Nothing says springtime and family fun like a healthy green lawn. However, not every yard has naturally thick and luxurious grass, so you may need to help it out a bit by fertilizing. But if you’re new to fertilizing, you may not know all of the dos and don’ts of the process. Fortunately, we’re here to help.
What to do when fertilizing your lawn
Before fertilizing your lawn, the first thing you need to do is get a soil test. For an at-home testing kit, you should only have to pay about $10. However, you should check with your local nursery to see if they might do this for free. Fertilizing your lawn without the results of a soil test may cost you money and waste your time, and make your yard look even worse.
Look into lawn aeration to boost your chances of success before you start fertilizing your lawn.
There are a few ways to do this, and the best one depends on the size of your property. Most people do it with a digging fork and use a core aerator afterward to clean up the mess. The aeration process makes fertilizer, water, and other necessary grass more easily reach the roots.
The best fertilizer for grass is a slow-release variety, so nutrients break down more slowly and your lawn will stay healthy for longer. Fast-acting lawn feed may yield quick results, but it can also create burnout or produce weaker root growth. Lawn starter fertilizer often has equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, but formulations with extra nitrogen are also available.
Sun vs. shade fertilizing
Plants in the shade generally require fewer nutrients than those in direct sunlight., Too much nitrogen on shaded grass can encourage too much leaf growth and make it more susceptible to damage from foot traffic. Grass growing in full sun typically need 4 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per 1,000 square feet per year, while those in the shade would need about 2. However, you
should always split these applications to avoid putting more than 1lb per 1,000 sq. ft. of nitrogen down at once or risk burning your lawn.
Additionally, areas of your lawn that tend to be used more will need more fertilizer to withstand the wear and tear. This includes places with heavy foot traffic, areas where cars may be parked, or areas around a fire pit.
What not to do when fertilizing your lawn
If you’re wondering about the best winter lawn fertilizer, the answer is — none! Unless you live somewhere with year-round temps in the 70s, winter fertilizing is off the table. Dormant grass can’t absorb nutrients, but cold-tolerant weeds will lap up the nitrogen ASAP and get a head start on invading your lawn.
Pay attention while fertilizing your lawn near a hard surface like a sidewalk, patio, or pavement. Try to avoid scattering grass fertilizer across such surfaces. The fertilizer has nothing to keep it in place on hard surfaces, which means it can run off into nearby waterways.
Don’t mix lawn fertilizer with pesticides or weed killers. There are certain fertilizers, such as low-nitrogen fertilizer, that can help with bug and weed problems. Most bug and pest repellents and mixed fertilizers are designed to deal with things that aren’t necessarily present, and using a lawn treatment you don’t need is probably a waste of money.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What month is best for lawn fertilization?
The answer to this depends on where you live. Once temps are consistently in the 60s and 70s, grass growth takes off. The best lawn fertilizer for spring supports new blade growth while also encouraging a healthy root system. In some areas of the country, you can start fertilizing in March, while in others, you may have to wait until April or even May.
- Is it best to fertilize your lawn before or after you cut it?
Fertilize your lawn after you’ve finished all other lawn care tasks, including mowing. That way, the fertilizer has a chance to get absorbed and do its job before getting moved around or displaced by other things, like mowing blades. Nitrogen for grass must be absorbed into the roots for it to help your grass, so keeping it in place is essential.
- Is every two weeks too often to fertilize my lawn?
While you could fertilize this often, it will lead to over-fertilization in most cases, so we don’t recommend it. You could put a small amount of fertilizer down more often, but there’s no benefit to doing this, and it just causes unnecessary work. If you overdo the amount even slightly, it can cause burning, excessive leaf growth at the expense of the roots, and even lead to groundwater contamination. An ideal lawn fertilization program makes the most of each application without overdoing it.
- What is the best fertilizer to thicken grass?
Fertilizing your grass according to the instructions on the package and the tips we provided above is one excellent step in the right direction. Make sure that you don’t under- or over-water your lawn and trim it regularly. Potassium can help willing lawn withstand foot traffic, but it needs to be balanced with other nutrients to be effective
Get a winning yard with Victory Lawnscape!
For quality lawn fertilization services you can trust, choose Victory Lawnscape. We offer mowing, landscaping, and lawn fertilizer services that help your property look its best. We can put you on a fertilizer schedule that works for you and your lawn. Skip the hassle and complexity of wading through dozens of products at your local lawn-and-garden store, and talk to us instead!