When to Add Fertilizer to Your Lawn

A  seed  and  fertilizer spreader out on a lawn

Adding fertilizer to your lawn can be a surprisingly tricky subject. You may be wondering, when is the best time to add fertilizer and what are the specific guidelines to follow?

When to add fertilizer to your lawn will depend highly on whether you are growing summer grasses or spring/fall grasses. The former should be fertilized in the summer months, while the latter are better fertilized in the cooler months.

Below, we’ll take a deeper dive into the key markers for knowing when to fertilize your lawn.

When Should You Fertilize Your Lawn?

Lawns should ideally be fertilized between two and four times a year. A more specific fertilization schedule will depend on what type of grass your lawn consists of.

Common types of summer grass include Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Carpetgrass, while common types of spring/fall grass include Kentucky bluegrass and Perennial ryegrass.

Fertilizing Summer Grasses

Since summer grasses grow primarily in the summer months, an optimal fertilization schedule will involve adding fertilizer to your lawn later in the spring and a second time during their summer growth season. 

For ideal results, you’ll also want to give your lawn some additional fertilization in the early fall months. A breakdown of this schedule might consist of fertilizing the lawn at the beginning of spring, adding fertilizer again in the summer, and one more time at the beginning of fall.

Fertilizing Spring and Fall Grasses

As the name suggests, spring and fall grasses are best fertilized during those seasons. Ideally, the gardener should fertilize the lawn during early spring and again in early fall. Importantly, these grasses can only grow in cooler temperatures, so those who live in summer climates will be happier with a summer grass type instead.

This schedule would look something like fertilizing in early spring and then using more fertilizer at the beginning and end of the fall months.

Scheduling Lawn Fertilization

The exact time of year to fertilize your lawn can depend, but generally one should stick with the 2-4 times a year formula and break it down by season, as laid out above. 

Additionally, it’s best to fertilize your lawn either in the morning or evening. When the sun isn’t beating down on the grass, it will have an easier time growing properly. 

Another good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to fertilize your lawn shortly after mowing its grass, as this stretches out the time between fertilization and the next time the grass is mowed.

Steps for Fertilizing Your Lawn

The first thing to keep in mind after deciding on your fertilization schedule is to pick the best fertilizer for your lawn. Generally, you can do this by researching the grass type and what type of fertilizer helps it grow best.

Next, you can apply the fertilizer. This process will look different depending on which type of fertilizer you are using (i.e., granular or liquid).

Finally, you can continue mowing and caring for your lawn according to your typical routine.

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