What are the benefits of fertilizing my lawn?
Your lawn needs the correct nutrients in order to survive (and thrive). To choose the best lawn
fertilizer, you’ll need to determine what nutrients your lawn needs and how often. This will vary
depending upon the area in which you live and the grass you have. Additionally, diseases, insects,
environmental and weather conditions, and inconsistent moisture levels in the soil can all jeopardize
the overall health of your lawn. One of the best ways to combat these potential problems is to provide
your grass with the right nutrients. Thanks to lawn fertilization, providing those nutrients for lawn
growth is easy. Benefits of grass fertilization include:
Faster recovery: If your lawn is experiencing discoloration or dry patches, it has
likely been affected by a lack of water, high temperatures, insect damage, lawn disease, and/or
harmful weeds. A proper grass fertilization schedule in addition to your regular full service lawn
care will contribute to a rapid recovery.
Faster growth: Grass needs to grow quickly in order to reach a high lawn quality.
Resistance to weather and environmental conditions: An adequately fertilized lawn
provides resistance to stress conditions, like extreme weather and heavy foot traffic. Consider
fertilization one of your lawn care tools. The more nutrients your lawn has, the better equipped it
is to survive through these conditions.
Vibrant color: Lawn fertilization is a primary contributor to providing that richly
vibrant and green lawn you love. The combination of adequate moisture levels and nitrogen (the
ingredient highly associated with deeper hues) gives your lawn a healthy sheen.
High density: Thick grass makes your lawn look better, but it doesn't stop there.
It also aids in weed control by taking up all available space, so weeds have no room to take root.
Lower temperature: Healthy grass can eliminate up to 50% of heat in the surrounding
area because of a process called transpiration.
When should I fertilize my lawn?
Fertilizing your lawn might sound like an easy process, but setting an effective schedule can present
several challenges. Can you over fertilize your lawn? Absolutely! You never want to over fertilize the
lawn. Over fertilizing lawn can cause irreparable damage by burning the grass.
On the other hand, not enough fertilizer can leave a lawn susceptible to weeds and poor growth. Finding
a proper balance for when to fertilize the lawn is essential for lawn health. Most lawns benefit from an
annual fertilizer feeding in the fall, so your lawn can prepare for winter with proper nutrients. It is
also a good time to fertilize in the spring because that is when grass begins its growth cycle. It is
good to fertilize warm season grasses with a slow release lawn fertilizer formula at the start of the
spring, summer and fall seasons. Cool season grass is slightly lower maintenance, and you can fertilize
it in the spring and fall. You don’t usually need to fertilize cool season grass in the summer as it
tends to go dormant.
How do I choose a fertilizer?
You must choose the right fertilizer if you want to have a healthy and beautiful lawn. Where you live,
what type of grass you have, and what season it is, are all important factors in choosing the right type
of fertilizer for your lawn. How do you know which is best?
Learn the number system
Three numbers, such as 10-10-10 or 20-5-10, are on every bag of lawn fertilizer. These numbers represent
the percentage of nutrients. The first number is nitrogen (N), which stimulates plant growth and gives
them vivid green color. The second number is phosphorus (P), for root growth and seedling development
(important with new grass). The third number is potassium (K), sometimes called potash, stimulates root
development and provides resistance to drought and disease. In order to figure out which ratio you need,
it's best to do a lawn test.
Identify your grass type
You'll need to figure out whether your grasses are cool-season, warm-season, or a mix. Warm-season
grasses turn brown after the first frost and cool-season grasses will keep their green color year round in
cool and transitional zones. If you are familiar with grass types in the area, you may already know what
types of grass your lawn consists of. As a rule of thumb, southern states generally support warm-season
grasses, while the northern ones house cool-season grasses. However, the central states have areas home
to both warm and cool-season grasses.
Determine soil types and drainage
Selecting the correct fertilizer also depends on your soil type. Sandy soils that drain well however,
nutrients can leak out along with the draining water and therefore won't remain in the soil as long.
Clay soils can actually be quite fertile, but their poor drainage can affect the health of your lawn.
Choose your lawn fertilizer option
Most store bought fertilizers are synthetic. Synthetic fertilizers come in two categories: quick-release
Quick-release granules let the nitrogen reach the soil fast, which helps the lawn gain its vibrant green
color quicker. The drawback is that a lot of nutrients are lost since the plants can't utilize them all
at once. Your lawn may look good at first but the risk for damage and disease increases. Quick-release
granules are more likely to leave the grass brown (fertilizer burn).
