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How To Fertilize The Lawn

How To Apply Fertilizer To Your Lawn

How To Fertilize Your Lawn | The Home Depot

There are a number of ways to apply fertilizer. It all depends on how much work youre willing or unwilling to do. And, also how big your lawn is. The bigger your lawn, the less practical it will be not to use any kind of tool.

If you use liquid fertilizer, using a handheld spray hose is a great way apply it. This is a popular type of fertilizer with many households because its very easy to apply.

The hard part about liquid fertilizer is that Its not easy to apply evenly. Youll need to get a feel of how much you spread and try not to overdo it for risk of fertilizer burn.

Spreaders are a great way of controlling how much fertilizer you apply. Theyre ideal for most lawns. But, may not be practical for smaller ones since you may not want to spend extra cash for it.


That said, spreaders allow you to apply and distribute the fertilizer evenly. As long as you keep track on how many passes you do and dont overlap, youre good to go.

With spreaders, you have the option of broadcast and drop spreaders, which differ in the way the apply the fertilizer.

Should I Fertilize My Lawn Before Or After Mowing

Ideally, youll want to mow and rake before fertilizing so that excess lawn waste is removed, allowing the fertilizer to have an easier time reaching the soil. Aerating your soil before fertilizing can also help. 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.

What Type Of Fertilizer Should You Use

The type of fertilizer you need also depends on your location, the type of grass you have and the condition of your soil. Zuercher recommends taking a soil test of the yard to figure out the nutrients the soil lacks and thus what nutrients you need to add back into it through fertilizer. This will help guide you on your fertilizer selection.

You can find both at-home and mail-in soil tests. Fall soil tests allow you to better understand what your soil needs during the fall and winter months to help maintain healthy roots, as well as help give you an idea of what your lawn will need in the spring and summer months. Through regular soil tests, youll better understand the impact each season has on your lawn and provide insights into how to properly maintain it.


For cool-season grasses like fescue and bluegrass, which actively grow during cooler months, you want to select a fertilizer rich in nitrogen. Nitrogen promotes the growth of healthy, green grass. Look for slow-release nitrogen fertilizer. This aids in even growth throughout the season instead of hitting the soil with nitrogen all at once.

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Clean Up After Yourself

After fertilizing the lawn, sweep up any excess granules on the driveway and other hard surfaces and throw them in the trash. If you leave excess fertilizer out, rainwater will eventually carry it into natural bodies of water, polluting them with chemicals.

Remove the leftover fertilizer from the spreader and put it back in the bag, then store it in a cool, dry place far from the curious reach of pets and children.


Once the fertilizer spreader is empty, open the hopper and spray down the whole machine with a hose. Store your fertilizer spreader inside so it doesnt rust.

When Exactly Should You Fertilize The Lawn

Organic Lawn Fertilizer

The best time to fertilize your lawn in the fall will vary depending on where you live. Mid-September through mid-October typically works for most places in the country. Grant Zuercher, owner of Turf Team in Springdale, Ark., says you generally want to make sure you fertilize about 2 to 3 weeks before the ground freezes from the first frost of the season.

The further north you are, the earlier youll fertilize. If you plan on putting out a pre-emergent weed killer to fight off cool-season weeds, water your fertilizer to allow it to soak in, then wait a few days before applying the pre-emergent.

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Where And When Should Fertiliser Not Be Used

You should not use fertiliser meant for use in the spring in the autumn or winter months spring fertilisers encourage plant growth which is not needed in the winter months where the harsher temperatures and weather conditions can damage any new plants. Always make sure you are using the right sort of feed for the time of year. There is also no real need to apply fertiliser to frozen ground or very dry ground as it will not be absorbed properly. When applying fertiliser you should be careful to not allow fertiliser to enter water sources like rivers or lakes as this can be harmful.


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How Do I Water My Lawn While Im Using Fertilizer

As mentioned before, be sure to water your lawn three days before applying fertilizer. You dont want your soil to be waterlogged and incapable of absorbing those essential nutrients!

