How Often Should You Fertilize Your Lawn?
For any homeowners who are keen on keeping the appearance of their yards pristine, it’s important to consider regular fertilization of any lawn space surrounding your home. Proper fertilization can help to optimize the growth and color of your grass. If you’re unsure as to how often you should fertilize your lawn, then read ahead.
Why should I fertilize my lawn?
You'll find that although different grass types prefer fertilization at various times of the year, it's almost exclusively a good idea to lay fertilizer in the spring months, regardless of grass type. During this season, Popular Mechanics agree that the lawn is going through its most active growth period, and thus requires nutrients to grow at an optimum rate.
Additionally, it's important to remember that our modern world is growing a variety of different grass types in a controlled environment, as opposed to in the natural environment that these distinct types of grasses would have come from in the past. They would have had all the required nutrients needed in their natural habitat, so we must be sure to provide the nutrients that the grass needs to thrive by substituting them through fertilization.
Know your lawn type
The type of grass that makes up your lawn can vary depending on your region, and it's important to know what type you have; this will determine when you should fertilize. Although we can discuss many different varieties, there are only two distinct types of grass according to this guide at sodgod.com. These are cool-season and warm-season grass.
Though not completely exclusive, you can usually rely on the rule that northern states grow cool-season type grasses, and southern states usually grow warm-season types. However, states on the east coast and west coast can be classed as transitional, meaning that both types can – and do – flourish together.
Is there a best time of day to fertilize your lawn?
The above information is relevant here, as the best time to fertilize your lawn is partially influenced by the type of grass that you're dealing with.
Cool-season grass types will typically retain their green appearance throughout the year in their native, cool environments. Their growth is more efficient at temperature ranges of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, though they can grow all year round. It's recommended that you fertilize your cool-season grass types twice during the fall months, and again in the spring.
Conversely, warm-season grass types grow at their most efficient rate in temperatures ranging from 80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and they should be fertilized during their periods of most active growth, but not when the weather is at its hottest. This means ideally putting down fertilizer in three stages: when the grass begins to gain its color in spring, again towards the end of spring, and finally when the heat of summer has passed.
Should I fertilize my lawn after mowing?
According to lawn care experts Lawnsmith, you should always be sure to fertilize your lawn immediately after mowing it. Mowing the lawn disturbs any fertilizer that has previously been laid on the grass, so using the chemical as soon as you're done mowing means that it has the most amount of time to settle in before you cut it again. However, you should still follow the advice set out above regarding how best to handle fertilization windows for cool and warm-season grass types.
Should I fertilize my lawn before rain?
Some garden enthusiasts prefer to fertilize the lawn prior to a bout of heavy rain, as the pressure and increased moisture can help the chemicals be watered into the topsoil. However, heavy rainfall can also force much of the fertilizer away from your lawn, washing it into flowerbeds or storm drains, and thus removing the potentially beneficial effect that it was designed to have on your grass, as well as contaminating natural water sources.
However, a case could also be made for the drawbacks of fertilizing after a rainfall; without the natural pressure created by the rain, it will take longer for any fertilizer to be absorbed into the grass and soil. Ultimately, it’s your choice as a homeowner whether you choose to apply the fertilizer before or after rainfall, or to ignore this factor entirely.
This video from The Lawn Care Nut explains goes into some depth about fertilizing your lawn:
Though generally fertilizing your lawn is better than not doing it at all, there are specific times of year that are best for applying the required chemicals. By understanding what type of grass you have around the home, you can ensure that you’re fertilizing at the most appropriate time, and giving your lawns the best chance at healthy growth.