Lawn Fertilization Basics

Fertilizing your lawn is essential for a healthy and flourishing landscape. But getting started can be a bit intimidating. Fertilizing your lawn is not difficult, but there are a few things that you should know before you get started. From optimizing fertilizer placement to choosing the type of fertilizer, there’s a lot to learn. We will talk about what fertilizer to use, how much to use, and when to apply it. We will also discuss some common myths about lawn fertilization. Which method is best for you? How do you place fertilizers for optimal impact? These and other questions will be answered in our comprehensive skimming of lawn fertilization basics.

What is lawn fertilization?

Lawn fertilization is the application of fertilizer to lawns and remaining turf and natural areas that are required for their growth. The nutrients present in the soil are absorbed by grasses through their roots and are then used for growth. These nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.

Lawn fertilization is the primary form of lawn care that helps a lawn maintain its green color and flourish. There are many reasons to use fertilizer on your lawn, including summertime pest control. Whether you have just a few weeds or an overgrown jungle in your yard, a fertilizer program can provide your lawn with what it needs to thrive.

Lawns are typically composed of a mixture of different plant types, some of which are better than others at absorbing certain nutrients. Therefore, it is important that each type receives an adequate amount in order for them all to flourish together, as they do naturally outside in wild fields or meadows.

Benefits of fertilizing your lawn.

There are many benefits to fertilizing your lawn. They include:

  • Lawn fertilization helps your lawn grow thick and green. This can be done using a lawn fertilizer with high nitrogen content or by applying lawn food to give an immediate boost of color, followed by a lawn fertilizer.
  • Lawn fertilization helps the soil in your yard, which creates a healthy environment for worms and other beneficial organisms. When this happens, they will feed on thatch and break down dead grass plants while aerating the soil at the same time. If you have pets, it is important to make sure that their waste is cleaned up regularly so as not to add too much fertilizer in one place – too much nitrogen could cause some problems, such as burning, but if applied correctly, this should not happen.
  • Lawns that are not properly fertilized and maintained will become weak, vulnerable ground covers or develop bare spots, which can also be a home for insects. Fertilizing your lawn provides nutrients to keep it strong, disease-resistant, and attractive through all seasons of the year. 

What to consider before fertilizing

Maintaining a well-maintained lawn may not seem to be a job that requires much thought or effort, but there are many factors involved in keeping your lawn healthy and looking its best. These are things you should consider before fertilizing your lawn:

Test your soil

As with any lawn care practice, lawn fertilization should start with soil testing to determine if the soil pH and nutrient levels are in balance. 

It is common for lawns to be deficient in certain nutrients, especially nitrogen, due to its high mobility in the soil (it often leaches away before plants can use it) and high loss from turfgrass through mowing and clippings removal. 

Fertilizer contains nutrients that are essential for plant growth and health; nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K). A good fertilizer will have a balance of these nutrients, but the application rate will vary depending on the needs of your lawn. A soil test will tell you how much fertilizer your lawn needs.

The ideal pH level for most plants is between 6.0 and 7.0. Soil that is too acidic or too alkaline can prevent plants from absorbing nutrients through their roots. The soil test kit will also tell you the pH level of your soil. If the pH level is below 6.0 or above 7.5, you can adjust it with lime or sulfur, respectively.

A soil test can be performed by a state or county extension service or through a private lab. You can purchase a soil test kit at most garden centers or home improvement stores and follow the directions on the package to take a sample of your soil and send it to a lab for testing. You can also use an electronic device to measure your soil’s pH level at home and determine which type of fertilizer to use.

Types of grass

One of the most important things to know when fertilizing your lawn is what type of grass you have. Different grass requires different fertilizers. If you have St. Augustine grass, for example, it is a warm-season grass. This means it is best to fertilize it in the spring and fall, never on a hot day or even fertilize St. Augustine grass in summer because it can be hard to get the fertilizer down into its root system (subsoil) then. 

The climate you live in

Another thing to consider before fertilizing your lawn is the climate you live in. Lawns in climates with a lot of rainfall don’t need as much fertilizer because the rain washes it away and it also helps to keep the soil healthy.

Lawns in drier climates, on the other hand, may need more fertilizer because there isn’t as much water available to nourish the soil and grass. Lawns in drier climates may also need more fertilizer because they have less water available than lawns that receive frequent rainfall.