After applying your fertilizer, water your lawn with about a quarter inch of water. This will wash excess fertilizer off the blades of grass and into the soil.

From that point, water your lawn only as needed and not on a strict schedule. The best way to avoid overwatering or underwatering your lawn and needing more fertilizer treatments in the future is to water it when it’s about to dry out and it truly needs the moisture.

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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.

How To Choose Fertilizer For Your Lawn

How To Fertilize The Lawn | Apply Lawn Fertilizer

When it comes to choosing the right fertilizer for your lawn, you want a complete fertilizer. That is, it contains all of the three elements, namely, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium

How much of each will vary. But for most lawns youll want something that has 3 parts nitrogen to 1 part phosphorus to 1 part potassium.

You do need to consider all other factors as well. These are the type of grass you have, the climate in your city and the soil you have.


Soil plays a big part here. So, its important to run a soil test before going to the store. You can use a soil testing kit which will tell you the pH of the soil and a few other things.

With this, youll be able to tell the expert in the store to help you choose the fertilizer you need.

Another thing to consider when buying fertilizer is choosing one thats slow release. This type of fertilizer releases the nutrients gradually over time. This allows just enough nutrients to the soil that it can absorb.

It also lets you take more time in between applications.

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S For Fertilizing A Lawn:

1. Use a walk-behind drop spreader to apply materialsseed, fertilizer, or limeto small- to medium-size lawns. 2. Check packaging for proper spread rates adjust drop spreader to recommended setting. 3. Fill drop spreader halfway up with lime. 4. Use spreader to put down a strip of lime around perimeter of property. 5. Apply lime to remainder of lawn, making sure to overlap each pass slightly. 6. For large yards, use a broadcast spreader to disperse pelletized lime. 7. At end of job, rinse spreader well with garden hose, then lubricate all moving parts with spray lubricant

A Quick Guide To The Best Time To Fertilize Your Lawn

A manual broadcast spreader works well for fertilizing small lawn areas. Move evenly and slowly, and make sure to move the distribution pattern up slightly with each pass. A small sprinkler like this also works really well when you have shady areas in your lawn that require a different fertilizer rate than the sunny parts. Some fertilizers combine a herbicide with lawn food. These products are sold as feed and feed lawn care products and are applied using a lawn spreader.

Handheld, pre-calibrated, battery-operated spreaders make application a cinch for smaller yards. Just flip a switch and start running to fertilize your lawn. This type of handheld spreader works well in small yards or areas that make a traditional push lawn spreader difficult to maneuver, such as on slopes.

A day or two before applying fertilizer, water your lawn thoroughly. After the grass is dry, apply fertilizer. Then water lightly. This second watering is very important because it washes the fertilizer into the grass blades and soil. You can also time your fertilizer application between rains to let the rain wash the fertilizer into the soil. Just make sure you dont fertilize before it rains, or you could wind up washing the fertilizer, especially if your lawn slopes. Avoid applying fertilizer during a drought when the lawn is brown or dry due to lack of moisture.

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What Do The 3 Numbers Mean On Fertilizer

Fertilizer package labels always list the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium a fertilizer contains in the same order: N-P-K. Different types of fertilizers have different proportions of each nutrient.

So, a 15-5-10 fertilizer contains 15 percent nitrogen , 5 percent phosphorus , and 10 percent potassium .

The percentage of nitrogen will almost always be the highest number, because most people buy fertilizer to help their grass grow. Fertilizers with higher phosphorus and potassium numbers can be helpful in getting new lawns established or getting established lawns ready for winter.

How To Fertilize A Lawn

Tips on fertilizing your yard

This article was co-authored by Ben Barkan. Ben Barkan is a Garden and Landscape Designer and the Owner and Founder of HomeHarvest LLC, an edible landscapes and construction business based in Boston, Massachusetts. Ben has over 12 years of experience working with organic gardening and specializes in designing and building beautiful landscapes with custom construction and creative plant integration. He is a Certified Permaculture Designer, is licensed Construction Supervisor in Massachusetts, and is a Licensed Home Improvement Contractor. He holds an associates degree in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 133,004 times.