Slow-release granules won't deliver that quick color, but they are less likely to burn your lawn and
generally help your lawn last longer. Another advantage is that it requires fewer applications, which
will save you time and labor if you’re spreading fertilizer by hand.
Organic lawn fertilizer
Contrary to popular belief, natural lawn fertilizer is a thing. Organic fertilizers are the products of
natural decomposition and can be easy for plants to digest. They provide plants and lawns with
slow-release, consistent nourishment. Organic fertilizers that feed the soil and sustain plants include
animal waste and byproducts, such as bird and bat guano, blood meal, bone meal and feather meal, as well
as fish and kelp fertilizers. There are other certified organic products that you can buy in home stores
that provide plants with nutrient-rich sources of organic matter that breaks down and slowly feeds
Pet safe lawn weed killer and fertilizer
Often, fertilizer is combined with weed control for a weed and feed lawn fertilizer two-in-one product.
Most fertilizers and weed killers have one ingredient, glyphosate, which is the root cause of problems
in the environment. This chemical accumulates in the soil. Being around it for an extended time can
result in cancer and even genetic mutations.
The best organic lawn fertilizer is one that you feel comfortable using around your pets, small
children, and in your home. Organic products are safer for both family and pets too. Child and pet safe
lawn fertilizer is important because they play close to the ground and are more likely to come in
contact with weed-killing chemicals. Dogs and cats will chew grass and plants that have been sprayed
with lawn fertilizer, ingesting dangerous compounds that could have long-term consequences, some even
Homemade lawn fertilizer
You can make a cheap lawn fertilizer that is safe and only requires a short list of ingredients that you
likely have in your home already. Ingredients include a can or bottle of beer, household ammonia, and
baby shampoo (non antibacterial variety). Each of these ingredients is important. Beer delivers
nutrients not only to the grass itself, but also to the bacteria in the soil that prime the lawn for
growth. Ammonia supplies a powerful infusion of nitrogen. Shampoo makes the ground more absorptive, and
because soil bacteria is very important to lawn health, non antibacterial shampoo is a must.
Mix and pour the ingredients into a container. You should do this outdoors or in a room with ample
ventilation. Add the mixture to a hose-end sprayer with a built-in reservoir for liquid fertilizer. This
is a homemade lawn fertilizer safe for dogs and children.
How to apply fertilizer
The first step in preparing your lawn care fertilizer is to water your lawn. A few days before you plan
on applying the fertilizer, water your yard really well. This gets the soil in tip top shape, and will
allow for the best absorption of nutrients.
Second, pick the best lawn fertilizer spreader. Spreaders fall into two main categories, broadcast and
drop. Each fertilizer product has a unique spreader setting for correct coverage. The fertilizer you
plan on using should have specific instructions for spreading.
To begin, apply the grass fertilizer around the perimeter of your lawn. Feeding around the perimeter
first will allow you to fertilize the rest of the lawn without worrying about missing any of the edges.
You’ll then want to move towards the middle. Similar to a mowing pattern, feed your lawn by walking back
and forth in straight lines while slightly overlapping with each pass. An over fertilized lawn will
burn, so be careful when applying.
How to overseed a lawn
If your lawn is thinning out, looks worse for wear, or is just not as vibrant and green as you want it
to be, a fertilizer + overseeding combo may be just what you need. Before overseeding, lawn care
providers recommended testing your soil and dethatch or rake your lawn, this will help correct existing
By spreading grass seed over your existing lawn, you can thicken up the thin areas. If you’re looking to
overseed your lawn, the best time to do this is after fertilization. Can you overseed in the spring?
Fall is the best time to introduce new seeds into your existing lawn of cool-season grasses. But,
depending on your grass type, overseeding in spring can yield good results too. Grass germination time
for seed ranges from 5 to 30 days depending on the variety. It can be even longer than this in cooler
temperatures. This is how long it will take to actually see the grass growing. Until this point, the
seed, or the soil and mulch in contact with the seed, must stay moist.
Year round lawn fertilizer services
Fertilization alone probably won’t give you the results you’re looking for. Fertilization is only a step
in the lawn care maintenance process. A full lawn treatment service in addition to a regular lawn
fertilizer schedule should include mowing and maintenance, trimming, weeding, and leaf clean up.