Yard Maintenance

lawn mowerMaintenance Code

Golden Valley's Property Maintenance Code requires residents to keep their yards mowed, maintained, and picked up. For common violations, see the Property Maintenance Code Checklist.

Managing Yard Waste

See Yard Waste, Leaves, & Brush Disposal »

General Yard Maintenance Tips & Requirements


City ordinance (Section 10-87) requires that residents keep their lawn mowed to 8 inches or less. The City will notify residents who violate this ordinance. If no action is taken by the resident to correct the violation, the City will have the property mowed and bill the resident for the needed work. If you have a concern about a lawn, call the property maintenance inspectors at 763-593-8074 or 763-593-8092.

General mowing tips

  • Keep the mower blade sharp.
  • Do not cut the grass shorter than two-and-a-half inches.
  • Mow often enough so that only 30% of the grass blade is cut. For example, if your grass is four inches tall, remove one inch.
  • The grass does not need to be cut shorter going into the winter season.
  • Do not pick up grass clippings. Only dispose of the grass if the lawn is diseased or the cuttings are wet or too long and completely covering the grass. Grass clippings shade the soil surface, which impedes evaporation. Also, they can serve as a natural, safe, and inexpensive fertilizer for the grass. In fact, clippings are equivalent to one application of fertilizer per year.


Rainfall and soil type determine how much and how often a lawn needs to be watered:

  • Clay soil (the most common soil in Golden Valley) should be watered infrequently, but for longer periods. (Many people make the mistake of watering their lawn several times a week for shorter periods.) It is best to apply one inch of water to your lawn per week. Measure the amount of water used in sprinkling by placing straight-sided cans in various locations throughout the yard. Benefits: By allowing the soil to dry out in between waterings, the grass plant will have time to develop deep root systems and will be able to withstand stressful conditions.
  • Sandy soils have a high infiltration rate and should be watered more frequently, but for shorter periods.

Remember, adjust weekly watering schedule according to amount of rainfall.

Overwatering can be more of a health risk to lawns than underwatering, causing:

  • more weeds
  • lazy grass with shallow roots
  • soil that lacks sufficient oxygen
  • an environment more prone to fungal disease
  • essential nutrients to be washed away

Sprinkling Bans

During seasonal droughts, the City of Golden Valley may be required to issue a sprinkling ban and/or restrictions. Generally, homes not on City water are not affected by such restrictions. Sprinkling bans are broadcast on local television stations and on WCCO-AM 830 radio. To find out if Golden Valley is covered by a ban/restriction, call 763-593-8030.


  • State law requires lawn fertilizer to be phosphorus-free in the seven-county metro area.
  • Before you fertilize, have your soil tested through the local county extension office. The test will determine the proper amount of elements that should be in a fertilizer mixture.
  • Always read the label carefully for directions on how to apply the fertilizer.
  • Fertilize your lawn in late summer or fall. If you fertilize too soon, your grass will be forced to use up stored energy.
  • Use moderate amounts of fertilizer regularly instead of large amounts sporadically.
  • Use a rotary spreader and spread the fertilizer in two directions.

Be Responsible

While fertilizer may benefit your lawn, it will not benefit community lakes if carelessly applied. Fertilizer that is spilled and not cleaned up will find its way to the nearest lake through storm water runoff. In turn, the aquatic life will be poisoned by these toxic chemicals. When fertilizing, remember to:

  • Keep fertilizer off hard surfaces (sidewalks, driveways) and sweep up any accidental spills.
  • Sweep up and recycle grass clippings that fall on the driveway, sidewalk, or street. Leaving clippings on hard surfaces is like leaving them in a lake.

+Tree Management

For information about trees in Golden Valley and tips on caring for your trees, see Urban Forestry.

+Lawn Maintenance Calendar


  • March and April: Dandelions and crabgrass areas may be treated with weed killer. Do not fertilize during these months. By late April to early May, crabgrass may be controlled with a pre-emergent (pre-germination) weed killer.
  • May and June: Annual weeds are germinating. To decrease the chance of weeds, do not aerate the soil at this time. Only use a fertilizer with weed control additives if the lawn needs it.


  • July: Summer dormancy begins. Do not treat weeds or fertilize.
  • Mid-August to September 30: Apply some fertilizer. Best time to aerate and seed.


  • September and October: Best time to fertilize and treat perennial weeds with herbicides (after a frost). Can aerate through October.


  • November: Winter dormancy begins. Keep your sidewalks shoveled.

Managing Invasive Species