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Is It Too Early To Fertilize My Lawn

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Bermuda Zoysia & Centipede

Last Fertilization of the season for lawns / is it too late to apply fertilizer / Fertilize schedule

Early Spring

Omit fertilizer for these months. Your grass will be dormant, and you dont want to promote growth during this time.

Pre-emergent exception: You may apply a low nitrogen fertilizer and pre-emergent combo from late February to early March to prevent weed seeds from germinating. An example of a low nitrogen ratio is 0-0-7 with pre-emergent.

Limestone: During early spring, conduct a soil test to determine if the pH of your soil is too acidic. If the results of your soil test pH are too low, apply lime to your lawn. We recommend Pelletized Dolomitic Limestone.


When all of your grass is green and completely out of dormancy, apply 16-4-8 + Iron to Bermudagrass and Zoysiagrass.

Since Centipedegrass likes low nitrogen, apply 5-10-30 + Iron to it. Centipede fertility is a little different than other lawns so read our Fertilizer Tricks for your Centipede Lawn.

Organic Lawn Care Alternative: Instead of applying fertilizer, topdress your lawn with Soil3 organic humus compost. This will act as one application of fertilizer for the year and cut down on your chemical use.

Mid- Summer

Apply 16-4-8 + Iron as your final application of fertilizer for the year.

Fall and Winter:

How Often Is Too Often

The last thing your lawn needs is constant overfeeding. It does nothing to benefit your turf grass, and can be damaging to the environment. For most lawns, applying fertilizer once or twice a year is enough to keep your grass green and healthy. Precisely when you apply fertilizer depends partly on your climate, but mostly on the type of grass you have. The key is to fertilize during the season when your grass is doing the most growing.

Less Grass Fertilizer More Even Distribution

Dial back the rate of lawn fertilizer applications to 1/2, then make two passes with your spreader at right angles.

“I bet at least 3 out of every 5 homeowners use way more lawn fertilizer than they should.”

Many retailers promote a four-step lawn fertilizer schedule for homeowners. Fertilizing more than four times a year is overkill. In fact, most homeowners could get by with two every year. You can cut back on the amount of grass fertilizer you need by knowing when to fertilize lawn based on time of year. More on that later.

If you apply too much lawn fertilizer, especially in sandy soils, a good share of it will leach through the soil and make its way into our precious groundwater, lakes, streams and wetlands. Lawn grasses only need a certain amount of food. More isnt always better.

Unlike us humans, lawn grasses dont know how to stop eating when theyre full! This luxury consumption of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium actually makes the lawn grasses weak and more susceptible to disease. Excessive grass fertilizer will create too much thatch, which will ultimately choke out your lawn. Too much lawn fertilizer also means youll be mowing far more often than necessary. Too much mowing means excessive soil compaction, exhaust and noise pollution and excessive wear and tear on your mower.

When it comes to a lawn fertilizer schedule, applying more than four times a year is a waste. Save time and money by being more judicious in your use of lawn fertilizer.

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Be Wary Of Fertilizer Application Rates

Across the board, most fertilizer manufacturers are overzealous about their recommended dose and feeding schedule. Start light with half the recommended amount and rate of fertilizer. You can reapply if you don’t like the results. Over a season or two, you’ll get a clear sense of how much it takes to get a healthy lawn.

A healthy lawn will be a relatively light shade of bright green. A lawn that is a deep, almost blackish green, has been very heavily fertilized. The dark green color comes from a lot of nitrogen-based fertilizer used on the lawn. It is highly likely that some of that fertilizer has run off into the streets, storm sewers, and has made its way into local streams and rivers.

My Tips For Even Coverage

Should I Fertilize My Lawn In The Winter?

To make sure that you apply your fertilizer evenly, figure out the amount you need based on the square footage of your lawn, then split that fertilizer quantity in half.

Spread half of it in one direction and spread the other half in the opposite pattern . To picture this, imagine the pattern on a checkerboard.

If your lawn is on the larger side, you can use a broadcast spreader that has a side-shield feature. This kind of spreaders side-shield feature means that you will have an easier time applying along the perimeter of the lawn. It will help to make sure that none of the fertilizer gets on sidewalk or driveway .

If you have a small lawn, you might be okay with a drop spreader, though personally I still prefer using a broadcast spreader.

Plan Your Path

When fertilizing your lawn, I always start out by creating a header strip around the lawns perimeter with the side-shield of my broadcast spreader engaged.

Next, work back and forth east to west, then north to south, spreading half of the fertilizer in each direction so you get even distribution across your entire yard.

