In order to achieve and maintain a healthy and lush lawn that most homeowners desire, fertilizing a turf is a big part of the puzzle. While it requires some work, and the payoff will be evident, a fertilizing plan must be tailored for each type of grass, applied at the right time, the right amount and using the proper technique.
Warm Season Grasses
Warm season grasses should be fertilized at least twice a year, between early April and mid-August. Because warm season grasses grow most vigorously during the summer, they respond best to fertilizers during that period. Allow at least 4 weeks in between a subsequent fertilizer application.
Cool Season Grasses
Fertilize cool season grasses at least once a year, the most important time being the fall from late August to November. These grasses are dormant during this period, and the fertilizer applied in that time frame will strengthen and sustain it through the upcoming winter, allowing it to re-emerge in the spring. If needed, cool season grasses can be given a lighter, second application of fertilizer between May and June.
Fertilizers are available in different strengths for different materials. There are mixed formulas that provide up the three nutrients and single-sourced materials, which have only one nutrient. Fertilizer strength should be tailored to the zone and deficiencies present in a turf.
Wait until a turf is dry before applying a fertilizer. Use a push spreader for optimal results. Generously water a turf following fertilizing, allowing the grass to absorb the nutrients and to avoid burning grass blades.
Conditions to Avoid Fertilizing
Avoid fertilizer applications, especially nitrogen, during drought conditions, as this will not improve the situation. Because nitrogen fertilizers stimulate the growth of roots without regard for roots, avoid them during or prior to a drought.