Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

What Fertilizer Should Be Put Down in Spring?

By Joshua Roberts ; Updated September 21, 2017

Lush, green grass is one of the hallmarks of modern landscaping. With very few exceptions, there is no way to achieve a truly green, weed-free lawn without the use of fertilizers. While there is no one-size-fits-all fertilizer for every climate and grass type, a few general principles will help the lawn enthusiast achieve the best possible results.

Spring Fertilizing

Fertilizing in spring is essential to setting the stage for healthy growth throughout the growing season. There are hundreds of different fertilizers available to you when you go to purchase a spring fertilizer. However, a little knowledge and planning should help you select a suitable product for your particular yard.

Granular or Liquid Fertilizer

Fertilizers come in two forms: liquid and granular. Liquid fertilizers are fast-acting. They are quickly absorbed, and typically require application every two to three weeks. Granular fertilizers, on the other hand, can last anywhere from four to 12 weeks. Consider your own lawn; do you have well-established grass that you are simply nurturing, or have you recently planted grass that needs a quick jolt of energy to take off?

When to Apply and What

Greenview fertilizer states that, “The best time to apply fertilizer in spring is when soil temperatures have warmed and the grass plant is actively growing”. The site recommends a “weed-and-feed” fertilizer to stave off weeds before they get started. This will ensure that your grass gets a head start against competing weeds on nutrients and root establishment before the summer months when it needs as many resources as possible.

Promote Root Growth

In addition to getting a weed and feed fertilizer in the right form for your yard, Lawncare.net recommends that, “the spring lawn fertilizer you choose should include less nitrogen and more phosphorous to promote strong and healthy roots.” Remember, spring fertilization is all about giving your grass a chance to extend roots deep into the soil in preparation for summer. To find a fertilizer lower in nitrogen and higher in phosphorous, look at the label on the package. All fertilizers will have a label with three numbers separated by dashes. Lowe's notes that these refer to the percentage amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and potash. In spring, look for a lower first number and higher second.

Consult an Expert At Your Local Store

Knowing these basic benchmarks for a good spring fertilizer will help you get your money's worth out of the spring lawn care effort. There will be countless manufacturers of spring fertilizers that meet your criteria; be willing to enlist the advice of your local garden center expert when choosing between brands. Regardless of brand, the best spring fertilizers will block weeds and foster root growth. Whether you choose liquid or granular will depend on the strength of your particular lawn.