Fertilizer Schedule – What, When, Why?
With great lawns come great responsibility. All of us lawn-owners know we have to do it, but we sometimes forget the “why” behind all the logistics and labor of maintaining a proper fertilizer schedule. We also all have to start somewhere, so a large portion of us don’t even know what a fertilizer schedule should look like.
This is a difficult area to find general information on; there is no one-size-fits-all application for fertilizing. The amount of nitrogen your lawn wants depends completely on your specific lawn: from the acreage, to the type of grass. To understand the ideal schedule for your specific lawn, you’ll have to do some outside research on your own. We’ve covered the basic questions below to help you get started.
What to Do
The first type of research you should do is to determine the statistics of your individual yard. What’s the acreage of the lawn area? What species of grass are you working with? How much sunlight is it exposed to on a given summer’s day? All these things should influence your watering and fertilizer schedule.
They will also influence the type of fertilizer you use. For the most part, all lawns will benefit from “slow-release” products, giving the grass a more consistent nitrogen source and letting it absorb the nutrients at its own pace. But be careful to not use too much, as there’s a limit to how much your grass can take before being “burned.”
You’ll also need to choose and plan for which application process you’d prefer to use. Most beginners have an easier time with the granular method, but some find the spray method quicker once they know how to factor in elements such as wind direction and how to get the most even coverage across the entire yard. (If you’re just starting out, we highly recommend you stick with the granules for now.)
When to Do It
The most important “when’s” of your fertilizer schedule will be determined when you’re making up your schedule. A general rule-of-thumb for many residential lawn-owners is to plan fertilizations around three major holidays: Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.
But many lawns need a fifth application somewhere between those dates; in this case, most schedules would revolve around a late spring to early autumn cycle, with a month or two between each application. There are really only two ways to pinpoint the best “when’s” for fertilizing your yard, and one of those ways includes experimenting and risking over fertilizing.
The only other way? Go online and research what other lawn-owners with your type of grass do. Chances are they’ve already gone through the experimentation process and know exactly how much and how often your grass can take fertilization, and which practices will help it flourish.
As far as when you should make your schedule… do it immediately! It’s never too early to start planning for next year.
Why Do It
If you’ve forgotten why you should bother with this cumbersome practice at all, remember that it will make all the difference in keeping your lawn healthy and alive, especially with so many areas across the country experiencing drought conditions over the past few years. So help your grass out and give it that nutritional boost it craves. It will provide you with a beautiful summertime yard for both you and your admires to appreciate!
If you have trouble gathering information about your yard, some local county offices have a special extension you can call to get standard watering and fertilizing advice for your area. You can also check our services page to see how we can help you with your fertilizer applications.