How To Fertilize A Lawn Yourself: My Guide to Grass Fertilization & Related Applications

lawn fertilizer guide

The topic of fertilization, feeding, and applying other types of treatments to your lawn or garden is quite extensive. On this site I have a lot of information published as well as a long list of future topics to cover.

See below for links to fertilization questions I get every day.

Best BioChar For Lawns & Gardens
best biochar for lawnsBiochar is one of those things we put on lawns not to add nutrients to the soil or feed the biology in the soil but rather to add structure to the soil that both beneficial biology and plants use to enhance what they already do. Problem is adding biochar to the soil under a lawn is hard so picking the right product makes a big difference.

Best Starter Fertilizers For New Lawns
best starter fertilizers for lawnsAll plants are provided exactly the right nutrients and inputs to grow just fine after they germinate but after 3-4 weeks of growth if a sprout isn’t finding the macro and micronutirents needed to put on adequate root and shoot development the baby plant will die. A starter fertilizer’s #1 job is to feed the grass what is needed in weeks 4-10 after germination and that’s why picking the right product is important.

Drop Spreaders VS Broadcast Spreader: A Comparison
Drop VS Broadcast SpreadersFor those of you who choose to go the granular route you will have to have a dedicated spreader. The most common types of spreaders are hand-held drop spreaders as well as wheeled broadcast spreaders. Nether style are bad and although you can use ether style anywhere you want they are reasons why I would advise one over the other to different people in different situations.

Should You Fertilize Your Lawn in the Spring?
Should You Fertilize Your Lawn in the SpringSpring is naturally a strong growing period for almost all grass types. For the duration of winter the grass has been dormant and focused on root growth but by Spring the energy stored in roots starts moving back into the leaf and the grass begins to grow vigorously. Most professionals advise DIYers to fertilize in the Spring but do you actually need to and if so when should you apply fert and how much?

Watering in Granular Fertilizer: The Best Practices
water in granular fertilizerWhen you start fertilizing your lawn for the first time most people have a lot of questions. Granular fertilizers tend to be the first types of lawn foods do-it-yourselfers go for so learning the basics is important. Granular fertilizers should be applied to dry grass but then they should be watered in right away to ensure they work as intended. This post covers a lot of the detail as to why this is best practice and how to do it the right way.

Can You Fertilize Wet Grass?
Can You Fertilize Wet GrassMany different kinds of fertilizers should be watered in to your lawn after application but there are four distinct reasons to apply those same fertilizers to a dry lawn. Just because the fertilizers need moisture doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter when the moisture is applied. Read this article learn why we apply fertilizers to dry lawns and how to feed your lawn properly.

Is Starter Fertilizer Good For Established Lawns?
Is Starter Fertilizer Good For Established LawnsStarter fertilizer is used to establish sods, new seedlings, and in over-seeding situations because it is more heavy on phosphorus which helps in root development growth. For most established lawns grass roots are already established and healthy so starter fertilizer might not be the right option for you unless you suspect you have a shallow root system.

Do You Put Starter Fertilizer on New Sod?
Do You Put Starter Fertilizer on New SodWhether you have laid sod down on your property yourself or hired a landscaping company to do it for you the rules for getting that sod to stick are important to follow. From the sod farm most types of sod come well fed so when you lay it down it’s usually safe to just water frequently to start getting those roots to reach down to your native soil but eventually a quality starter fertilizer will be necessary to push deeper and healthier root growth.

Does Liquid or Granular Lawn Fertilizer Go Bad?
Does Liquid or Granular Lawn Fertilizer Go BadIf you have any old bags or bottles of fertilizer sitting around in your garage then chances are that it is still probably just fine to use. In most cases both liquid and granular fertilizers can be used for many years so long as they are not damaged or altered in negative ways. If you are curious whether or not you can use an old bit of fertilizer sitting in your garage or shed then check this post out. There are only a few reasons to ditch the old fertilizer in favor of a new or fresher batch.

Controlled vs Slow-Release Fertilizers: What’s the Difference & Which is Best?
Controlled vs Slow-Release FertilizerBoth slow and controlled release fertilizers are similar in that neither make nutrients available to grass all at once or over a short timeframe. The differ however in how that happens. Slow-release fertilizers act a bit more natural and depending on microbial activity can release nutrients at a different pace or mix in one environment compared to another. Controlled release uses special coatings typically to make the nutrient availability the same in each environment it is applied. This article covers a lot of the details behind how all of this works and explains the advantages and disadvantages of one over the other when used in your yard.

