How Often Should You Fertilize Your Lawn?

How Often Should You Fertilize Your Lawn?

The goal of most homeowners is to have a blanket of lush, green grass growing in their lawn. But that’s often easier said than done. Growing a healthy lawn takes more than luck, you have to know what you’re doing when it comes to fertilizing your lawn. When applied right at and the right times, quality fertilizer provides your lawn with the nutrients it needs to resist stress, pests, and weeds. So how often should you feed your lawn? Let’s explore the answer!

What Kind of Grass Do You Grow?

The very first step in understanding proper fertilization schedules is to identify the type of grass you have growing in your lawn.

There are two main varieties of grass: cool season and warm season. A general rule is that cool season grasses grow in the north while warm season grasses grow in the south. The monkey wrench in this generalization is that about a third of the country is in a zone called the “transitional” zone – and in this zone, it’s all fair game because either grass can grow. To see what zone you’re in, have a look at this regional grass map.

Cool Season Grasses

Cool season grass usually remains green all year long in cool and transitional zones. These grasses flourish in climates with warm summers and cold winters. These types of grasses include:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Bentgrass
  • Ryegrass
  • Fine or tall fescue

For cool season grasses, you want to fertilize twice in the fall months, usually between September and November. Then, fertilize them again in the spring, between April and May.

Warm Season Grasses

Warm season grasses grow best in places with warm year-round temperatures. They’ll often turn brown in the winter, which means they’ve gone dormant. Depending on where you live, winter dormancy usually lasts about three to five months. Types of warm season grasses include:

  • Bahia
  • Zoysia
  • Bermuda
  • Buffalo
  • Centipede
  • Augustine

You should fertilize these grasses during the months when they’re actively growing, but not when it’s surface-of-the-sun hot outside. Fertilizing these grasses usually happens in three phases: when the grass starts to turn green in early spring, late in the spring, and then in the late summer.

You may be thinking “but it’s still summer, why should I think about this stuff?” Well, summer will be ending before you know it and you need to plan ahead! Make sure to know when you need to fertilize in order to get the lawn you want once spring rolls around once again!

Sara Butler

Sara Butler has written scores of articles for Lawn Love -- everything from how to revive your dead lawn to how to start to lawn care tools every homeowner should have.