To get green grass like your neighbors, you need a few things--water, fertilizer and good soil. Fertilizers add nutrients to soil to make it conducive to growing a lush lawn. Most soils are not fertile enough to give grass everything it needs, because they become depleted over time. A good fertilization schedule is essential. Warm- and cool-season grasses have different feeding needs, and it's important to take the type of grass into account when determining a fertilization schedule.
Choose a fertilizer that contains the right amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen is the most important because it promotes green foliage growth. Use the ratio listed on the bag to determine how much nitrogen the food contains. It's recommended you choose a ratio such as 4:1:2 or 3:1:2.
Use 3 lbs. of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet annually. Each application should be about 1 lb. per 1,000 square feet.
Feed shady areas with half the amount of nitrogen as you would use in sunny spots. The more nitrogen the product contains, the less fertilizer you need to use.
Get a product with some nitrogen in controlled-release or water-insoluble form. This will make the grass grow uniformly, but it will take some time. Fast-release nitrogen products with ammonium sulfate or urea will make your grass green more quickly.
Fertilize cool-season grasses such as fescue, bluegrass and ryegrass with one to two light feedings in the beginning of fall to encourage root growth. Encourage thicker foliage and top growth by fertilizing in mid-spring. Fertilize cool-season grasses again in the fall to help them survive winter and come back green the following spring.
Feed warm season grasses, such as Bermuda and zoysia, in the summer. Use a time-release formula for results with less work. It won't burn the grass.
Follow the application instructions on the fertilizer package. Water your grass well to help the fertilizer soak down to the roots. Water in the morning, as opposed to the evening, to avoid fungal diseases.