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You Shouldnt Apply Most Fertilizers To Damp Grass

One reason why you shouldnt apply fertilizer in the morning is the fact that the dew on your lawn will make it too damp. With most fertilizers, you ought to make sure that your grass is dry before you apply fertilizer.

This way your fertilizer falls down to the turf below the grass blades, and doesnt stick to your grass .

There are some fertilizers on the market that you can use on wet grass, but with most youre better off fertilizing your lawn when its dry.

If you want to be able to fertilize your lawn when your grass is wet , you will have to use a fertilizer that can handle that kind of moisture.

I use Milorganite on my lawn, which is a slow-release organic fertilizer with iron. Its a product that does fine with a little bit of moisture, doesnt burn your lawn, and is safe for kids and pets. I consider it a staple fertilizer that you really cant get wrong, and recommend it to most homeowners who just want something to feed and green up their yard without any complicated math.

When Is It Too Cold To Fertilize Lawn

The best time to fertilize your lawn and how often to do it will depend on the type of grass you want to grow. When your grass is actively growing, it needs enough nitrogen and nutrients in equal supply throughout the season to do well. Fertilizing the grass when it is dormant is not recommended. But when is it too cold to fertilize a lawn?

Generally, the ideal time to fertilize the lawn is in the spring. This is because the best temperature to fertilize a lawn is around 12C and rising. Anything below that and it will be too cold to fertilize your lawn. Understand that the temperature is that of the soil and not the air.

Spring is when the grass begins to grow, and the lilacs are blossoming. Depending on your location, the first application of your choice of fertilizer is in mid-April. Moreover, a fall application can serve your lawn well either as a starter or winter feeding for the grass.

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Weed Control & Fertilization

Our Lawn Care Program includes up to 7 applications of weed control and lawn fertilization to achieve the beautifully vibrant, green lawn youve always dreamed of!

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  • Fertilize Turf To Help Heal Damaged Lawns

    When is the best time to fertilize your lawn in the spring

    Damaged areas in turf will recover more quickly with two applications of fertilizer in the fall. The first application should be made in early fall . This will help turf recover from damage that occurred during the growing season. Nitrogen and potash stimulate turf growth and repair, and harden off the turf for winter. Fertilizer should be applied at a rate to deliver 0.5 kg of nitrogen per 100 m2.

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    Answers To The Most Commonly Asked Fall Fertilizing Questions:

    During fall, best practices say that September is the best time to fertilize your lawn. So that means, right about now you should be taking steps to get your lawn ready for fall and winter. Even more important than the September fertilizer application is the second one that should take place at the end of October or early November.

    This last application of fall lawn fertilizer before the winter can make all the difference in the health of your lawn next spring. Taking the time to fertilize in the fall will strengthen your plants and lawns roots, giving them a strong base on which to thrive next spring.

    The team at Spring-Green is here to help you prep your lawn for fall and winter with fertilization services and so much more. Since 1977, weve helped our customers care for their residential and commercial lawn care with an unwavering dedication to quality. For any of your lawn care needs, contact one of our neighborhood lawn care professionals to get started.

    Leave The Lawn Cut At The Right Height

    Raise the mowing height slightly in the fall. Rooting depth is proportional to mowing height – the longer the leaves, the deeper the roots. Longer grass blades provide some insulation for the crown of the grass plant. However, if the grass is too long going into the winter, it will become matted, which encourages winter diseases such as pink and grey snow mould.

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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.

    Should You Fertilize Before Or After Cutting Lawn

    Lawn Fertilizer

    When fertilizing a lawn, it is best to apply fertilizer after the lawn has been mowed so it has a few days to absorb the fertilizer. Wait until late summer, fall or early spring to fertilize the lawn. These are the optimal times to apply fertilizer. Mow the lawn and leave a small bit of grass clippings on the lawn.

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    Apply A Late Season Fertilizer Application

    To ensure good winter survival and early-spring green-up, make this fertilizer application when the turf has stopped growing but is still green, usually in mid- to late October. Timing is critical. Fertilizer applied too early will promote succulent growth in the fall that will make the lawn more susceptible to winter injury. Fertilizer applied too late will be of no benefit to the turf. If you make a late-fall fertilizer application, spring fertilization can be delayed until late May to early June. The application rate for this time of the year is the same as for the early fall application .

