When is the Best Time to Fertilize Your Lawn?

July 21, 2023
someone pushing a lawn fertilizer spreader

A crucial component of any healthy lawn that remains green, vibrant, and strong is fertilizer. Unfortunately, most people don’t use fertilizer because they don’t know when to use it or how frequently to use it, how to use it properly, which fertilizer they should use, and whether it is safe. We have all of that information for you here. Read on for a beginner’s guide to lawn fertilization with a special focus on one of the most important parts of lawn fertilizing success: the best time to use it. 

What is Lawn Fertilizer and Why Should You Use It?

At the most basic level, fertilizers act as nutrition for your lawn. They nourish the lawn’s root system helping it to grow stronger and thus better withstand the shifting elements of nature through heat, cold, rain, and drought. 

Not only will it keep your lawn in good condition, but it will help it from becoming weak and susceptible to disease, encourage recovery from wear and tear, and revitalize patchy and thin areas. A strong, thick carpet of grass will keep away incoming weeds and moss as well.

Choose the Right Fertilizer 

Selecting the right fertilizer is just as important as knowing when to use it. There are a variety of different options available within the two main types: organic and synthetic. 

Organic fertilizers are made from natural sources such as compost, bone meal, manure, organic waste, and other plant and animal sources. These types of fertilizers benefit from a longer release period and have little to no environmental impact. 

Synthetic fertilizers are composed of inorganic, manufactured materials as well as select natural materials such as minerals. The benefits of this type of fertilizer are that they are very precise in the control of nutrients, giving your lawn exactly what it needs, and it is fast-acting and will release the nutrients quickly with faster results than organic fertilizers. 

Organic is slightly safer than synthetic as over-use of synthetic fertilizers can contribute to pollution. Furthermore, overuse of Nitrogen based fertilizers will give rapid, noticeable improvements, but will damage the lawn in the long run. Most fertilizers are safe for use around people, pets, and animals, but you should check the specific fertilizer before applying it just in case (especially for pets or animals that may eat grass). 

When to Fertilize Your Lawn

Perhaps the most critical part of properly fertilizing your lawn is knowing when to do it. As a rule of thumb, the best time to fertilize is when your grass is actively growing – to do the opposite will cause burning of the lawn and can encourage weed growth. Unfortunately, the period of grass growth is different depending on where you live, but in general, you should stick to applying it at least once every six months in either Spring, Summer, or Autumn. 

Depending on what season you choose, you will want to pick a corresponding fertilizer. For example, Spring fertilizer has a higher ratio of Nitrogen, giving your grass a fast start to its initial rejuvenation. Summer fertilizer will keep your grass strong during the hottest days of the year, building resistance to heat and scorching and keeping it green. Autumn fertilizer has high ratios of phosphate and potassium to encourage the health of your grass’s roots, preparing it for the coming winter season. Winter fertilization will likely not hurt your lawn but will have no effect as the roots will be unable to absorb any nutrients during this time. 

Once you’ve chosen the season, make sure to fertilize during the right time of day. You don’t want it to be too hot, so fertilize your lawn on a cloudy day or in the evening when it’s cooler. For the best results, water your lawn the night before and fertilize it a day or two after mowing. If it can be timed so that you fertilize before a coming rainstorm, all the better. 

It is also advisable to not use fertilizer on dry grass due to the risk of scorching but also because moisture in the soil will help the absorption of nutrients. Be sure to water your lawn before and after application!

How to Fertilize Your Lawn

It is possible to fertilize your lawn by hand, but it is recommended that you utilize a spreader because due to the difficulty of knowing how much and how densely you fertilized. A spreader helps overcome this with equitable distribution. 

Again, too much fertilizer or fertilizer applied to dry grass can cause scorching, shriveled, and blackened patches. Quick-release, synthetic fertilizers carry an even higher risk of scorching. 

Lawncare professionals, like the ones at Foundations Property Management, can calculate the correct amount of fertilizer needed for your lawn and ensure beautiful results with minimal scorch risk. Furthermore, experts can help advise on the best type of fertilizer for the time of year, type of grass, and local environmental conditions. 

Finally, be sure to wait at least a couple of days before mowing again to ensure the fertilizer has settled with proper absorption.

Contact the Lawncare ExpertsFertilizing your lawn is critical for its health, beauty, and longevity. The process can be difficult, but the results are definitely worthwhile and can always be supplemented with lawn fertilization services. To get advice and help for your property, contact the lawncare experts at Foundations Property Management today!