A Guide to Fertilizing Your Lawn: 5 Things Every Lawn Owner Must Know

There’s more to lawn care in Mason, Ohio than just mowing grass. You also need to water, thatch and aerate it. However, there’s one particular lawn-keeping task that requires more research: fertilizing.

Lawn grass is a heavy feeder and needs regular watering to look its best. While any plant can benefit from the basic nutrients found in soil, grass has a particular need for macro-nutrients that come from water and air.

When ensuring that your lawn has a healthy, green glow, you need to fertilize it regularly. Sadly, many lawn owners don’t bother fertilizing the grass for two common reasons: they don’t understand the need for fertilizers or do not know what products to use and how to use them. To make matters worse, a lack of knowledge leads to incorrect use of fertilizers which, ultimately, does more harm than good.

To help you ensure the health of your lawn through fertilizing, here are five things you must remember before taking on the task:

1. The Timing Should Be Right

One thing that every lawn keeper should learn about fertilizing is that it’s all about timing.

Established lawns must be fed during their most active growth because this is the time when they need the nutrients most. So most experts recommend fertilizing lawns during springtime as it is mostly the period when the soil temperature reaches the ideal 55 degrees Fahrenheit. When the soil reaches this temperature, lilacs start to blossom, and grass begins to grow.

Still, it is important to note that there’s no universal rule that applies to all. After all, the prime fertilizing schedule may differ according to the climate in your area and what type of grass you have on your lawn.

Cool Season Grass

Most cool-season grasses stay green all year, especially when grown in cool and transitional areas of the country. These types of grasses do well in climates with cold winters and warm (not hot) summers.

According to the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, cool-season grasses must be fertilized twice. This should be done in autumn, anytime between September and November, and again during the first flush of spring growth in April or May.

Among the grasses under this category are:

  • Kentucky bluegrass
  • Perennial or annual ryegrass
  • Fine or tall fescue
  • Bentgrass

Warm Season Grass

Warm-season grasses are those that grow best in areas with temperatures ranging from 80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. These types of grass tend to go dormant or turn brown during winter, depending on the climate in your area. This winter dormancy can last between three to five months.

For warm-season grasses, fertilizing should be every four to eight weeks during active growth in the summer. However, you must avoid feeding grass during hot midsummer months.

Fertilizer application must be done in three phases:

  • When the grass starts to turn green in spring
  • Later in spring
  • During late summer

Below are examples of grasses that thrive in warm seasons:

  • Bahia
  • Bermuda
  • Buffalo
  • St. Augustine
  • Zoysia
  • Centipede

2. The Numbers Represent the Fertilizer Grade and Contents

Fertilizer shopping is another thing that makes the entire activity a bit daunting, especially without having any knowledge about the three numbers printed on the label.

Those three numbers represent the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – the three primary nutrients plants need to grow healthily. These are symbolized by N-P-K, respectively, in grass foods.

For example, a 20-5-10 product should contain 20 percent nitrogen, 5 percent phosphate, and 10 percent potassium. The rest of its contents are usually filler materials that aid in the even application of the fertilizer.

But what do these nutrients do for your lawn and garden? Below is a briefer on the benefits of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for plants:


Nitrogen helps promote growth and ensures a vibrant color of the foliage. It largely affects the leaves of the plant, making it essential for grasses.


Phosphorus is a nutrient necessary for boosting root and flower growth. It is also beneficial for the early establishment and is often used for enhancing fruit development.


Among the three, potassium plays a supporting role as it aids in the overall processes in a plant. For lawns, it also helps enhance the grass’s ability to use nitrogen.

3. Soil Testing is Essential

Now that you know what fertilizer grades stand for, you might think that you’re ready to choose what to use for your lawn. That may not be the case. Before you can know what fertilizer to buy, you must first need to know what your lawn actually needs through soil testing.  You can get help on services such as Grounds Maintenance Redditch Worcestershire as well.

After getting your soil tested, you should be able to determine the pH level of the soil. This is important because having a higher- or lower-than-ideal pH level might impede the grass’s ability to access nitrogen and other nutrients essential for its growth.

Soil testing gives you the knowledge in deciding the fertilizer ratio for your turf. Depending on the type of testing conducted, it can also indicate what nutrient the soil is deficient in.

4. The Manufacturer’s Instructions Must Be Followed

When applying fertilizers, you must always read the instructions and follow them religiously regardless of what product you use.

If you apply the fertilizer properly, you ensure that the time and money you spend in fertilizing your lawn doesn’t go to waste. Plus, it also keeps your family and pets safe while preventing lawn mishaps like fertilizer burn.

5. Different Types of Fertilizers Have Varying Effects

Aside from having different formulations or “grade,” fertilizers also have varying types based on how fast it can affect the grass. There are two main types of fertilizers in the market: quick release and slow release.

Quick-release fertilizers are those designed to make nutrients contained therein, to be immediately available for the lawn grass. These often come in water-soluble forms and can be applied using a hose so that they can reach the roots of the grass much quickly.

Quick-release fertilizers allow you to correct nutrient deficiency immediately, but it can also damage your grass if used incorrectly.

Meanwhile, slow-release fertilizers – also called “time-release” fertilizers – can deliver nourishment to your grass over an extended period. This often comes in granular form and is generally applied in spring to promote the steady growth of the grass throughout the year. This type of fertilizer is quite popular among homeowners because of its ease of application and is ideal for long-term grass support since it remains in the root zone for longer.

Fertilize Correctly for a Healthier Lawn

Keeping a lawn is not as easy as it seems. Lawn care in Fairfield, Ohio requires a significant investment of your time, money, and effort in order to ensure that your yard is in its best possible shape. Start by knowing the correct way to fertilize, and your lawn should do just fine.  That great looking lawn can go along with a pool, a spectacular composite deck and more to make your outdoor experience the best.