On normal occasions, the generally accepted time to fertilize your lawn is during the springtime. The temperatures are warm and the lilacs are blossoming.
Temperature wise, it should be up to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. But how can you tell the right temperature for fertilizing? Do you use a soil thermometer? Well, the good thing is that you will not have to go to such lengths. As soon as you notice that the grass is growing, bring in the fertilizer.
When to Fertilize Lawn – Details Guide & Tips
The Right Type of Fertilizer
There are different types of fertilizer that are suited for different crops based on their nutrient and energy requirements. It is therefore of paramount importance to get one that is perfectly suited for your lawn.
This is where you need knowledge of the numbers on the fertilizer bags. If you come across 20-5-5 this refers to the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. In our case above it are 20 percent nitrogen, 5 percent phosphorus and 5 percent potassium.
The remaining content is there to fill up the bag but most importantly to ensure a good distribution of the nutrients. The high nitrogen content is ideal to promote a lush green growth. Potassium helps to develop a strong plant for overall vigor.
Slow Releasing Fertilizer
The great thing about using a slow release fertilizer is that the nutrients including nitrogen take longer to break down. The grass has a steady and consistent source for a long duration of time.
This results in proper growth rate, not too fast or too slow. With a slow release fertilizer, a single application is enough for two months.
Be careful with the quantity, however. Applying more fertilizer than is needed will result in rapidly growing lawn grass. This will give you more work through regular mowing.
As a rule of thumb, a single application of 2 or 3 pounds is enough to last your lawn for the next 8 weeks.
There is zero difference between liquid and granular fertilizer in terms of nutrients. In fact, when professional do it they often prefer spraying since it usually takes less time to get the job done.
As a homeowner however, chances are you lack the necessary tools to provide your lawn with a proper, even application.
Granulated fertilizer is easier for the average homeowner. You can visually tell if you have spread the fertilizer evenly across the entire lawn.
Do you recall the 2 to 3 pounds we talked about earlier? You can divide this into two to allow you to feed your lawn twice during the spring.
When fall comes, do not forget to provide another serving to your lawn. Even while the top part of the plant is getting ready to go dormant for the coming winter, the roots will remain active and continue to develop.
Watering Your Lawn
Most people may not know this but the more water you provide to the grass, the more fertilizer it needs. Why? Because the grass will grow at a faster rate and the bigger the grass gets, the more nutrients it requires and thus more fertilizer.
Different fertilizers will normally come with application instructions. Some granular fertilizers will need you to first wet the lawn before applying. Others you can water after you have spread the fertilizer to allow them to break down easily.
Using the Spreader
This handy tool has made fertilizing lawns easier but used the wrong way and you could just end up with patches of dead grass.
When fertilizer spills in a heap over the grass, it will end up burning and killing it. This is why you need to observe proper procedures.
The first and most important part is to ensure the spreader is placed in the right spot. Not on the lawn of course but on the driveway. If you have to fill it with the fertilizer on the lawn put a plastic paper underneath.
The type of spreader you are using matters. For the average homeowner, a broadcast spreader does a better job than a drop spreader. This is because it allows for a wider area making it less likely to miss certain spots.
Careful Not to Over Apply
Most homeowners have the right intentions for their lawn but they end up with something other than expected. This is because of applying the fertilizer the wrong way.
There are application instructions on the fertilizer bag. While it is good practice to observe what you are being told, in terms of quantity, it is always best to start off slow.
This means applying half the rate that is recommended. Start by walking the spreader around the perimeter of the lawn then finish off with the middle. To give you that even spreading move the spreader next to its previous tire track.
You would rather have a lawn that has less fertilizer than one that has too much in certain areas.
What About the Run-Off Fertilizer
When using the spreader especially around the perimeter of your yard. There will always be those granules that find themselves in the driveway. What should you do with these?
The best way to handle such a case is to sweep the fertilizer. If you let it wash away with the water, then it will end up in the drainage and into the river where it causes pollution to the waterways.
Warm Season vs. Cold Season Grasses
Fertilization does depend in part on the type of grasses you have in your lawn. These can be divided into warm and cold season grasses.
With warm season grasses, you need to time your fertilization when the grass is growing. This will give it the boost it requires to get lush and green. The right time is usually during the spring.
If you have cold season grasses, then late fall is the proper time to apply fertilizer. Even while the grass may be losing condition and getting ready for the cold winter, the roots are still developing. A single application will be enough to last until spring where it will make use of already well-developed roots and grow better.
By aligning the type of grass, seasons, type of fertilizer and method of application, you can be well on your way to a healthy lush and green lawn.