When I was growing up, one of the activities I enjoyed the most was spraying fertilizer over a small lawn we had in our yard.
Gardening is fun when done the right way, and there is no right way without supplementing the nutrients in the ground through fertilization or related methods.
Fertilization is an essential lawn practice if you want to enjoy a lush green lawn with family and friends.
A lot of people know this but are not sure how to fertilize appropriately.
Improper fertilization can damage your lawn and leave patches all over. This is why you need to learn the best lawn fertilization methods.
In this piece, I’ll show you the best time to fertilize new grass and established lawns, among other vital fertilization tips.
When your grass is actively growing represents the best time to fertilize, and fertilizing two or more times a year will give your lawn the best possible care. Bear in mind that the active growth period is not set in stone; it is different for all grass types and regions.
Follow this article while I show you how to identify yours.
Why You Should Fertilize Your Lawn?
The importance of fertilizing a lawn is vast, but what exactly does fertilizing your lawn give you?
- Provides necessary nutrients for the growth of your grass
- Helps prevent erosion and runoff
- Makes the soil weed resistant
- Protects against pests and diseases
Know Your Grass Type: Decider on When to Fertilize Your Lawn
Your grass type is a major decider on when to fertilize your lawn.
Generally, your grass can fall into either warm-season or cool-season grasses. These grasses have their different active periods. You can also have your grass in the mid regions; these are grasses that grow best in areas that are neither too cold nor hot.
How do you identify these grasses?
1. Cool Season Grasses
These are grasses you’ll typically find in the northern region of the US. They are comfortable growing in cold climates and usually have 2 peak growing periods. These periods are in early spring when the grass resumes growing after its dormancy during the winter. Early fall is the other peak growing period for this type of grass.
Because these grasses have adapted to the cold, they will not do well when the temperature is too hot. During this period, they can go dormant until the temperature goes down, and water is available once again.
Kentucky bluegrass and ryegrass are some of the popular cool season grasses.
2. Warm Season Grasses
For warm-season grasses, they are typically found in the warmer region of the southern US. They do well when the weather is hot, and it’s no surprise that their peak growing period is midsummer.
Some of the popular warm-season grasses include Bermuda grass, Kikuyu grass, St. Augustine, centipede grass, among others.
Generally, you’ll find out warm-season grasses will not do well in cold regions and will turn brown after the first frost, while cool-season grasses will not survive the extreme heat in warmer climes.
When to Fertilize New Grass?
The fertilizer and timing for new grass are slightly different from that of an established lawn.
In the first 4 to 6 weeks after planting, the grass needs fertilizer to boost its growth. The grass is still young and tender and requires a lot of nitrogen to grow, so a nitrogen rich fertilizer is essential.
The fertilizer type and ratio are essential to prevent burning the grass or runoff of nutrients into neighboring water sources. Here is a more comprehensive fertilizer ratio guide.
Some weed suppression fertilizers can also hinder the growth of your new grass, so avoid such fertilizers when the grass is still tender.
For a new grass, a quick-release fertilizer rich in nitrogen and phosphorus is ideal. The nitrogen and phosphorus will provide the nutrients for the shoot and root growth, respectively.
When to Fertilize Established Lawns?
When your lawn is established, its needs change, and you need to adapt your fertilizer pattern, type, and ratio to get the best out of it. It may no longer need as much phosphorus for root growth anymore since it already has an established root system.
To get a lush green lawn, plan to fertilize your lawn more than twice a year. Your schedule will be determined by the type of grass you have. Fertilizing four times a year will give your lawn the best care.
Here are the best times to fertilize your established lawn.
This is a period between February and April when your grass is turning green and picking up growth. Fertilizing in this period to boost its shoot and root growth is ideal.
Fertilizing in early spring can also prevent the growth of new weeds like crabgrass. Apply fertilizer when the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure you water deeply, at least 6 inches deep within the first one week after application.
Seven weeks after the early spring fertilization, your lawn is ready for another batch. Because of its continuous growth, you need to replenish some of the nutrients used up from the ground.
It is also an active growth period for some weeds, so applying some weed suppressing fertilizers would do your lawn a lot of good.
Late spring fertilization usually lasts from April to June.
You want to apply early in the morning when the grass is wet. Remember, these types of fertilizers can affect the growth of new grass seeds, so avoid them for up to 4 weeks if you’re planning to overseed.
For most grasses, the summer is a difficult period because of several factors like traffic, insects, heat, and drought. To keep your lawn growing in these adverse conditions, you need to fertilize it between June and August.
During this period, the soil is strengthened to provide the necessary nutrients the grass will need to survive.
After the rigors of the summer months, your grass needs to recover. Applying the necessary fertilizer once between August and November and at least six weeks before your estimated first frost date will give your lawn the nutrients it needs to survive the winter months and recover in time for spring.
Fertilizer rich in nitrogen and phosphorus for root and shoot strengthening is ideal.
Fertilizer Application Tips
- Water a day or two before fertilizing. You want slightly damp grass to avoid drought stress when applying fertilizer.
- A broadcast spreaderwill work best if you’re fertilizing a large area.
- Water lightly after applying fertilizer to wash the fertilizer from the grass blades and into the soil. Remember, too much water, and there’ll be a runoff of fertilizer.
- Leave grass clipping on the lawn for a cheap and effective nitrogen source.
Applying fertilizer once a year is good, but applying it more than twice a year will make your garden blossom.
Creating a lawn fertilizer schedule and sticking to it will help you keep track of your lawn fertilizer needs. With this guide, you can easily create a plan for your lawn.