Around 80 percent of U.S. homes have a lawn that needs to be cared for. Your lawn pulls nutrients from the soil, but most types of grass won’t get everything they need from the earth alone. It’s important to fertilize your lawn regularly to ensure your grass is healthy enough to develop new roots and leaves. A well-fertilized lawn will also have fewer weeds and recover faster from damage.
Find out what type of grass you have. Different types of grass require different fertilizers, which are applied during specific seasons. Cool-season lawns should be fertilized in late spring or late fall. Warm-season lawns are best fertilized in the late spring or summer. You can determine the type of grass on your lawn with online research. Scotts Miracle-Gro also has a helpful grass identifier tool.
Research your fertilizer timing. Depending on your grass type, you will need to fertilize at different intervals. Slow-growing grass only needs fertilizer once a year, while other types require two or more sessions. You can determine what frequency your grass requires with online research.
Choose a fertilizer Read the labels on the fertilizer bags to make sure they’re compatible with your grass. If your grass is less than 2 years old, look for “starter” formulas. Also consider using an organic fertilizer or compost. For more information on composting, read: Make A Compost Bin.
Protect your pet. If you have a four-legged friend, avoid purchasing a fertilizer that contains cocoa, blood or bone meal. These ingredients will make the fertilizer smell like food to your pet. For more information on pet safety, read: Pet-Proof Your Yard.
Avoid the heat. Spreading fertilizer on a hot day or during a dry period increases the chances your fertilizer will burn the grass. If possible, wait for a cool day and some rain.
Spread your fertilizer. Put on your gloves and use a fertilizer spreader, which can be bought at your local hardware store, to spread the nutrients. Make sure the spreader is properly adjusted for the type of fertilizer you are using (this information is located on most fertilizer bags). Walk behind your spreader at a normal pace, and move systematically so you cover all areas once. TIP: Overlap you wheel tracks just a bit to avoid unhealthy looking strips.
Water after fertilizing. It’s important to water your lawn after fertilizing to prevent the grass from being burned.
Maintain your lawn. Fertilizing will cause your grass to grow faster, so it will require more frequent mowing. Be ready!