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When to fertilize a lawn

Timing is everything when it comes to applying fertilizer


When to fertilize a lawn
photo © Jamie Burke
Knowing when to fertilize your lawn can be challenging and not always as easy as 1-2-3-4. The natural growth cycle of the lawn dictates specific times to fertilize. If fertilizer is applied at the wrong time, it can weaken or damage the plant resulting in the opposite of the desired effect. Here's a season by season run-down of when to fertilize your lawn.


Contrary to popular belief, the lawn does not need to be fertilized at the first sign of nice weather in the spring. If a solid lawn care regimen is in place, there will be enough slow release fertilizer from the previous fall to last through the spring. The carbohydrate reserves in the roots begin to decline in the late spring when the first application of fertilizer should be applied. Read more...


A lawn will use it's late spring feeding to build it's carbohydrate reserves back up so it can get through the ups and downs of summer. Drought, heat, frequent mowing and other stresses can bring a lawn to it's knees. By late summer it's ready for another application of fertilizer. Not a lot, just enough to get it through fall. The late summer application is considered a bridge feeding to get the lawn through the fall. Read more...


By late fall it's time to start thinking about the next season. A substantial, late season fertilizer application will help maintain some green color in the winter and create a quick green-up in the spring. The late fall application is important so that the lawn has help in the spring but not so much that it interferes with it's natural growth cycle. Read more...


Although not fertilizer, lime is often applied seasonally to adjust pH levels in the soil. A soil test will determine the need to lime. Although there is not a specific time that is best for applying lime, there are times that are better than others. Read more...

Quick Tip: Use rain to your advantage, even if you have a sprinkler system. Read more...

photo © Jamie Burke

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