Which homeowner doesn’t like a lush lawn? There’s nothing like a well-looked-after yard to create a splendid curb appeal – giving a welcoming first impression to guests. If you’re looking for some great gardening tips to make your lawn look its best, the first lesson is to know when and how to fertilize the lawn. 

The correct lawn care will help you grow healthy, green grass. And, a beautiful yard will undoubtedly add to your home value manifold.

This article will help you understand the proper way to fertilize a lawn. These lawn fertilization steps will help you create a hearty, healthy lawn that’s less susceptible to diseases and weeds. But first, an important question.

Read more: Lawn maintenance tips.

Why fertilize the lawn?

Just like your body needs nutrients to survive and remain healthy, so does your lawn. Fertilizing the lawn will help it stay green and healthy. Moreover, a thick, lush lawn will prevent weed seeds from sprouting. 

While the soil does supply the turfgrass with some essential nutrients, it cannot provide everything a lawn may need throughout the growing season. Added nutrients give your lawn a lot of energy. 

Lawn fertilizers help:

  • Promote new leaf growth as well as root growth.
  • Recovery of grass after heavy foot traffic and pest damage.
  • Reduces and controls weeds.
  • Replaces nutrients lost to leaching, volatilization, and grass clipping removal.

Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t know how and when to apply lawn fertilizers. Keep in mind that incorrect lawn care can do more harm than good.

Read more: Garden maintenance tips.

When should you fertilize the lawn?

fertilizing the lawn

The best lawn care is feeding your grass at the right time – two to three times a year. Keep in mind that different types of grass may require fertilizers at different times. The rule of thumb is that you should fertilize your lawn while it’s actively growing. A regular fertilizing schedule according to the type of grass it is will give you a great-looking lawn year after year. 

Here are some tips on when to fertilize your lawn:

  • Wait until your soil temperature is around 50 degrees. Fertilizers and herbicides work best at this temperature. You can buy a soil thermometer to keep a check. 
  • You must water the lawn a few days before fertilizing it. This is to make sure it isn’t suffering from drought stress. And when you do fertilize the lawn, make sure the grass blades are completely dry. Or else, they might burn.
  • Fertilize your lawn if you’re expecting light rain. Most fertilizers in any case need to be watered to be effective. But, avoid fertilizing during heavy rains as the fertilizer may run off.
  • Do not apply fertilizer during hot spells or periods of drought. The best time to apply the fertilizer is in the morning or late afternoon.
  • If you’re applying granular fertilizer, remember to water your lawn several days before the fertilizer application. 

How to choose a lawn fertilizer?

Choosing the right food for your soil is important. While shopping for grass fertilizers, you’ll see some markings on the label. These three numbers reflect the percentage of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium – the primary nutrients needed to feed your lawn.

The right fertilizer ratio will depend on factors such as where you live, what type of grass you’re growing, and the season it is.

When to fertilize cool-season grasses?

During the cool months of early spring and fall (when the temperature ranges between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit), cool-season grasses grow actively. Basically, when the intense heat of the summer months has subsided or the severe cold weather hasn’t begun. 

A winterized fertilizer is great for a fall application. This type of fertilizer is formulated in such a way that it protects the grass during the winter months. You need to fertilize the lawn lightly before these cool-season grasses go dormant in extreme temperatures.

When to fertilize warm-season grasses?

fertilizing the lawn at home

When the grass starts to turn green in spring, that’s the right time to fertilize it. Generally, the growing season for such types of grasses is between late spring and early summer – depending on your geographic location. These grasses grow best when the temperature ranges between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Time your fertilizing schedule before the onset of severe hot summer weather. Once the intense heat subsides, fertilize the lawn again.

How to prepare the lawn for fertilizing?

Before you start fertilizing your lawn, you need to do some prep work to ensure that the fertilizer will be effective.

  1. Identify your grass type: While Southern zones have warm-season grasses, northern zones have cool-season grasses. Warm-season grasses turn brown after the first frost but cool-season grasses stay green.
  2. Test your soil: Make sure you choose a fertilizer according to your soil’s pH level – whether it’s alkaline or acidic. A home soil testing kit will help you decide which fertilizer is best for your grass. The goal is to make your soil neutral so as to get the most benefit from the fertilizer. The ideal pH level for growing quality grass ranges between 6 and 7.
  3. Determine your lawn size: Since fertilizers, weed killers, and other soil additives are sold in quantities sufficient to cover a certain area, it’s important to know how much you’ll require. To calculate your total area, multiply the length of your lawn by its width. Then deduct the square footage of your home, driveway, walkway, and any other area that doesn’t require fertilization.

What are the fertilizer application steps?

It’s crucial that you follow the fertilizer manufacturer’s instructions on the label of your lawn-care products. It will ensure perfect application and safety.

These general steps will help you understand the process better.  

  • Use a spreader (if you’re using granules) or a sprayer (if you’re using liquid fertilizer). Do not waste your effort by scattering the fertilizer with your hands.
  • Load the lawn spreader or the sprayer. You can set the spreader rate of flow according to the speed mentioned on the fertilizer bag. It will help you evenly spread the right amount of fertilizer.
  • Apply the fertilizer by moving the spreader or the sprayer at a steady pace to cover the entire lawn evenly.
  • Clean up your fertilizer equipment thoroughly after use with a garden hose and let it dry completely.
  • Check for any scattered fertilizer on your driveway, sidewalk, or walkway. This is an important step as fertilizers contain minerals that may stain a concrete driveway
  • Water the lawn with a sprinkler system to mix the nutrients from the fertilizer into the soil.

Last thoughts

Just like your body, your lawn too needs proper nourishment in order to stay green and lush. A healthy lawn will be more resistant to diseases, prevent weed growth, stand up to daily wear and tear better, and require less watering because of a healthy, deep root system. We hope you’ll now know the best way to fertilize a lawn. Happy home gardening!

The right way to fertilize the lawn in your yard was last modified: November 4th, 2022 by Ramona Sinha
Your opinion matters, leave a comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments