Fertilizing Cool Season Grasses
Cool-season grasses can grow across three seasons, late fall, spring, and sometimes winter. As a result, you might need to fertilize your cool-season grass lawn up to three times per year.
However, most lawns will become completely dormant in the winter, especially if you live somewhere with relatively harsh winters .
For most lawns with cool-season grass, plan to fertilize your lawn in the fall and spring.
If you notice that your lawn continues to grow in the winter, adjust and fertilize it three times per year twice in the fall and one in the spring.
Fall months will be when grassroots intake the most nutrients to prepare for winter, so the lawn only needs a light application of fertilizer in the spring.
Most Lawns Only Need Fertilizer Once Or Twice A Year
With some exceptions, your lawn likely only needs to be fertilized one to three times per year. If thats a surprising number, you might have confused fertilizer with plant food. Its a common misconception, especially among those who are new to lawn care.
Applying Fertilizer To Your Lawn
When it comes to applying lawn fertilizer in your yard, you need to check the following points in your mind:
- Thorough watering At least two days before you intend to fertilize your lawn, make sure you put across a thorough watering and then allow it to dry. Avoid fertilizing when you find the grass is wet. Also, avoid doing it when you expect heavy rains in the coming 2-3 days.
- Choose the right spreader You can find three common types of spreaders for home gardening. These include rotary and drop spreaders. The former works very smoothly when you deal with significant areas to fertilize, while the latter is suitable for regulated fertilizer application. Check for more Fertilizer Application Equipment.
- Fill the spreader In this step, you need to fill your spreader from the fertilizer bag until you settle down with the process. Using split fertilizer can give you good ground.
- Start moving over the lawn Check the perimeter of your yard to cover the entire lawn. You can move the spreader over an orderly row over the lawn. You may find some rows overlapping, but ensure that you cover everything.
- Covering accidents If you find any spot in your lawn with too much fertilizer, make sure you spread them using a broom to move over a bigger spot. You can apply as much water as you want to ensure that the fertilizer gets ample ground and you do not burn the blades of the grass.
These steps help in effectively applying the fertilizer.
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How Much And Which Fertilizer To Use
Lawn fertilizers fall into three categories: granular slow-release, liquid water-soluble, organic, and synthetic. In most cases, granular slow-release fertilizer is the best to use because it slowly feeds and releases nitrogen into the grass over a period of months.
For the amount of fertilizer to use, the rule of thumb is to apply no more than one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn in a single feeding. How this translates into the exact fertilizer amount depends on the percentage of nitrogen in the fertilizer. If you use a fertilizer with a high percentage of nitrogen, such as 30-0-4, you will need less fertilizer than when using a 24-0-5 fertilizer. Always follow the directions on the fertilizer label.
The only way to know for sure how much fertilizer your lawn needs is to do a soil test in a specialized laboratory . Everything else is mere guesswork and overdoing the fertilizer can be more detrimental to the lawn than using no fertilizer at all. While you can fix an overfertilized lawn, in the absence of a soil test, being a minimalist is the safest approach to avoid problems in the first place.
What If It Rains After I Fertilize My Lawn
In general, after you have done your fertilizing, rain is considered an ideal situation because it ensures that the fertilizer mixes well with the ground or soil, and the lawn gets the necessary nitrogen.
However, immediate downpouring just after you fertilize the lawn is not useful or healthy for the lawn. We also have to understand that there is a difference between average light rain and heavy rainfall.
Heavy rain can easily washout or flush out the fertilizer. Especially if you have Sandy light soil, the heavy rain will damage the fertilizer immediately. But for heavy clay soils, it can be less problematic since clay soils tend to hold moisture and water better.
Watering is essential after fertilizer application is made, but we need to maintain an appropriate level based on the soil type and its fertilizer holding capacity.
So, I suggest keeping an eye on the weather forecast before planning on the fertilizing to avoid any heavy downpouring immediately after the fertilizing. But light rain is okay since it will help the fertilizer get into the soil and keep it from gassing off.
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How Often Can You Fertilize Your Lawn
Having a healthy, beautiful green lawn is something that all homeowners wish for. But thats not an easy task, and it takes dedication with care and maintenance to finally have such a dream lawn. You also have to understand the proper fertilizing routine since fertilizers give additional nutrients to keep your lawn healthy and green.
However, it can be harmful and a waste of money if you are not well aware of the fertilizing process basics. Knowing how often can you fertilize your lawn will let you prevent any overdoing or underdoing.
Thats why I have decided to give you a hassle-free precise guideline so that you can easily take the best care of your lawn.
The Best Fertilizers To Use
One of the best fertilizers to use is the slow release. When you rely on this type of fertilizer, you can find the grass green that goes without growing too quickly. During the spring, the mixture of around 20-5-10) is very suitable for use.
At the same time, you have the choice of performing the soil pH test before you start the process. Relying on pH tests can offer you a quick potassium outcome. You should choose the test that offers the desired results.
In conclusion, the frequency in which you should fertilize your yard depends upon your location and the kind of grass you have on your lawn. The best way is to follow the thumb rule that suggests your yard should start looking too green.
The warm-season grasses demand greater frequency for fertilization, especially during the summer. You can apply fertilizer to your lawn every 4-5 weeks. However, the cool-season grasses only need fertilization two times a year. These include the early spring days, and the next is during the fall season. Eden, a known professional lawn care service provider, can help you by offering quality fertilization solutions. You can consult them for effective lawn maintenance.
Lawn care is all in the details, and we take care of every single one to give you the lawn of your dreams. Contact us today!
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Types Of Fertilizer To Use On Lawns
Here are the basic types of fertilizer to use on lawns:
Slow-release You dont have to use slow release fertilizers as often, but they are usually more expensive.
Fast-release You get quick results with a fast-release fertilizer, but you have to apply them in smaller amounts and more frequently. You can burn your lawn with a fast-release fertilizer if you use too much.
Weed and feed Try to identify your weeds before using a weed and feed product and make sure your weed is listed on the product label. Take special care around trees, shrubs, and garden plants.
Organic materials such as compost and manure The essential nutrients arent as concentrated in these types of materials, so you have to use a lot. Compost or dry manure before applying it to the lawn, and be aware that some manures, particularly horse manure, may contain weed seeds.
Liquid fertilizers These arent recommended because they are hard to apply evenly and require frequent applications.
Things You Do After Your First Use Of Lawn Fertilizer
Once you apply fertilizer, you have to keep a few tips in mind. Have a look:
- Avoid using the lawn for at least 24 hours after the fertilization process. Keep away the kids and pets from the grass till you find things dry, and once you find the soil has absorbed fertilizers.
- Avoid mowing for at least two days. The reason is simple: it can hamper the setting of fertilization.
These are basic things to keep in mind once you apply the fertilizer.
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Why Fertilize Your Lawn In Fall The Best Fall Month And Time Of Day To Fertilize
Summer heat is stressful on our lawns. Falls cooler temperatures provide the perfect setting for lawn to regain strength.
Fall is the best and most important time to fertilize your lawn because:
- Falls morning dew delivers moisture to help turf absorb the fertilizer.
- The grass has a chance to build stamina before a chilly winter.
- Supporting root growth in fall leads to a healthier, greener lawn in spring.
While fall is naturally good for feeding our lawn, you can deliver an extra oomph by fertilizing as best as you can, too.
How Often To Fertilize A Lawn According To The Experts
According to The Grass People , lawns need feeding at least twice annually, as part of your spring lawn care and autumn lawn care routines. They add that you can also fertilize your lawn in mid-summer to give it a boost through the hottest months, but this is optional.
Wait until the grass has started growing before you apply the springtime feed, they advise. The RHS adds that this should be a proprietary spring or summer lawn fertilizer , applied at the manufacturer’s recommended rates. These are high in nitrogen so will help the grass grow strongly and suppress weeds and moss. Remember that lawn fertilizer usually needs to be applied to damp grass, or at least when rain is expected.
Feeding a lawn twice a year will help keep it in top condition
Around midsummer, a quick-release fertilizer will give your lawn a boost for a good few weeks, The Grass People add, and can help it maintain a verdant hue. Use one that is specifically designed to be used in spring or summer.
Alternatively, you can mix sulfate of ammonia with four times its weight of dry soil, says the RHS. Apply it to your lawn when conditions are cool and moist, and water it in.
These sorts of fertilizers should not be applied once summer is over. As the RHS explains, they will encourage leafy growth which may then become damaged by winter weather. Instead, look for an autumn-specific lawn feed that will keep it strong and healthy throughout the colder seasons.
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Fertilization After Seeding Your Lawn
Opting for fertilization is not a good idea once you have completed your seeding on your lawn. Instead, you should try the opposite, which means the best time to apply fertilization is just before seeding. Make sure you only rely on starter fertilizer as you start using it.
It helps get an instant release of nitrogen which will help you enjoy the best of the seeding process. It will then help in getting a good nutritional boost. So, when you follow this schedule, you will likely see your grass overgrowing. In a nutshell, you get green, lush and healthy grass in your yard.
How Often Should You Fertilize Your Grass
Typically, you should only need to fertilize your grass an average of two times a year .
However, this all depends on the type of fertilizer you use . So the key here is to decide how often youre able to fertilize and then pick a product based on that. But if youre like the average homeowner, then youll probably want to fertilize as little as possible, which means youll need to choose a long-lasting, slow-release fertilizer.
