Fertilizing Your Lawn? These Are The Four Best Times To Do It

You’ll see a lot of expert commentary online about how and when to fertilize your lawn. If you’re feeling a little confused that so many people have different views on the same subject, that’s quite understandable. The fact is that lawn fertilization is part of a growth cycle, and this fertilization is really an ongoing support for the lawn’s health.

Lawn health basics

All lawns have their own specific needs. Lawn health is based on a combination of factors. Even lawns in the same neighborhood can look quite different, for various reasons. The “other man’s grass” will certainly be greener if it’s on better soil and better tended. If it gets more fertilizer at the right times, it’ll be a lot greener.

There are a few basic issues to consider with lawn health:

  • Soil quality plays a major role in the quality of lawn nutrition. Good soil chemistry and drainage makes a lawn look terrific.
  • Seasonal demands for fertilizer mean lawns need fertilization to manage both growth and seasonal stress. Lawns have to do more than just grow, they have to survive.
  • Using the right fertilizer is critically important. Some fertilizers can actually damage lawns.
  • Fertilizing a lawn is an important part of overall lawn maintenance. It’s advisable to coordinate fertilizing with your overall maintenance.
  • The primary ingredients in lawn fertilizer are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, or NPK. Nitrogen promotes growth. Phosphorous is an all-round growth stimulating nutrient, particularly for root growth. Potassium is a critical element for plant functions, including nitrogen usage. You’ll see various NPK mixes with different proportions of each in the shops.
  • These three elements are present in most soils, but runoff, plant growth and soil quality may lower their levels. Fertilizers are used to ensure that enough nutrients are present.
  • Lawns also gain small trace amounts other nutrients from the soil, mainly metals like iron, copper, boron and manganese. You may see these listed on fertilizer packets.

Best practice lawn fertilization

Best practice is to monitor the lawn’s condition, and fertilize regularly on a schedule. Bear in mind that lawns may suffer from climate variations and excessive heat or cold, which affect their growth and need for nutrients.

  • The four times for fertilizing are in Spring and Autumn:
  • May: Late Spring fertilizing ensures that a supply of food is available to cope with the Summer growth season.
  • June: Early Summer fertilization adds some insurance against nutritional deficiencies. You’ll see the benefits of this second round of fertilization in hot summers.
  • August: Late Summer fertilizing replenishes the food supply for the lawn and helps it look good for Autumn.
  • October: A second booster for Autumn is used to help the plants store foods for Spring.

Please note:

Recommended levels of fertilizers are a good guide, but local conditions may vary. If the lawn doesn’t respond to fertilizer and looks “iffy” or you notice areas of deterioration, you may need some expert help. If you’re in New York around Westchester, Dutchess or Putnam counties, call us. We’re happy to help.

Fertilizing Your Lawn? These Are The Four Best Times To Do It was last modified: January 29th, 2016 by Annalisa Ruggiero