite small, the ground quite sandy, or the weather very
                      hot and windy. In most cases, watering about every 3-7 days for the
                      first few weeks is recommended. Always check the soil before watering.
                      More plants die due to overwatering than underwatering. Back off on
                      the watering as the plant becomes established. Established plants need
                      about 1" per week. Water deciduous plants less in the fall but continue
                      to water evergreens until the ground freezes (about Dec. 15 in the Twin
                      Cities area.)


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