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When’s The Best Time To Fertilize Your Lawn

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Its Least Effective To Apply Fertilizer To Your Yard Just Prior To A Heavy Rain

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Why? Because heavy rain waters lead to run-off and will more or less wash out your fertilizer before it has a chance to break down and be absorbed. Not only will the fertilizer be ineffective, but you will have wasted the money you put into it as well.

Its fine to spread your fertilizer before it rains as long as its more mild or light conditions. Of course, water is important for plant growth and is similarly important to helping the fertilizers nutrients break down and get absorbed through the roots.

Contrarily, its not usually healthy to fertilize your lawn during a drought. Like we said before, moisture is important for the fertilization process, so using chemical fertilizer on overly dry grass is likely to burn out your grass rather than make it grow and flourish.

When Not To Fertilize Your Lawn

Don’t apply fertilizer when a heavy rainstorm is in the forecast. A downpour may wash the fertilizer away. But if you’re expecting a moderate amount of rain to come and to fall steadily upon the earth, this is an ideal time to fertilize: It will save you from having to water the fertilizer in, yourself.

Since heat and dryness are your enemies when fertilizing a lawn, avoid applying fertilizer to your grass during periods of severe drought. Your grass is stressed at such times, increasing the likelihood that a chemical fertilizer will burn it.

When To Fertilize Transition Grasses

While warm and cool-season grasses are pretty straightforward, transition grasses depend on your specific region and grass variety.

While I listed 2 types of grass as good options for the transition zone as they can handle extreme highs and lows, many established lawns will either be warm or cool-season grasses that require nurturing through the summer or winter.

More people choose the cool-season as its easier to nurture cool-season grass through hot summers than warm-season through frigid winters, although changing climates throw a monkey wrench into that.

For the best advice, consult your local university extension office. They have a ton of local info finding the best time for your grass and region.

Buffalo Grass requires very little fertilizer if any. Too much fertilizer can kill it.

Blue-stem Grass also requires very little fertilizer, if any. It may be mixed with cool-season fescues, which will keep the lawn green in the cool-season, while blue-stem grass is green in the summer.

For warm-season and cool-season grasses, follow the guidelines above, but be aware that the months may change based on your regions climate.

How often should the lawn be fertilized?

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Lawn Fertilizer Schedule For Warm

Early spring: When the grass greens up after winter, usually late March or early April depending on the year and where you live

Early summer: When grass growth speeds up, but before the onset of intense midsummer heat, usually early June

Early fall: At least 6 8 weeks before the first expected frost, usually sometime in September

Using A Broadcast Or Rotary Spreader

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A broadcast or rotary spreader works well when you’re fertilizing larger lawn areas. Before filling the hopper, make sure it’s closed. It’s a good idea to fill it on a tarp, so you can easily gather any spilled fertilizer. Apply fertilizer around the perimeter of the lawn first, and then start to move back and forth across turf in an orderly pattern. Overlap application strips slightly to ensure that you cover the whole lawn evenly with fertilizer.

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Best Time To Apply Granular Fertilizer To Your Lawn

Granular fertilizer can either be water soluble or water insoluble which also may be called slow-release. Both types have been effectively used on lawns for may years. Water soluble granular fertilizer should be spread when grass is dry and temperatures are cool, This form of fertilizer needs to be watered in to avoid leaf burn. Slow release formulas are less likely to damage grass leaves so it isn’t essential that the grass be dry. Watering after spreading helps to move the granules into the soil where they will do the most good.

Using Granular Fertilizer And Liquid Fertilizer

Both types of fertilizer can be used on a lawn but not at the same time. For example you may want to feed slow release granular fertilizer on a cool fall day to maintain a healthy root system throughout the winter. Then, during early growth in the spring, a liquid application can help to strengthen the grass leaves and give them good uniform green color.

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State Laws About Fertilizing Lawns

Maryland protects the Chesapeake Bay from pollution by setting a cutoff date for fertilizing lawns: There is no lawn fertilizing allowed between November 16 and March 1. Many states limit phosphorus in lawn fertilizers, to cut down on the phosphorus algae bloom that pollutes streams, rivers and lakes.

How Does Fertilizing Your Lawn Work

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Fertilizer works by providing plants with the nutrients they need to grow. Fertilizing enriches the soil, from where plants and grass derive nutrition. These nutrients are taken up by the roots and then transported to the rest of the plant. The amount of fertilizer that you use will depend on the type of grass that you have, as well as the condition of your soil.

The most healthy lawns have a mix of different grasses, as this ensures that the lawn will be able to withstand a variety of conditions. If you have a lawn that is mostly made up of one type of grass, then you may need to use more fertilizer than if you had a mix. The condition of your soil also plays a role in how much fertilizer you will need to use. If your soil is very sandy, for example, then you will need to use more fertilizer than if your soil was clay-based.

