# How to Fertilize Your Lawn

Lawn fertilizers consist of nitrogen, phosphate, potassium and other nutrients. Of these, nitrogen is the most important for healthy growth.

### Fertilizing the Lawn

Fertilize during the lawn's most active growth periods: spring and fall in cool climates and early and late summer in warm climates. Avoid fertilizing during very hot weather, when many grass lawns are essentially dormant.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Ben Rollins.

Image courtesy of Ben Rollins.

Fertilize during the lawn's most active growth periods: spring and fall in cool climates and early and late summer in warm climates. Avoid fertilizing during very hot weather, when many grass lawns are essentially dormant.

## Materials Needed

• lawn fertilizer
• water and lawn
• sprinkler

## Step 1: Determine Grass Type

Different grasses need different amounts of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn per year. Blue gramma, buffalo, and centipede grasses need up to 2 pounds. Bahia, ryegrass, fine fescue, St. Augustine, and zoysia grasses need 2 to 4 pounds. Bentgrass, Bermuda, Kentucky bluegrass, and tall fescue need 3 to 6 pounds. Use the upper end of the range in warmer climates that have longer growing seasons, and less in cooler climates with shorter growing seasons. Take a soil sample from your lawn to a garden center or testing lab for analysis every three to four years to find out the correct amount of nutrients and other additives, such as lime, sulfur, or gypsum, your lawn needs.

## Step 2: Calculate Nitrogen on Bag

The numbers on the bag, such as 25-5-5, refer to the percentages of N-P-K in the fertilizer. To calculate the actual pounds of N-P-K a fertilizer contains, multiply the percentage (number) times the weight of the bag. A 50-pound bag of 25-5-5, for example, contains 12-1/2 pounds of nitrogen (.25 x 50).

Adjust the setting on your spreader to the number recommended on the fertilizer bag. If the calibration setting is not given, calculate it using the following method: weigh the correct amount of fertilizer needed for 100 sq. ft. Using the spreader, apply the measured amount on a 100 sq. ft., hard, clean surface. Adjust the setting as necessary. Sweep up and return fertilizer to the spreader.

Spread fertilizer around the perimeter of the lawn or section of lawn first. Then move back and forth in slightly overlapping strips to cover the whole lawn evenly with fertilizer.

## Step 5: Water Lawn

A day or two before applying the fertilizer, water the lawn thoroughly. Apply fertilizer once the grass is dry, then lightly water again to wash the fertilizer off the grass blades and into the soil.

### Next Up

#### How to Fertilize Your Lawn and Garden

Learn how adding fertilizer can be beneficial, especially for fruits, veggies and container plants. Fertilizers can also help kick-start growth after planting and reinvigorate plants that have been pruned hard.

#### How to Repair Your Lawn Sprinkler

Learn how to inspect and replace damaged risers and heads in a lawn sprinkler system.

#### How to Repair Lawn Edges

If not repaired, damaged edges will continue to deteriorate, and like any bare patch, they also provide an open invitation for weeds to establish. Reseeding a damaged edge is rarely effective, so try tackling the problem using this simple technique.

#### How to Create a Level Lawn

Create a level lawn and prevent future problems with this step-by-step landscaping guide to remove bumps and hollows.

#### Plugging and Sprigging a Lawn

Learn how to start a brand-new warm-season lawn or patch an existing one using plugs or sprigs.

#### How to Repair Bald Spots in Your Lawn

Find out how to get bald spots in your lawn to start sprouting.

#### Lawn Feeding Simplified

Keep your lawn nourished for its long-term health and beauty.

#### How to Winterize Your Lawn

Learn what to do to prepare your lawn for winter. Taking the right steps in fall prepares your grass for quick spring greening.

#### Lawn Care Tips to Keep Your Lawn Green and Growing

Mow, water and fertilize on a regular basis to keep your yard looking lush and tidy.

#### How to Reclaim a Weedy Yard

Grow healthy grass and say 'goodbye' to those nasty weeds with these simple and easy-to-follow lawn and gardening tips.

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