Fertilizing grasses

Lesco fertilizer

One man and a Mower in Salt Lake on fertilizers

Fertilizers are plant food additives. Not many soils are fertile enough to supply all the nutrients that healthy plants need. The soil in most areas has become so depleted over the years that fertilizers and other additives are needed.


Soil types
Types of soils

You cannot rely on soil color as an indicator of fertility. The darkest soil may lack essential nutrients. Lawn grass will often survive without being fertilized, it probably will not look as nice as many people would like. A healthy, green, lush lawn is generally a result of a proper program of fertilization and soil conditioning.

Many experts and lawn care professional have different opinions about how often and when to fertilize. It is probably best to fertilize at the beginning of the growing season when the type of grass you have (warm or cool season) is most actively growing. For cool season grasses this is in fall and spring. For warm season grasses the time is late spring as growth really accelerates. In addition to spring fertilization, you should also add in weed control to improve the appearance of your lawn.

How frequently you fertilize you lawn depends on the amount of maintenance you lawn requires and the type of grass. Low maintenance lawns do not need to be fertilized as frequently as higher maintenance lawns. For medium maintenance lawns there should be an additional fertilization added to the schedule. For cool season lawns this is generally in spring and for warm season lawns a fall application is added. High maintenance lawns need more fertilization during the most active growing months.

Lawn Fertilizers – Cool Season Grasses

Cool Season Grasses, excluding Bermuda and Zoysia, which are warm season grasses; cool season grasses in temperate areas like Fescues, Bluegrasses and Ryegrasses do well with one to two light feedings in the early fall to promote root growth. Mid spring feeding helps promote top growth and thicker foliage development. Do not fertilize heavily in the summer or late spring and do not use a fast acting fertilizer on a cool season grass late in spring. If you do, you risk burning the grass.

Fall feedings are the best because it helps the grass to store more nutrients that allow your cool season grass to survive the harsh winter dormancy period and to resume healthy growth in the spring.

Fertilizing Warm Season Grasses

Warm Season Grasses – Warm season grasses have the greatest growth in the late spring and early summer. Because of this heavier growth, this is the best time to fertilize and add the additional nutrients. A first application in early spring, when the grass first begins to green and the danger of frost is past, will help the grass to start growing.

Iron addative
Iron additive for greening lawn

Each variety of grass needs different amounts of nutrients and nitrogen during the growing season to continue healthy root development and to increase the top growth. The amount of fertilizer applied depends on the specific grass variety and mix. The amount of Fertilizer is also dependent upon the soil makeup and condition. The climatic conditions, microbes and insects in the soil, watering schedules, and the type of fertilizer that will be added all contribute to the condition of the soil.

Summer Lawn Fertilization

Warm season grasses can be fertilized during the summer using light applications of fertilizers. The time-released fertilizers are easy for the homeowner to apply and manage, and will not burn the grass if sufficient rainfall occurs or when regularly watered. How much maintenance you would like to do determines how much you should fertilize your lawn. The more you fertilize your lawn and condition your soil means more work, more mowing more disease control monitoring and more water. In some situations high maintenance lawns might require monthly applications, generally in much smaller amounts. You should not fertilize cool season grasses during the summer because of the risk of burning the lawn. Higher maintenance reward you with a much greener and lush lawn.

The soil should tested before fall or spring to give you more knowledge of the balance of other nutrients that may need to be added for the healthiest lawn. Over fertilization is more harmful than under fertilization. Just because a little helps does not mean that more will help more. Too much fertilizer, or fertilizer at the wrong time can harm you lawn and allow the growth of weeds.

Lawn Starter Fertilizers – New Lawns – Planting Seed, Sod or Grass Plugs

Fertilizer for seeding
Scotts starter fertilizer

Seed plantings require a different fertilizer analysis content than do established lawns. Germinating seeds need phosphorus and potassium to build healthy roots. Newly sodded, sprigged or plugged lawns need to build strong roots. Nitrogen is used by the foliage of the plant for greening. The higher degree of nitrogen can always be added later but phosphorus and potassium need to be in the soil from the beginning.

Starter fertilizers need to be worked into the soil as one of the last steps before planting. Starter fertilizers will contain a blend balanced with the three most needed ingredients of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus that allows for a health beginning growth. More elements are needed in addition to the main three ones and soil tests are conducted for this.

Do not us the weed & feed fertilizers for new seeding or sod. These may work great for spring use on established lawns, but the chemicals used in these fertilizers can harm or kill your newly planted grass while it is attempting to establish itself.

One Man and A mower in Salt Lake is happy to provide any assistance you need. We specialize in small apartment complexes, but are more than happy to assist home owners with their lawn care needs.