Four key pieces of knowledge will help you get the most out of your lawn fertilizer investment in terms of both time and money.
Apply at the right time
How often and when you apply lawn fertilizer varies based on the product you’re using. Traditional lawn-care programs recommend fertilizing four times a year since lawns use the main nutrient in them (nitrogen) in eight weeks or less.
However, GreenView’s Fairway Formula lawn fertilizers use a patented formulation of slow-release nitrogen to feed over 12 weeks. That means you only need 2 applications per year, once in spring and once in fall. Each product’s label gives you specific timing and frequency details of that product.
No matter the product, though, lawn fertilizers should never be applied to lawns that have gone dormant in hot, dry summer spells or when the lawn’s soil is frozen.
Also, be aware that some states and regions have restrictions on what time of year you can fertilize lawns and under which conditions phosphorus is allowed.
Read more on how to choose the right lawn fertilizer
Apply the right amount
Overdoing it with fertilizer wastes money by applying more nutrients than the lawn can use and may leach excess into waterways or even burn the lawn. In other words, more isn’t better.
On the other hand, underdoing it can lead to poor results or make turfgrass more prone to several diseases.
Applying the right amount of fertilizer depends on two main factors – the product itself and the type of spreader you’re using to apply it. Product labels specify how much fertilizer to apply (usually in pounds per 1,000 square feet) and what setting to use on your particular spreader (usually listed in chart form).
Apply the right way
For starters, fill your spreader over a hard surface where you can easily sweep up and use any spills. If you fill over the lawn, spills can dump granules in a concentrated area and burn or kill that spot.
When using the spreader, walk at a steady pace and line up each pass so that the product just touches. Allowing too much overlap or leaving gaps between passes can lead to “striping” which results in color differences where different amounts of fertilizer have spread. Remember to shut off the hopper if you have to pass over an area you’ve already treated.
Another option that can help with even application (if you don’t mind the extra walking) is reducing the application rate in half and applying it in two applications. Make the first pass in one direction and the second one in the opposite direction, creating a criss-cross pattern.
Always avoid spraying or dropping granules on sidewalks, driveways, and roads, where the product is wasted and will be carried away in rain runoff. If you accidentally apply fertilizer to hard surfaces, sweep it up to reuse on the lawn or sweep small amounts back onto the nearby lawn.
Make the weather work for you
To get the nutrients working as soon as possible, water the lawn a day or two before applying fertilizer and then water well immediately afterward. You can also fertilize just before rain is expected.
The exception is fertilizers that also contain weed-killers. These are best applied to damp lawns that are then not watered for at least 24 hours after application. Herbicide grains stick best to damp grass blades and work best when they’re in contact with the blades for at least a full day.
See GreenView’s Fairway Formula lineup of lawn fertilizers