If your lawn is severely struggling, then you may need to do a soil test in order to determine what nutrients are lacking. Once you know what your lawn is lacking, you can choose a fertilizer that contains those specific nutrients.

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When Should I Start Applying Fertilizer

During cold weather months, it is important for grass to maintain the integrity and strength of its root system to combat and preserve itself from the harsh winter cold and wind, so fertilizing during this period is not ideal or necessarily conducive to your lawns health. The same can be said for the hot summer months when the suns strong and intense rays can compromise the strength and integrity of the grass, which is focused on maintaining moisture and preservation as opposed to growth and propagation.

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When To Fertilize Warm

When to fertilize depends on what kind of grass you have. You want to time fertilizing so it occurs just before grass enters its peak growing phase. If you live in southern areas where lawns feature warm-season grasses, fertilize turf in late spring or early summer, just before grass kicks into high gear. Make a second application in late summer. If your warm-season lawn goes dormant in winter, don’t fertilize after the first of September.

Warm season grass types include bahia, Bermuda, St. Augustine, centipede and zoysia. Warm season grasses typically thrive in frost-free areas and grow best at temps of 75 degrees to 90 degrees.

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When To Fertilize Your Lawn

What time of year is best to fertilize your lawn depends on what type of grass you have, cool-season or warm-season. This is because the best time to fertilize is the period when the grass in question is growing most actively, and this period is different for cool-season grasses than it is for warm-season grasses. Nonetheless, there’s no one “right” fertilizer schedule. Different people have success doing it in slightly different ways. All that can be suggested is a typical schedule favored by many.

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Applying any kind of fertilizer to completely saturated soil is something you should never do. The fertilizer will end up either going down too deep for the roots to get their nutrition or running off entirely. This is bad for the environment, as it will end up in storm water draining systems. It is also a waste of money.

Have moderately moist or dry turf and your lawn will be ready to soak up every last bit of fertilizer you offer. Thats eco-friendly, and budget-friendly fertilization!

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Use The Right Spreader

When applying lawn fertilizers, always use a lawn spreader. Never spread product by hand! A broadcast spreader with a side-shield feature like the EdgeGuard® feature is great for most lawns. This makes application along the lawn’s perimeter easy by shutting off half the spreader flow, so product is only applied on the lawn and not on non-lawn areas like the driveway, sidewalk, or landscaping. A drop spreader is another option for small spaces because the application area is much narrower. Learn more about which spreader is right your yard .

Fill the spreader hopper with your lawn fertilizer, then set the spreader to the recommended setting listed on the product package. If the product package does not provide a spreader setting, it is not intended for lawn use.

Frequency Of Watering Matters

Every time you water your lawn, it reduces the amount of available fertilizer because the water will push the nutrient deeper and deeper into the soil. That is why the frequency and amount of water will affect the health of your lawn. A lawn that is over watered can look just as brown and dead as a lawn that is under watered. If you have specific questions about the right amount of watering for your lawn, I invite you to talk with one of our lawn care experts!

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Signs That Your Lawn Needs To Be Fertilized

All living things need food or nutrients to sustain life, and your lawn grass is no different. You can think of fertilizer as food for your grass, and if your lawn is not fed sufficiently, you may start to see tell-tale signs that a bit of TLC is in order. Any good lawn care plan should incorporate regular de-weeding, watering, cutting, edging and fertilizationif the latter is lacking, you could see increased weed growth, droopiness and discoloration or browning of your grass, the increased presence of patchy spots, or even places where the lawn is bare.

Creating a schedule to feed or fertilize your lawn, and using the right fertilizer for the specific type of grass that your lawn is home to, can go a long way in bringing your lackluster lawn back to life.

How Soon You Can Fertilize After Seeding Your Lawn

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Its not always after seeding that you should apply fertilizerthe best time to fertilize is right before or during the seeding process. Use a starter fertilizer with quick-release nitrogen since that will give the seeds a nutritional boost. When you make fertilizer a part of the seeding process, your grass will grow quicker and is more likely to end up healthy and lush.

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Should You Fertilize Your Lawn

There are many things to consider before answering this question. Not everyone’s goals and circumstances are the same. So the answer will vary from individual to individual.

If you want a great-looking lawn, and if you have the time, energy, and money to achieve that objective, then the answer is unequivocally yes. Proper fertilization is one factor that can make one lawn in the neighborhood stand out above the rest. Which brings us to the question, How often should you fertilize your lawn? Because, if you truly care about showcasing your lawn, you will want to fertilize it more than someone who is content with a patchy lawn. For the ultimate manicured lawn, you should fertilize it two or three times per year.

