How and When to Fertilize Your Lawn in Arkansas

Man fertilizing lawn

Level up your grass game for a thriving lawn. Learn to decode the unique weather of this Transition Zone state and discover how and when to fertilize your lawn in Arkansas. Decode the climate, understand your turfgrass type, and determine the optimal timing for this lawn maintenance practice with our expert guide.

Benefits of fertilizer

Fertilizer delivers a nutrient boost to your lawn. It improves soil health and gives your turfgrass its vibrant green color. Fertilizers typically contain three nutrients, Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). 

A soil test can help you identify which nutrients your landscape is lacking, so you can choose the best fertilizer for your lawn. Purchase an at-home soil test or send a soil sample to your local University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension office.

Pro tip: Nitrogen supports leafy growth and vibrant green color. Phosphorus aids in root development and flowering. Potassium contributes to disease resistance and overall stress tolerance. 

How to fertilize your lawn in Arkansas

Granular lawn fertilizer spreader in use
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Fertilizing your lawn will not achieve the intended effects if you do not fertilize properly. You can even damage your grass. Follow these steps to fertilize your lawn for healthy, green grass:

  • Water your lawn a few days before applying fertilizer to prepare the soil.
  • Granular fertilizer: Fill your spreader. Set your spreader settings to the recommended dispersal rate according to the label instructions.
  • Liquid fertilizer: Dilute your fertilizer according to the label inside your sprayer. Apply the fertilizer across your lawn evenly. 
  • Water your grass immediately after applying fertilizer to help the product soak in. This step is not necessary if you use a spray fertilizer. 

When to fertilize your lawn in Arkansas

The best time to fertilize your lawn depends on whether you have cool-season or warm-season grass. Avoid fertilizing during a drought. Fertilizing your lawn too much can hurt your grass. 

Because Arkansas is in the Transition Zone, both warm- and cool-season grass types grow well, depending on your location in the state. Regardless of grass type, always fertilize your lawn during your grass’ growing season. 

  • Cool-season grass: Fertilize in the fall between September to November. Apply fertilizer again in April or May after your grass has experienced some growth. 
  • Warm-season grass: Fertilize warm-season grass in the summer, from June to August. 

Pro tip: If you live in Fayetteville, Little Rock, or anywhere in Southern Arkansas, you more than likely have one of the following warm-season grasses:

  • Bermudagrass
  • Zoysiagrass
  • Centipedegrass
  • St. Augustinegrass

Types of lawn fertilizer

The two main types of lawn fertilizers are granular and liquid. Each has its pros and cons. Select the fertilizer based on your turfgrass needs.

Granular fertilizer is cost-effective. Many granular fertilizers are slow-release and provide uniform coverage. Slow-release fertilizers provide nutrients for longer. However, granular fertilizers are harder to apply and require a fertilizer spreader.

Liquid fertilizers offer faster results; lawns green up more quickly. However, they require more applications and are short-lived.

Fertilizing your lawn when you have weeds

Effective weed control goes hand-in-hand with your fertilization routine. Apply pre-emergent herbicide before weed seeds germinate. Spot-treat with selective post-emergent herbicides to target actively growing weeds.

Apply pre-emergent herbicide in the early spring to prevent grassy weeds like crabgrass. Apply broadleaf weed control products in the mid-spring to target weeds like dandelions. Fertilizer treatments can begin around May or later, depending on whether you have cool-season or warm-season grass. More weed control applications may be needed later in the year. 

FAQ about fertilizing your Arkansas lawn

When is the best time to fertilize after overseeding?

The best time to fertilize after overseeding is immediately after you aerate and spread the seeds. Learn more about lawn aeration and how it helps you have a healthy, green lawn. 

What is the best fertilizer to use when you’re overseeding?

Use a starter fertilizer before spreading your grass seeds. Starter fertilizers are also good for establishing new lawns. The nutrients provide what the grass needs to develop a healthy root system.

Should you fertilize the lawn before or after mowing?

You want to give the fertilizer time to be absorbed into the soil. Wait a few days before mowing after a fertilizer application. In fact, mowing is ideal before fertilizing because it removes debris from the lawn, helping the fertilizer reach the soil. Additionally, grass clippings break down, adding nutrients to the soil. 

Call a professional to fertilize your lawn

Lawn fertilization is serious business. How often and how much you need to fertilize depends on your grass type. Over-fertilizing grass can have adverse effects, leading to excessive thatch build-up.

Take the guesswork out of your fertilizer applications. Let Lawn Love connect you with local lawn care professionals. Whether you live in Fayetteville, Little Rock, Bentonville, or surrounding areas in the Natural State, help is on the way.

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LaShonda Tucker

LaShonda Tucker’s passion for maintaining a healthy lifestyle through organic herbs, fruits, and veggies leads her to research and learn about plants and insects. She loves sharing her knowledge to help others achieve their lawn care and landscaping goals.