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How to Apply Nitrogen Fertilizer

By Elizabeth Knoll ; Updated September 21, 2017

Lawn fertilizers contain moderate to high amounts of nitrogen. Nitrogen promotes lush shoot growth in plants. When correctly applied to lawns, nitrogen will give you a lush and green turf that grows at a moderate pace. If too little is applied, your grass may turn a greenish-yellow and grow slow. If too much is applied, it may grow extremely fast and burn out. Applying fertilizer with a spreader is the best way to evenly distribute the correct amount of nitrogen fertilizer to your yard.

Cut open the bag of fertilizer with a utility knife. Pour it into the hopper on your fertilizer spreader.

Consult the bag of fertilizer to see what setting your spreader needs to be set at. Fertilizer bags will typically have a chart that lists each spreader and the corresponding setting the spreader should be set to.

Set the dial on your spreader to the indicated setting. Push the spreader over to where you want to start applying the nitrogen fertilizer.

Grasp the lever located on the handle of the spreader and press it against the spreader handle. Push the spreader across your lawn with the lever pressed to begin dispensing nitrogen fertilizer on your lawn.

Walk back and forth across the length of your lawn to spread the fertilizer. Watch how far the fertilizer spreads out and space each pass so that the fertilizer overlaps by about 12 inches. This will ensure total and equal coverage of your yard.

Release the lever to stop dispensing nitrogen fertilizer once the entire yard is covered. Push the spreader back to its storage location and pour any remaining fertilizer into an airtight storage container to store for future use.


Things You Will Need

  • Utility knife
  • Broadcast spreader


  • You may want to make two passes across your lawn perpendicular to each other and apply half the recommended amount of fertilizer with each pass. This may allow you to achieve better coverage than just making one pass across the lawn.


  • Ensure the spreader is set to the correct setting when applying fertilizer. If it is set too high, you may burn your grass. If set too low, your grass won't receive enough nitrogen fertilizer.