When & Why to Fertilize Your Lawn

Are You Feeding the Weeds, or Feeding Your Lawn?

You’re excited for spring. You’re gearing up for warmer weather — though it may be a few weeks away, yet. You’ve planned ahead and you’re treating the lawn with a head-start fertilizer, making sure it will have enough nutrients for a healthy start. 


But wait! Early spring is actually too soon to fertilize your grass. Instead of feeding your lawn, you may be unknowingly feeding your weeds. Fertilizing your yard is an important step in ensuring that your lawn and garden are healthy and thriving. However, timing is everything when it comes to fertilization, as applying fertilizer at the wrong time can actually harm your plants rather than help them. 


Have weeds already started sprouting up in your yard? Check out our previous post, How to Control Weeds, for tips on getting ahead of weeds.


When to Fertilize Your Yard

Did you know that dormant lawns cannot absorb fertilizer? Yes, it’s true. Imagine if someone was trying to feed you dessert while you were sleeping. You just can’t do two things at once. Similarly, you should wait until your lawn has woken up and come out of the dormant period before you apply fertilizer. You cannot “push” a dormant lawn into greening up; only warmer temperatures can do that. Fertilizer is best saved for when bermuda lawns and zoysia lawns have fully greened up. Apply fertilizer too early, and you risk fertilizing the wrong thing – think, an influx of clovers! Fertilizer applied too early in the spring can also encourage fungus growth while the weather remains cold and wet.


When Does Yard Dormancy End?

Dormant, or golden tan lawns, begin to wake up when ground temperatures reach 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit, even overnight. Keep in mind that the ground takes longer to warm than the air – so watching your iPhone weather may not be the most accurate way to measure this! If you’d like an accurate measurement of ground temperatures, a great source of information is the UGA Weather Service. When you wait until the proper time to apply an early fertilizer, your lawn is actively able to absorb the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium it needs.


Fertilizing Warm-Season Grasses

It’s important to fertilize warm-season grasses regularly during the growing season. Summer and fall are the times of the year when these grasses are actively growing. The frequency of fertilization will depend on a number of factors, including the type of grass you have, the climate in your area, and the type of fertilizer you’re using. As a general rule, warm-season grasses should be fertilized every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. Legacy Turf Farms always recommends following the manufacturer’s instructions printed on any bagged or bottled fertilizers.


Fertilizing Cool-Season Grasses

When it comes to cool-season grasses, it’s important to fertilize during the cooler months. This is because cool-season grasses grow the most during the cooler months, and applying fertilizer during this time will help encourage new growth. Additionally, fertilizing during the growing season will help your grass build up its energy reserves, which will be important for its health and survival during the hot summer months when your lawn becomes dormant or heat stressed.


Types of Fertilizers

It’s also important to keep in mind that the type of fertilizer you use will affect the timing of fertilization. For example, slow-release fertilizers release nutrients over a longer period of time, so you won’t need to fertilize as often. On the other hand, quick-release fertilizers release all of their nutrients at once, delivering nutrients readily. This means you’ll need to fertilize more frequently.


So, When Should You Fertilize Your Yard?

In conclusion, the appropriate time to fertilize your yard depends on the type of grass you have, as well as the climate in your area. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your lawn and garden receive the nutrients they need to be healthy and thrive year-round! 


Get Your Dream Lawn Delivered!

Tired of trying to revive a bare, patchy, or weed-filled lawn? Legacy Turf Farms is here to help! With our sod delivery service, you can have the instantly-green lawn of your dreams delivered right to your door. Purchase sod online today and your yard will be well-established and ready for summer fun by the time the weather warms back up!