Fertilizing Your Lawn
Feeding your lawn with fertilizer once a year is good, but ideally you should feed it four times per year.
When to Fertilize Lawns
Feeding your lawn with fertilizer once a year is good, but ideally you should feed it four times per year. By creating a fertilizing schedule, you will not only have a better looking lawn that is lush and green, you are making it healthier with a better root system to combat heat, cold, drought, mowing, foot traffic and other stresses. Here are some tips:
- Early Spring (February-April) — Lawns are hungry in the spring. Feed it in the spring to strengthen its roots before heavy growing season. Be sure to treat crabgrass as soon as you see it using a combination fertilizer with a pre-emergent.
- Late Spring (April-June) — Spring is when your grass is using its stored energy to grow, making it a great time to supply it with fertilizer that also combats broadleaf weeds. Try a weed and feed fertilizer.
- Summer (June-August) — Summers full of heat, drought, foot traffic, and insects stress your lawn. Feed it to protect and strengthens it against these problems. If you see insects in your grass, try Scotts® Turf Builder® with Summer Guard® or any fertilizer with insect control. If you live in warm-season grass areas, be sure to feed your lawn during the summer months since they grow steadily from spring to fall.
- Fall (September-November) — Fall is the ideal time to help your lawn recover and prepare it for a healthy spring. The cooler temperatures and increased rain help it get the nutrients it needs making it the most important time to feed it.
How to Read a Fertilizer Label
There are three numbers on the back of the fertilizer bag that indicate the percentage of primary ingredients in it. For example, a basic lawn fertilizer will have a label: 20-5-10. They always appear in the same order: nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. The numbers indicate how much of these nutrients, by weight, are in that bag of fertilizer. For this example, it is four parts nitrogen, one part phosphorous and two parts potassium.
For those who don't know the science of fertilizer (most of us), nitrogen is the most important nutrient and is what makes your lawn green. It is important to know how much nitrogen is in the bag so you can apply the proper amount to your lawn — generally 1 pound or less per feeding. To figure out how much nitrogen is in this bag of fertilizer, multiply its number (in this case, 20) by the weight of the bag of fertilizer (usually 50 lbs.). Therefore, this bag has 10 pounds of nitrogen. You do not want to apply too much nitrogen because it can burn your lawn.
In the north — It is best to fertilize in fall rather than winter since most dry lawn fertilizers will not release nutrients if the temperature is too cool (soil temperatures less than the 55° F.). Don't worry if you already applied the fertilizer "too late", it will not dissolve with rain or snow, and just begin to feed again in warmer weather.
In the south — Fertilize your lawns in the early fall before they turn brown. Dormant lawns turn brown as a defense against the cold, so feeding before this time encourages fresh growth that helps protect them against damage from the cold .
TSC Lawn Fertilizing Supplies
- Weed and Feed Fertilizer
- Fertilizer with Pre-emergent
- Fertilizer with Insect Control