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When’s the perfect time to fertilize your lawn?


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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – February started as a soaker, but now we have stepped across the puddles and are ready for drier and warmer days. Not only is it pleasant to get outside, it’s a perfect time to prepare our lawns for the beginning of our growing season.

Most of us know our lot sizes, but do you know your actual yard measurements? This is an important piece of information and the first step in preparing your soil for a lush lawn.

Applying too much fertilizer can harm your lawn and the environment. First, you need to know how many square feet your lawn covers. Next, what type of grass do you have? Different grasses have different needs. Next, and this is an important one, what type of fertilizer do you plan to use?

Professional guidance here will help your lawn, protect our environment and keep a couple extra dollars in your wallet. UF/IFAS has an extension office locally, UF/IFAS Extension Duval County 1010 N. McDuff Ave., Jacksonville, FL 32254. Call (904) 255-7450 or contact them online, They can help you calculate how much fertilizer to apply and when.

Hold on, we’re not ready yet. How does your yard look?  Is it starting to turn green or is it just waking up from the winter nap?  Fertilizing too soon can cause nutrient deficiencies, creating yellow areas in your lawn.

While nitrogen is taken up by the lawn under cool conditions, early lawn growth is dependent on iron also being readily available. Lawns turn yellow due to a lack of iron, which is slow to absorb in cool soils.

Although the grass may be growing and greening due to our abundance of rain, we need warm overnight temperatures for best root growth. Keep that in mind before filling the hopper and pushing the spreader. Too much, too soon could burn the new root growth.

Locally, it is recommended to wait until your lawn has completely greened before applying any fertilizer with weed control. If your lawn needs more time under the sun, remember you will not hurt your yard by waiting to fertilize, but you can do damage by applying fertilizing too early.