Lawns in regions with extreme heat or cold can benefit from fertilization at certain times of the year, such as springtime, when temperatures begin rising again after winter has ended. Lawns in climates with mild temperatures do not need additional fertilizer as often because their grass does well without it.

Amount of sunlight

Another factor to consider before fertilizing your lawn is how much sunlight it receives. Lawns that receive full sun should be fertilized every six weeks, while those with partial shade can go eight to ten weeks without fertilizer.

Amount of water

The amount of water your lawn receives is also important when considering whether to fertilize it. If you live in an area where rainfall is plentiful, there’s no need to fertilize as often as someone who lives in an area with less rain. Lawns that are watered regularly don’t need as much fertilizer as those that aren’t because they have more nutrients available from the soil itself. Lawns that receive less water can go longer periods without fertilizer, but it’s always better safe than sorry.

Choosing the right type of fertilizer

The next step in lawn fertilization is choosing the right type of fertilizer for your needs. There are three types: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).

Nitrogen encourages leafy green growth and helps grass resist disease. Phosphorus aids in root development, improves winter hardiness, and helps with flower and seed production. Potassium is essential for overall plant health and vigor, and also helps regulate water use.

Most lawn fertilizers will contain a mix of these three nutrients, but it’s important to read the label to make sure you’re getting what you need. If you have a specific deficiency in your lawn, you can purchase a fertilizer that is specifically tailored to address that issue.

When to fertilize your lawn?

You will want to fertilize your lawn when it is actively growing and most likely in need of nitrogen, potassium, or phosphorus (NPK) for growth – this means springtime if you live north of the equator and autumn southwards. If you’re unsure which season applies, then remember that grass grows again after winter dormancy.

Types of fertilizers

Based on the composition

Lawn fertilizers can be split into two categories, inorganic and organic.

Inorganic fertilizer is made from synthetic or chemical materials that will give quick green results for your lawn. Organic lawn fertilizer is derived from natural sources such as animal manures, composted food scraps, decomposed plant matter, etc.

Using organic fertilizer on your lawn will have a slower effect at first, but the end result is far superior to synthetic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers improve soil structure, increase microbial activity, and promote the growth of earthworms – all of which are important for a healthy lawn. They contain micronutrients that are vital to a healthy soil ecosystem. These include natural decomposers, such as bacteria and fungi, which break down dead grass into nutrients that the living turf needs to thrive. This creates healthier roots and microorganisms in the soil beneath the grass.

Inorganic fertilizers can also have harmful side effects on your lawn and the environment. They often contain harsh chemicals that can leach into groundwater or run off into waterways, damaging ecosystems. So if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly option, organic fertilizer is the way to go.

Based on the method of application

Based on application, there are two basic types of lawn fertilizers: granular and liquid.

Granular fertilizers are applied using a spreader and must be watered in to dissolve them. Liquid fertilizers are sprayed directly onto the grass.

Liquid fertilizers can also be in suspension or solution form. Suspension and solution lawn fertilizers are applied with a hose-end sprayer. They work well for spot treatments, but you’ll need to use more products to cover your entire lawn compared to granular fertilizer.

Tools needed for fertilization

  • Lawnmower
  • Garden hose with spray nozzle
  • Wheelbarrow or garden cart
  • Rake
  • Shovel
  • Lawn spreader (either handheld or walk-behind)

Best practices for fertilizing your lawn

  • Lawn fertilization is best done in the spring or fall months.
  • It should be done after the grass has started growing but before it stops growing.
  • Lawns are usually dormant during summer and winter. During these seasons, avoid using quick-release fertilizer on your lawn as this can burn your lawn roots and lead to other damages.
  • In order to fertilize your lawn, you will need a spreader.
  • When spreading the fertilizer, go against the grain of the grass and apply a light layer. Do not over-apply.
  • It is important to water your lawn after fertilizing it. Fertilizer does not work well if it is sitting on top of the ground; it needs to get down into the soil.

Lawn fertilization can be an easy process if you know what you’re doing. By following these simple tips, you can have a healthy and happy lawn.


Fertilizing your lawn serves a very important purpose. By supplying proper nutrients to the soil that it was grown in, you’re giving it everything that it needs to grow and flourish. This makes fertilizing an integral part of lawn care and something that anyone looking to keep their lawn healthy and beautiful should not overlook.

When you’re ready to reclaim your lawn this season, follow these lawn fertilization basics. Understanding how to properly apply fertilizer to your particular grass will allow you to regain control of your turf. And remember, if it’s still growing–it’s becoming greener.