Pro Tip: A longer lasting fertilizer is typically healthier for your lawn since it requires fewer applications.
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When To Apply Popular Us Fertilizers
Below is a guide detailing how often to apply popular U.S. lawn fertilizers such as Scotts or Pennington. It also states the key features of the fertilizer. Please note that the table only lists the multi-purpose fertilizers. There are fertilizers available for specific grass types such as St Augustine or Bermuda however, the products below are suitable for all types of grass.
Please note that the table below includes Amazon Affiliate links.
*NPK = Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium
When To Apply Fertilizer
The timing and frequency of the fertilization depend upon the types of grass you have in your yard. Generally, we have two types of grass warm-season and cool-season grasses. Let us check when these common types of grass need fertilizer.
- Warm-Season Grasses These are often found in the southern states and mostly considered during the summer season. The grasses in this category include Zoysiagrass, Carpetgrass, Bermudagrass and St. Augustine grass. When it comes to finding the right moment to fertilize them, it all starts during the late spring season when the grass turns lush green. You can even fertilize the grass during the summer season. However, you should avoid fertilizing during the fall season. Fertilizing it too late in the year can weaken the grass during winter when it is dormant.
- Cool-Season Grasses These grasses, including bentgrass, ryegrass, fescue grass and Kentucky bluegrass, grow primarily during spring. Hence you have the option to fertilize when the grass is actively growing and especially when you intend to mow it. When you see the temperature dropping during the fall season, it is always a good idea to wait till the first week of May and then fertilize these grasses. Choosing this time will reduce the risk of grass burns due to chemical use. However, you should fertilize it for around six weeks before the winter season. Carrying out the fertilization late during the fall can weaken the lawn.
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How Do I Know How Often To Fertilize Lawns
If you feed too little you wont feed your lawn with the nutrients it needs, and it may turn brittle and yellow. Apply too much fertilizer, or over fertilize, too early or late, and you can burn the blades or cause excessive grass growth.
Most lawns will do fine with fertilizing one or two times a year, in the early spring and the fall during the growing season, but this depends on the type of lawn you have.
Some people do it four times per year. In this case, we recommend keeping in mind the big holidays to do it: around Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Halloween.
Depending on your lawn, you can feed up to once every four or five weeks if using synthetic fertilizers. If you have a slow-release fertilizer that is plant based or organic, you can space out the applications for eight to 10 weeks. Never feed in intervals of two weeks, you will damage your grass.
Avoid lawn fertilizing in the peak temperatures of the summer. The heat and blazing sun together with the fertilizers can damage your grass by causing lawn burn.
How Often Should You Fertilize A Lawn
You should fertilize a lawn two to three times a year: in spring after the last frosts have passed to help with healthy growth in high summer to help it withstand hot weather and to restore color and in fall to help grass withstand the onslaught of winter. If your lawn needs help, an early summer feed, perhaps in May, won’t hurt either. Do follow the manufacturer’s instructions of the lawn fertilizer you have used to get the pacing between feeds right.
‘Generally speaking, lawn food should be applied three times a year from March to October when the grass is actively growing, but lawns should be watered more regularly, particularly during the summer months,’ agrees Angharad James, product expert at Phostrogen®.
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When To Fertilize Warm
The best time to fertilize warm-season grasses is between late-spring to late-summer, when these grasses are growing most vibrantly.
apply any amendments as required by soil test results and/or compost tea.
Last-spring: fertilize in June. If using synthetic fertilizer, start your 4-to-6 week fertilizer schedule. If using compost, use a lighter top-up, if you choose. Warm-season grass will begin growing actively when soil temperatures reach 65F, which is usually around April.
Late-summer: give one final fertilizer in August while the grass is still growing vibrantly to prepare the winter dormancy grass.
If youve overseeded with cool-season grasses, you may need to fertilize once more in November, when they grow more vigorously. If youve given your lawn a good compost feeding, though, this might not be necessary.
And if you have centipede grass, youre in luck! Centipede grass doesnt like extra nitrogen, so you dont have to fertilize.
What Is The Best Lawn Fertilizer For Early Spring
A longer-lasting fertilizer is typically healthier for your lawn in the spring, since it requires fewer applications. Nitrogen is the most important nutrient, but keep in mind that there are fast-release and controlled-release nitrogen sources. To check what the fertilizer contains, just look in the guaranteed analysis section on the back of the bag. Key terms to look for include controlled-release, slow-release, slowly-available, or water-insoluble nitrogen. Some specific types that may be listed include ureaform, sulfur-coated urea, polymer-coated urea, and IBDU . Several organic nitrogen sources are controlled-release if you prefer a more natural, less artificial choice. Most quality lawn fertilizers offer a balance of fast and controlled release sources to offer a fertilizer that will provide some quick color and some long-lasting nitrogen.
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