But not everyone needs a lush lawn. There are homeowners who value low maintenance over having the showiest lawn on the block. There are some homeowners who are organic gardeners, who shy away from using chemical fertilizers. Homemade compost can be applied to a lawn, instead, but there is work involved in making compost. Gardeners may value what compost is available too highly to waste it on lawns rather than on vegetable gardens. And there are some who simply hold lawns in low esteem for them, grass-covered areas are utilitarian, functioning merely as spaces for walking from point A to point B in the landscape.

Finally Apply Fertilizer In The Winter

The winter fertilizer application should you get one helps maintain color and health throughout the cold months.

Now, if you are a diehard do it yourself, you can apply the applications yourself.

However by the time you buy the needed fertilizers and chemicals and factor your time, the cost will be about the same.

Most people dont know this, but if you tackle it yourself, you should work with a good local supply company, such as your local CO-OP, or your locally owned lawn and garden shop. Heres why, typically these stores will have a more knowledgeable staff than the big box stores.

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Your Last Two Fertilizer Applications Should Take Place In The Fall

Fertilizing your lawn in fall helps restore damage that was caused by the stress of summer heat, promotes nutrient storage for use in the winter, and supports healthy root growth, which creates a healthier lawn in spring. It is best to plan for two fertilizer applications between late August and November. Leverage winters severe weather to help get rid of weeds by also scheduling a weed control application in the fall.

How To Apply Lawn Fertilizer For Best Results

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Whenever you apply fertilizer, always follow best practices for fertilizer safety. For best results, mow your lawn one to two days beforehand. Then set your spreader to the setting recommended on the product label.

  • For drop spreaders, start with two strips across your lawn’s ends. Then work back and forth, overlapping each swath slightly.
  • For broadcast spreaders, start on the outside and work in, overlapping slightly as you go.

Always shut the hopper when you stop and turn to prevent a fertilizer pile. When finished, sweep excess fertilizer off hard surfaces, such as sidewalks and driveways, to avoid iron stains and fertilizer runoff.

By following these lawn fertilizer tips, you can keep your grass at the peak of performance, beauty and health. At Pennington, we take pride in providing you with the best in lawn fertilizers and expert advice to help you have a lawn you’re proud to own. Stay connected with our email newsletter for accurate, timely tips and offers to help you make the most of your lawn and home.

*dollarweed, clover, henbit and chickweed

Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions, including specific guidance for your grass type.

Pennington is a registered trademark of Pennington Seed, Inc.

UltraGreen is a registered trademark of Central Garden & Pet Company.

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Best Time To Apply Liquid Fertilizer To Your Lawn

One advantage of liquid fertilizer is that it works quickly and can green up your lawn and any trouble spots within a few days. On the flip side, it doesn’t feed the lawn as long as granular fertilizer and needs to be applied more often. The grass should also be dry starting out since any water already present will dilute the formula and render it less effective. While granular fertilizers are designed to feed the roots, liquid fertilizer can also be used as a foliar feed for the leaves, If used when the lawn is actively growing, liquid feeds can also quickly burn the grass if applied at the wrong time.

When To Fertilizer Your Lawn In The Fall

The best time to apply your last fertilizer application is between August 15 and October 1. Ideally, your last lawn feeding should take place six to eight weeks before the average first frost in your area. So, if this date is Oct 10, like it is in Minneapolis/St. Paul, you should target August 15 to September 1 as your last application. If you live in Des Moines where the average first hard frost is October 27, then youd want to target your last fertilizer application six to eight weeks earlier, or between September 1 and Sept 15.

Planning fall fertilizer applications around average frost dates gives your lawn plenty of time to absorb all of the nutrients before it enters its dormant stage. Theres no need or benefit to carry over nutrients through the winter.

If you apply fertilizer too late, youre making your lawn stay up past its bedtime when all it wants to do is go to sleep for the year. Late fertilizing of cool-season lawn grasses will keep it actively growing when frigid weather, snow and ice usher in winter, potentially causing winter kill and disease issues next spring.

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How To Apply Lawn Fertilizer

There are several ways to apply lawn fertilizer. Using a spreader provides more even coverage than fertilizing by hand. Hand fertilizing often results in burns where the fertilizer is concentrated and pale areas that dont get as much fertilizer as they should.

Broadcast or rotary spreaders are easy to use and dont cause striping like drop spreaders. The advantage to drop spreaders is that there is no chance of overthrow getting fertilizer on streets, sidewalks, or driveways. With a drop spreader, you have to make two trips over the lawn at right angles. For example, if you make your first trip over the lawn in a north-south direction, the second trip should run east to west.

After applying the fertilizer, water the lawn thoroughly. Watering rinses the fertilizer off the grass blades so that they wont burn, and it allows the fertilizer to sink down into the soil so it can get to work. Keep kids and pets off the lawn for the amount of time recommended on the label, which is usually 24 to 48 hours.

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