Learning when to fertilize is crucial to keeping your lawn healthy all year round. Planning your lawn fertilizing schedule early will put you ahead of the game. It may be hard to imagine now, but in a few months the temperature will rise and the snow will melt away. Once the snow is gone, it will be lawn care season and time to start fertilizing and treating your yard.
Getting a jump on your fertilizing in the early spring will help ensure a beautiful lawn for the summer. Putting down that lawn fertilizer as early as possible is key! It is important to know when to fertilize in order to feed your grass the nutrients it needs and to keep your grass green and happy. The summer is too hot to use chemical fertilizer so be sure to avoid spreading fertilizer in the summer as you will only hurt your lawn. Plan to fertilize in the late fall. This is the most important time of the year to fertilize and skipping it will not maximize your lawns health potential! Here are some tips and info on making a lawn fertilizing schedule for the year.
What does lawn fertilizer do?
Lawn fertilizer is the food that your lawn needs that is not always found naturally in the soil. Fertilizing your lawn will help with weed control and growth for thick and healthy grass. Feeding your lawn the correct fertilizer is important for the healthiest grass possible.
When you buy fertilizer, it will tell you how much nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium there is in the fertilizer. The levels of the nutrients are different in some bags of fertilizer because not all soils are the same nutrients wise. The nutrients that occur naturally in soil varies from lawn to lawn. You can figure out which nutrients are abundant in your soil and which fertilizer nutrient combination you need for your lawn by purchasing a do-it-yourself soil sample kit. The DIY soil sample kit will tell you the current nutrient levels in your soil and ensure you are feeding your lawn the food it needs.
Is Spring the Time to Fertilize?
With cool season grass, we want to fertilize in the early spring, but not too early. Once the outside temperature reaches fifty-five degrees fahrenheit, the lawn should no longer be dormant and it will be ready for a spring feeding.
Keep in mind, if you fertilize in the fall (which you should), there will still be some fertilizer left working while the lawn is waking up. Since there may still be some slow release fertilizer left, treating the lawn with nutrients too early will be a waste of fertilizer and time.
Here in Ohio, the temperature could hit fifty-five degrees in March, or it may not reach fifty-five until late April, we just never know! With our crazy temperatures, it makes it a little bit harder to make a lawn fertilizing schedule with a specific timeline, but you have to be prepared just in case we have an early spring this year! If there is an early spring, you may need to fertilize twice, once in the early spring and once in late spring. Ideally we want to get in a few fertilizer treatments before it gets too hot outside.
Is it too late to Fertilize in the Summer?
At this point you should be mowing your lawn, as grass should be actively growing during this time of the year. When it gets to the peak of summer, it is too hot to put down fertilizer. Putting down fertilizer at the peak of summer can cause damage to your lawn, but there are other ways you can add nutrients to your lawn during the high temperatures. Grasscycling is a free and easy way to feed your lawn. Grasscycling is when you leave the grass clippings on your lawn after mowing, the grass clippings will decompose and naturally fertilize your lawn. Remember to cut your grass at 3 to 4 inches to keep the roots shaded and allow for maximum water retention. Water your lawn and keep your grass happy to avoid summer lawn stress and damage. If you are facing extreme heat during the summer, which does happen in Ohio, water strategically for extreme heat and keep the nutrients in your grass and soil.
What about Fall Fertilizing?
If you only wanted to fertilize once a year and you had to choose between spring and fall, fall should win every time. With cool-season grass, the fall is the most vital time to fertilize your lawn. Treat your lawn twice in the fall, and NEVER skip the late fall fertilization. Mark late-fall with a bright red star on your calendar for your lawn fertilizing schedule. You do not want to miss it!
Since it is the last fertilization of the year, most people tend to skip this period, but it is actually the best time to fertilize! Roots are still active through December in this area of Ohio, and giving the soil nutrients will ensure strong root growth. Like I mentioned before, this fertilizer will still be active through early spring. This means that your spring grass will be beautiful, green, and healthy! A good time to do your last fertilization is about 6 weeks before the first frost. To make the best out of your fall fertilization, you may want to aerate your lawn and overseed as well.
Professional Lawn Care
Not only is it important to know when to fertilize but also to know how to keep a lawn fertilized, green, and healthy. There are many options out there, but you do not have to decide everything for yourself! Hiring a professional lawn care company to take care of your yard is the easiest way to keep your lawn as healthy as possible.
Professionals can do everything for your lawn and more than you could do yourself! There are many different options with hiring lawn care so it is best to figure out how little or how much you want to do yourself, then let the lawn care company figure out the rest. I can bet you that lawn care companies already have their lawn fertilizing schedule on the books!
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Author: Hannah McIntire