Proper and adequate fertilization of your lawn is essential to a green, lush and healthier yard. Whether you’re looking to impress your neighbors or create a beautiful outdoor haven for your family to enjoy, you can fertilize your lawn the easy way and accomplish your goals.
While some varieties of grass require a fall fertilization application, many greens perform best when fertilized in the spring. Determine which type of grass you have and plan accordingly.
Warm-season grasses, which include varieties like St. Augustinegrass and Bermudagrass, prefer fertilization in late spring or early summer, with a second application in late summer. Time your fertilization for right before peak growing begins. If you’re in an area of the country where your grass goes dormant in the winter, do not fertilize after Labor Day.
Cool-season grasses, including Kentucky bluegrass and Tall fescue, are best fertilized in early fall. It is typically acceptable to only feed cool-season grass once per year. Fertilizing before winter dormancy allows for a fast greening in the spring. Shoot for October or November.
WHAT ARE THE METHODS TO FERTILIZE YOUR LAWN THE EASY WAY?
The easiest and fastest way to fertilize your lawn is equipment-assisted. There are several types of fertilizing equipment; choose the best one for your lawn size.
- Large lawns
Broadcast and rotary spreaders are your best choice for a more extensive than average yard. They make the fertilization process faster and less back-breaking. Start by filling the hopper on a tarp to catch spills. Work the machine around the perimeter of the yard first, and then move in a back and forth pattern, slightly overlapping each pass.
- Suburban-sized lawns
For an average-sized, or suburban-sized lawn, use a drop spreader. It uses a controlled fertilizer distribution process. Move in a back and forth pattern, slightly overlapping each pass. A drop spreader costs a little more than other equipment, but it’s a worthwhile investment for an average-sized lawn.
- Small lawns
For a smaller yard, try using a handheld broadcast spreader. This is a manual process, which is only practical for compact lots. Walk steadily and slowly, slightly overlapping each pass. While not recommended for medium and large lawns, these homeowners can use a handheld broadcast spreader for heavily shaded areas of the yard that have different nitrogen needs than the rest of the lawn.
- Small lawns and hard to reach areas
The second option for little yards and areas of other lawns that are hard to maneuver around is a handheld, pre-calibrated and battery-powered spreader. Fill the machine with fertilizer, flip the switch and walk evenly and cautiously back and forth across the grass.
WHAT CAN YOU DO BEFORE YOU FERTILIZE YOUR LAWN THE EASY WAY?
Before you begin the fertilization process, consider assisting growth further by preparing the grass for the fertilizer.
Grass-cycling is a method in which you leave grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. Decaying grass clippings contain nitrogen—up to 25% of your lawn’s needs. You don’t need a mulching mower, just change out the current mower blade with a mulching blade. A mulching blade cuts grass into smaller pieces than a traditional blade, allowing the clippings to decompose faster.
Aeration machines pull plugs of grass and soil out of the ground, creating holes in your lawn that allow direct access to the roots for water and fertilizer. A core aerator is best for average to large sized yards, though the equipment is heavy, and the work is hard; consider using more than one person for the task. For smaller lawns, you can use aerating shoes, or a cheaper option is repeatedly forcing a digging fork into the soil, though this is probably the most laborious method.
WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW BEFORE YOU FERTILIZE YOUR LAWN THE EASY WAY?
Some crucial elements to remember to fertilize your lawn the easy way include watering and types of fertilizer.
Adequate watering is essential for achieving ideal results. You need to water both before and after fertilization. Water first a day or two before you plan to fertilize—ensuring the entire lawn is dampened thoroughly. After the grass has dried completely, apply fertilizer and lightly water again. The second watering is vital as it washes excess fertilizer off the grass blades and drives it into the soil. If you keep an eye on the weather forecast, you can also time fertilization between two rainfalls, though not before a heavy downpour or you risk losing your fertilizer in runoff. Avoid fertilization entirely if you’re in a drought and the grass is brown or withered.
The type of fertilizer you use depends heavily on your variety of grass. Each species of grass has different nitrogen needs. St. Augustinegrass, warm-season, is best suited to the coastal plain and when well treated produces a dense, lush lawn. It is nitrogen-sensitive and should never receive more than 4lbs of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
Bermudagrass, also warm-season, is exceptionally drought-tolerant and makes a hardy turf when appropriately fertilized. It only needs a one-half pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Kentucky bluegrass, cool-season, is well-suited for mountainous regions and recovers well from droughts. It requires 3lbs of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Tall fescue, cool-season, is excellent for mountainous areas, but can also be maintained in coastal plains. Use 1lb of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
When choosing your fertilizer, take note of its label as well as the nitrogen content. Some fertilizers have herbicide mixed in and are labeled ‘weed-and-feed.’ Consider whether the herbicide is necessary before purchasing this type of fertilizer. Not every lawn needs or should have herbicide.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO FERTILIZE YOUR LAWN THE EASY WAY?
If fertilizing your lawn sounds overly-complicated, or you simply don’t have the time, try using Mowbot. Mowbot is more than just a robotic mower; it’s a full-service lawn care company. This means your Robot Wrangler manages and maintains your robotic mower as well as trims, edges and blows your yard. There are several packages to meet your needs, with options including aeration and fertilization amongst others.
Mowbot is a one-stop shop for all your lawn care needs, eliminating the need to use several companies to maintain one yard. Mowbot is also environmentally friendly, using battery-powered robots, equipment, and vehicles. Typically costing the same if not less than traditional commercial lawn care services, Mowbot truly is your best, less stress option.