Cool-season grasses, like Kentucky bluegrass, are more likely to thrive in Michigan than any other type of grass. They’re quite easy to care for, and proper lawn care will keep them coming back after every winter. Correctly using fertilizer plays an important role in proper lawn care. So, when is the best time to fertilize your lawn?
Spring Lawn Fertilization
Starting in February to April is ideal, but if the weather interferes then it’s best to wait until March to April instead. Because fertilizers are water-soluble they will wash away in ground that is frozen or heavily saturated with water.
Eventually, your lawn will use up the energy it has reserved. Using fertilizer again in late spring will help replenish that and keep it looking healthy. The ideal time for the second round of fertilizer is April to June; however, if the first application was in late spring then you should wait 6-8 weeks before the second application.
Excess fertilizer increases the amount of salt in the ground, which is harmful to beneficial organisms which live in the ground. It can also cause discoloration of the grass. If you accidentally spill or use too much, remove as much as you’re able to. Afterward, water the area right away to rinse off the grass and remove the salt before it can build up.
Summer Lawn Fertilization
Come June or July you should apply another round. Early summer fertilizer is important because it’s the harshest season for your grass. Heat and drought make it more prone to discoloration, so fertilizing it now helps it maintain color. Aside from the heat, there are insects and foot traffic. It may need some extra water, which can easily be given through a well-maintained sprinkler.
By August or September, the end of summer or the beginning of autumn, it’s advised to apply an additional round to aid in growing new roots.
Fall Lawn Fertilization
September or October will be the time for your final application of fertilizer. This one is particularly important because it gives you grass the nutrients it will need to survive the winter. The cool nights and warm days of autumn in Michigan are ideal for helping your grass prepare for the months ahead. If given the proper amount your lawn will start the new year with very firm roots.
Once frost begins to form you don’t need to add any more fertilizer until spring. Cool-season grasses don’t need the additional nutrients in the wintertime because they are dormant, much like bears in hibernation. But be sure to have plenty on hand once spring rolls around. Your grass will be hungry when it wakes up!