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Setting a Lawn Fertilizer Schedule for Your Yard

Posted on October 7, 2020 by Lawn Doctor

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Lawn Doctor of Buffalo Grove-Lake Zurich-Barrington-Palatine fertilizing a thriving lawn


The benefits of a lawn fertilizer schedule are endless. For starters, feeding your grass will let it grow greener and thicker. Fertilizing improves the health of a lawn’s root system, making the grass more resistant to weeds and drought. When done properly, lawn feeding drastically upgrades the yard’s appearance and makes those summer barbecues all the more welcoming.

Fertilization, like any lawn care task, requires special attention when it comes to timing, frequency, and location. All of these factors impact its effectiveness and the overall health of your grass. In fact, neglecting them can hurt your lawn. Our advice will help you establish an effective lawn fertilizer schedule.

Grass Type and Location Make a Huge Difference

Every variety of grass falls into one of two categories:  cool-season or warm-season turfgrass. Lawns in the North include cool-season grasses like Tall and Fine Fescue, Rye, and Kentucky Bluegrass. Lawns South of the growing transition zone are considered warm-season grasses such as Centipede, Bermuda, Saint Augustine, and Zoysia. The Transition Zone includes a mixture of cool and warm-season grasses that both thrive within this region. 

Because of their different climate conditions, warm and cool-season grasses have different fertilization requirements. Additionally, individual grass types also impact the lawn fertilizer schedule. As a result, the timing and frequency tips below are only general rules of thumb. For the most accurate information concerning your lawn’s specific fertilizer schedule, consult your local Lawn Doctor professional. They can help refine your grass fertilizer schedule and pest control program.

How Often Should You Fertilize Your Lawn? 

Cool-season and warm-season turfgrass should be fertilized frequently during the optimum climate conditions to encourage root development and turfgrass density. Timing is dependent on your region and growing conditions. Grass should be fertilized every four to six weeks with the number of treatments ranging from four to eight per service season. The lawn’s health plays an effect and certain growing conditions may necessitate fewer fertilizer applications. Contact your local Lawn Doctor for information on fertilizer programs in your area.

When Should You Fertilize Your Lawn? 

Cool-season grasses should be fertilized well in the spring to encourage deep roots and healthy top growth well before the signs and symptoms of summer stress. Light fertilizer applications made in summer will ensure the turf remains healthy, continues to push new growth, and recover from hot and dry conditions. Fall fertilizer applications remain the most important for plant recovery and storing nutrients before winter dormancy. 

Warm-season grasses are fertilized in early spring to encourage new growth and develop a healthy root system. During late spring and summer, warm-season turfgrass thrives and as a result requires more stabilized nutrients to outcompete weeds. Late summer and fall fertilizer applications improve the overall health and appearance of your lawn, allowing the turf to store nutrients before winter dormancy and encourage a rapid spring greening.

Remember to Water

Watering your lawn several days before and after applying fertilizer will enhance the effectivenessIrrigation will keep the soil hydrated before the product is applied. After your lawn is fertilized, watering again is very important as the water will activate the fertilizer into the soil, making it readily available to the turf roots. Fertilizing will be a fraction as effective if you don’t water afterward. Check out our lawn watering tips for best practices.

Coordinate with Aeration

If you plan on hiring a lawn aeration service, scheduled fertilization afterward will increase the turf response and recovery. It will also encourage deeper roots and produce a thick healthy lawn preventing weed development.

Get Started on Your Lawn Fertilizer Schedule Now

Spring is the best time to get the ball rolling on fertilizer schedule. The sooner your lawn is fed, the better equipped it will be to thrive over the coming months. Don’t forget to consider other lawn care maintenance schedules too. Fill out the form below or contact Lawn Doctor today for expert lawn and garden fertilization services.

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