There are many types of fertilizer. Some are specifically formulated for application during the hot summer months and others are formulated for application just before winter begins. But there are no fertilizer formulas that say they are specifically formulated for application during springtime. In the spring, your lawn is just coming out of its winter dormancy. All other plants are doing the same thing, including lawn weeds and crabgrass. Chemical fertilizer can be applied to fertilize and prevent weeds, and organic fertilizer can be applied if you have no weed problems.
Applying fertilizer with a high percentage of nitrogen in it (25 percent or more) that also contains weed-preventing ingredients is great for lawns that had weed problems the previous year, or for lawns that are developing weed problems. The earlier in the spring these products can be applied the better. Also, if your lawn has issues with crabgrass, apply a lawn fertilizer that contains a pre-emergent weed preventer along with other weed-preventing ingredients. Crabgrass seeds have to be eliminated before they begin to actively grow. Pre-emergent weed preventer does not allow weed seeds to begin growing. Since most crabgrass varieties are annuals, inactivating the seeds from the previous year prevents crabgrass issues during the current year.
Plain, Simple Fertilizer
There is fertilizer made by many manufacturers that only fertilizes the lawn when no other issues with weeds and pests exist. Follow the same application schedule you would follow in the early spring when applying a fertilizer with a weed preventer--when the grass starts to come out of dormancy, it is time to fertilize. Apply a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content (25 percent or more) to help the lawn green up from its wintertime yellow-green color and begin to grow. Fertilizer will help green the lawn in three to four days or less.
Different animal manures make great organic fertilizer products, including cow, chicken and turkey. Bat guano is also an excellent fertilizer. Other organic fertilizers include fish meal, bone meal and blood meal. Bone meal provides a little nitrogen and a lot of phosphorus while blood meal provides a lot of nitrogen, a little phosphorus and a small amount of potassium. Bat guano provides similar fertilizing benefits as blood meal.
Fertilizer is easily applied with rotary or drop spreaders. Rotary spreaders fling granulated fertilizer up to 5 feet away from the spreader. Drop spreaders drop the fertilizer down directly to the lawn without throwing it. Rotary spreaders make very quick work out of fertilizing large areas because the coverage area is quite large. Since drop spreaders drop fertilizer straight down, you have to overlap application paths and make more passes to cover the entire lawn area. Some fertilizers are available in liquid form. These fertilizers have dispensers that are attached to the end of a garden hose and are sprayed out of the applicator.
Watering After Application
Lawns have to be damp before applying a weed-preventing fertilizer. The water allows the fertilizer to stick to the leaves of broadleaf weeds so the weed killer can take effect. Do not water the lawn or apply the fertilizer 24 hours before a rain storm. Apply about ½-inch of water to water the fertilizer in well.