    What About Fall Fertilizing

    If you only wanted to fertilize once a year and you had to choose between spring and fall, fall should win every time. With cool-season grass, the fall is the most vital time to fertilize your lawn. Treat your lawn twice in the fall, and NEVER skip the late fall fertilization. Mark late-fall with a bright red star on your calendar for your lawn fertilizing schedule. You do not want to miss it!

    Since it is the last fertilization of the year, most people tend to skip this period, but it is actually the best time to fertilize! Roots are still active through December in this area of Ohio, and giving the soil nutrients will ensure strong root growth. Like I mentioned before, this fertilizer will still be active through early spring. This means that your spring grass will be beautiful, green, and healthy! A good time to do your last fertilization is about 6 weeks before the first frost. To make the best out of your fall fertilization, you may want to aerate your lawn and overseed as well.

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    Remove Fallen Tree Leaves Before Snowfall

    If fallen leaves are not removed, the lawn will not get light and will eventually die. An alternative to leaf removal is pulverizing tree leaves with a mulching mower and letting them decompose on your lawn. Research has shown that a layer of tree leaves up to 15 cm deep can be mulched in a lawn without adversely affecting it. Mow dry leaves with a mulching mower with sharp mower blades.

    Late Afternoon Or Early Evening Is Best

    WHEN and HOW to FERTILIZE your lawn

    The late afternoon or early evening is the best time of day to fertilize your lawn. With that said, you should never fertilize if there is direct hot sunlight on your lawn. This can lead to burning. I recommend that you never apply fertilizer in very hot weather, so waiting until things cool down at the end of the day is usually best.

    The reason why late afternoon or early evening is best for applying fertilizer is because its the time of day at which the lawn is less likely to be moist.

    A lot of people wonder if you should fertilize after a rainfall, or if you need to water in your fertilizer.

    Well, it depends somewhat on the type of lawn fertilizer youre using.

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    How Long Can Fertilizer Sit Before Watering

    If your lawn gets liquid fertilizer, wait until it dries before watering, about 2-4 hours. If its granular fertilizer, water right away. One exception: if you also got spot weed treatments at the same time, wait for that to dry before watering, or the water will wash off the weed killer before it can work.

    How Often Should You Fertilize A Lawn

    For most lawns, applying fertilizer once or twice a year is enough to keep your grass green and healthy. Precisely when you apply fertilizer depends partly on your climate, but mostly on the type of grass you have. The key is to fertilize during the season when your grass is doing the most growing.

    Correspondingly, can you over fertilize your lawn?

    Yes, you have damaged your lawn, but all is not lost. When you kill or damage your grass with fertilizer, also known as fertilizer burn, you need to find ways to leach the excess fertilizer out of the ground and then reseed the damaged patches.

    Subsequently, question is, what is the best fertilizer for lawns? The Top 5 Best Lawn Fertilizers

  • Scotts Green Max Fertilizer. If you want easy and quick green grass, then Scotts Green Max is the fertilizer for you.
  • Miracle-Gro Lawn Food. This is one of the most popular lawn fertilizers for a reason.
  • Safer Brand 9333 Ringer Fertilizer.
  • Milorganite 0636 Fertilizer.
  • Scotts Turf Builder.
  • Considering this, what happens if you fertilize your lawn too early?

    If you feed too early in spring the nitrogen likely promotes rapid growth of cool-season weeds. You don’t want that. If you fertilize too late in fall, the grass is likely to be less hardy as it enters cold weather and more susceptible to winter injury.

    When should I feed my lawn?

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    Dont Fertilize Your Lawn Too Early

    With a few spring-like days recently, many of us will soon have spring fever and want to start working on our gardens and landscapes. One common question that comes to our office is, Can I fertilize my lawn now?

    Even though warmer temperatures cause people to look for things to do outside, fertilizing the lawn too early is a mistake many make.

    The goal with fertilizing the lawn is to fertilize when the grass is actively growing. In late winter and early spring you may see a little bit of green in some types of warm-season grasses, but the majority of warm-season lawns are still dormant at this time. Warm-season grasses are actively growing during the summer months, thus lawns should only be fertilized during the summer months.

    This would also include not applying weed and feed lawn products too early in the spring as well. Since weed and feed lawn products include a fertilizer along with a herbicide, applying it would mean that you are adding fertilizer to your lawn.

    The first step to fertilizing a lawn properly is to start with a soil test. Soil test boxes can be picked up from any agricultural extension office.

    A soil test will be the most accurate way to know what nutrients are in the soil and what the soil pH is. The soil test will allow you to know if you have too much or too little of a nutrient.

    When to fertilize your lawn all depends on what type of grass you have.

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