Does Nitrogen Make the Grass Green?
does nitrogen make the grass turn greenThere are micro-nutrients that your lawn needs to thrive and many of these affect the color of the grass but within the macro-nutrient category nitrogen does the most for the color and growth pattern of your grass. Nitrogen is single-handedly the most important nutrient for grass since since the entire plant is basically a green leaf blade or patch of blades sitting just above the soil level. In this article I explain how grass greens up with nitrogen and what other factors come into play when you want to get your grass to a darker green color.

Should You Fertilize the Grass in the Summer?
Should You Fertilize Grass in the SummerThe summer is the slowest growth time of the year for cool season turf grasses like KGB, Fescues, and Rhy. Assuming the temperature doesn’t get too hot and irrigation remains high enough the grass will be green and growing but not with the same vigor as as does in the Spring and Fall. This is the reason why most lawn care professionals wait through this time of the year for a late summer application so as to not push the grass during naturally slow times. This article goes into the timing of all this in greater detail.

How to Stimulate Root Growth in Grass
How to Stimulate Root Growth in GrassMost people know that of the three macro-nutrients Phosphorus is most instrumental in plant root development, however you can’t just pump P into the lawn all season long and expect your grass root system to exponentially expand. Too much Phosphorus is not good for both the environment and your grass. It can lead to plant nutrient uptake problems if applied in excess so to push greater root mass we have to use different advanced tactics.

What Does Phosphorus do for Grass?
What Does Phosphorus do for GrassPhosphorus is one of the “big three” macronutrients that plants need to grow. Grass in particular needs a lot of Phosphorous to put on adequate root structure. For every pould of Nitrogen applied to a lawn over the course of a season it needs approximately a quarter of a pound of P to support healthy growth. Rooting however is not all that P is needed for however and there are many reasons why a lawn might need more Phos or less.

When to Fertilize New Sod
when to fertilize new sodIf you have ever had sod installed you probably were told by the landscaping company that the sod “doesn’t need to be fertilized” or the sod “already has fertilizer in it”. My installer told me both of these statements many years ago which in hindsight and experience I have learned to be only half-truths. Although sod was fertilized prior to its installation in your lawn much of the root mass is severed at time of cutting and the new growth will require special care very soon after installation, including the application of fertilizers.

What Does Lime do for Grass?
What Does Lime do for GrassLots of people have heard of the concept of applying lime to a lawn every year to improve the density and color of the turf but most people don’t know why. In actuality only a minority of lawns will benefit from the application of lime because of the natural pH of the soil under the grass. When lawn soil is too acidic lime helps improve the turf but when it’s neutral or alkaline lime can actually make a lawn look worse.

When Should You Apply a Winter Fertilizer to Grass?
When Should You Apply a Winter Fertilizer to GrassThe winterizer fertilizer treatment is one of the most misunderstood facets of lawn fertilization of them all in my opinion. fertilizers are typically used to improve the quality of a stand of grass or spur extra growth to fill in a thinning lawn or to add a deeper green color to a faded green lawn. Depending on when you apply your last fertilizer application of the year the fertilizer may be used to push new growth, it might be lost to the atmosphere or the environment or it may be used in the following season. Depending on what type of product you apply and what your goals are dictates when you make your winterization app.

Liquid Lawn Fertilizer vs Granular Fert
liquid lawn fertilizer vs granularIs it better to use liquid fertilizer over granular? Most people think it’s easier to spread granular fertilizers but does that mean they aren’t as good? In this post I discuss all the fundamentals you should have an understanding of when applying the most common types of lawn food to your patch.

Here are a few more fertilizer articles to browse:

How To Fertilize For Deep Dark Green Grass
Are Sunday Lawn Fertilizers Any Good?
The Best Lawn NPK Ratio Explained
First Fertilizer Of The Year For A Lawn
The Simplest Way To Improve A Bad Lawn Fast
Are Lawnbox Fertilizers Any Good?
Spring Fertilization Schedule For Lawns
How Much Nitrogen Can You Put On A Lawn
Best Alternatives To Hydretain
How To Lower Soil pH In The Lawn
Best Weed Preventers For Lawns
Best Time To Spay Dandelions

You can also see my entire lineup of lawn care guides here.