The best thing to do for a lawn is feed it. Well, that is a common misnomer. Homeowners don’t actually feed their lawn with lawn fertilizers. Photosynthesis takes care of the need for food. Fertilizers are more like a multivitamin that adds needed nutrients that deplete as the lawn uses them up and as watering washes them away. Fertilizing should happen regularly; not just once per year, but four times per year. Every lawn has different needs, so this information should be taken as a guideline.
In order to know the precise needs of a specific chunk of turf, a soil test is required. A soil test will reveal how much nitrogen and other nutrients are needed in order to create a healthy environment for that turfgrass. In addition, other issues can be treated by using the correct fertilizer. These issues include weeds and insects. Most people have no idea when they are supposed to begin adding fertilizer to their turfgrass. Creating a fertilizing plan early each year will help you to keep to a fertilizing schedule. Use the following information to create a customized fertilizing schedule beginning right now.
Early Spring (February – April): For years, nutrition professionals have claimed that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Consider the early spring feeding as breakfast for sod. This is why: lawn sits for months during the winter with no source of nutrition. It is very important to give lawn what it needs early in the year so it can get off to a good start. An early feeding will help strengthen roots and get the grass ready to start growing well throughout the season. Look over the lawn for any signs of crabgrass. If you see crabgrass, apply a fertilizer with a pre-emergent crabgrass and weed killer to keep the lawn clear.
Late Spring (April – June): It’s time for the next meal. This time, apply a fertilizer that is called “weed-n-feed,” or some version of the same. Broadleaf lawn weeds are usually actively growing this time of year, and one of the best ways to get rid of them is a weed-n-feed fertilizer. These fertilizer products can be tricky when they are applied in granular form. Liquid weed-n-feed fertilizer formulas are just as effective and are easier to apply. The weed killing ingredient in weed-n-feed fertilizers has to actually stick to the leaves of the weeds in order to be effective. Granular fertilizers can simply bounce off of the leaves. But liquid weed-n-feed fertilizers will always stick to the leaves, and they can be applied a little more heavily in weed-infested areas of the lawn.
Summer (June – August): The heat of the summer is really rough on turfgrasses of all types. A combination of high traffic (a lot of use) and drought (or sporadic watering schedules) also takes a toll of the whole grass plant. A good feeding in the summer helps get the grass through this time by protecting the roots and strengthening the leaves of the grass. Some homeowners experience insect infestations this time of year. Some manufacturers formulate a summertime fertilizer treatment specific to these needs. By adding an insect killer to the fertilizer, only one product is needed to take care of both issues. This feeding will get the grass through to the next feeding in the fall.
Fall (September – November): Many experts claim that this is the most important time of the year to feed lawns. It is the last of the year, which means that it will be months before the lawn will see another feeding, and the lawn will have the cold weather of winter to deal with soon. This time of year, it is recovering from the tough summer months and needs a good dose of nutrients to aid those efforts. A feeding this time of year will strengthen the roots and build up a reserve of nitrogen for the following spring.