Is your lawn patchy with spots that are thinning? Fertilizing your lawn can help you get the lush, green grass you desire. To properly fertilize your lawn it’s important to prepare the ground, pick out the right fertilizer, and use a method that will give your lawn the best chance to grow in stronger and healthier. Once you’ve laid out your fertilization plan, try and remain consistent from season to season. With a little work, it truly is easier to keep and maintain a healthy lawn.

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Using A Broadcast Or Rotary Spreader

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.

Late Summer To Late Fall

Between August and November, grass slows down and prepares for the winter months. At the same time, broadleaf weeds start active growth again. With Pennington UltraGreen Winterizer Plus Weed & Feed Fertilizer 22-0-14, you can feed your northern or southern lawn nutrients essential to its winter prep and spring green-up and kill broadleaf weeds. As a general rule, allow six to eight weeks between fertilizing and your first expected frost.

As with all fertilizer products, check the label and follow instructions for your specific grass type. If you’re overseeding, wait until next year for weed & feed. Instead, turn to Pennington UltraGreen Lawn Fertilizer 30-0-4 for the year’s final feeding.

Always sweep excess fertilizer off sidewalks and patios to avoid runoff.

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Is Fertilizing The Right Answer

Think about where you live and what type of grass you have, and consider the condition of your lawn.

All you need to fertilize your lawn the right way is a little attention to detail. Ultimately, once your lawn is thick, green, and thriving, you wont have to worry about lawn fertilizer treatments. Instead, youll be able to spend your time making memories, enjoying good company, and thinking about the things that matter most.

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When To Fertilizer Your Lawn In The Fall

How To Fertilize Your Lawn

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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Are There Are Alternatives To Chemical Lawn Fertilizers

There are organic alternatives to chemical lawn fertilizers but if you want to use a really sustainable approach, one way to feed a lawn is through mulching. Paul Hicks, Product Manager at STIHL , says: ‘One way to achieve a lush lawn is through regular fertilizing, however this doesnt just mean using chemical treatments as mulching is a great natural alternative. Mulching is basically the process of cutting the grass and chopping the clippings into tiny pieces, with one pass of the mower. These clippings are then returned to the turf containing all the essential nutrients the lawn needs for healthy growth.

‘Mulching can be achieved by using a special mower that has been designed to mulch. These mowers are often not able to collect grass and instead, they have a special profile in the cutter deck and a specially designed blade.

‘However, there are some mowers out there that offer the best of both worlds and can collect the clippings in a grass box but can also be converted into a mulching mower with an accessory kit.

Fertilizing At The Wrong Time

“Many homeowners don’t follow a lawn fertilizer schedule. They fertilize when they think their lawn needs it, when they have time or when the stuff is on sale.

Here’s when to fertilize lawn: If your lawn fertilizer schedule is once per year, apply it around Labor Day. Thats when your lawn is the hungriest and when it will respond best to the nutrients it receives. Fertilizing at this time will help replenish food reserves after a long, stressful year of growing and before the harshness of winter sets in.

If your lawn fertilizer schedule is twice per year, apply the second application about the middle of October. This acts like a second helping of much-needed food going into winter. A third application can be added in mid to late spring and can be combined with your crabgrass preventer. A fourth application, if you feel the need, can be added mid-summer. Watch the weather when applying midsummer fertilizers. Fertilizing during hot, humid weather can harm your lawn. An exception would be using an organic fertilizer. They are much more lawn friendly during the dog days of summer.

In the spring, apply just enough fertilizer to help green up your lawn. About half the normal amount will do. Even without fertilizer, your lawn naturally grows quickly as soon as temperatures become consistently higher. Have you ever noticed that grass grows fastest in the late spring and early summer? Why promote even more growth at this time by fertilizing?

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