When to fertilize your lawn
By KELLIE SPEED BESTREVIEWS | MAY 10, 2021
Can you fertilize in the summer?
Fertilizing your lawn is one of the first things you should do as soon as the temperatures warm up to maintain its lush appearance. Knowing when to feed your lawn is the key to maintaining its beautiful appearance year-round.
When it comes to fertilizing your lawn, summer is one of those tricky times of year due to the high heat and humidity. Here’s a look at what you need to know when it comes to fertilizing grass when the temperatures soar.
The best time to fertilize lawn
Fertilizing your lawn beginning in early spring is the best way to get nutrients directly into the soil to prepare for the warmer months ahead. Fertilizer works to reduce the amount of weed growth while helping to protect the lawn from pest damage.
Your lawn is ready to be fertilized when the soil reaches temperatures above 50 degrees; a soil thermometer is an easy way to tell when your lawn is the appropriate temperature. For most climates, the first feeding of the season typically occurs in mid- to late April, and the second feeding should be applied in mid-May, with follow-up fertilizers being applied every six to eight weeks thereafter, with the last in fertilization in October.
Best fertilizer for grass
The best fertilizer for your lawn depends on where you live. The soil in the northeast is vastly different than that of the southwest, so you want to be sure you choose the fertilizer that works best for your climate, the time of year you are putting it down and what type of grass you have.
Identify the grass type
Northern states have cool season grasses while southern states have warm season grasses. Be sure to check which type of fertilizer is best suited for your climate. Cool season grasses start growing in early spring and go dormant in late fall, while warm season grasses begin their growing process in late spring and go dormant in early fall. Southern lawns can withstand the heat of summer and continue to grow, while northern lawns will go dormant during high heat.
What you need to fertilize your lawn
When it comes to fertilizing your lawn over the summer, there are just two things you need: a spreader and the right fertilizer.
Top fertilizer spreaders
- Scotts Turf Builder EdgeGuard Mini Broadcast Spreader: This lightweight walk-behind spreader can distribute up to 5,000 square feet of fertilizer accurately via its numerous settings.
- TIPU Hand Spreader Shaker: Ideal for small yards, this hand spreader is easy to use with just a few shakes to distribute the fertilizer over your yard.
- Chapin 150-Pound Tow Behind Spreader: One of the best ways to evenly spread fertilizer is with this tow-behind spreader that attaches to a ride-on mower that also has an auto stop feature to discontinue spreading when not in use.
- Yard Tuff Shoulder Spreader: You can adjust how much fertilizer you would like to spread with this convenient pack that has a shoulder strap for comfortable use.
Summer lawn fertilizers
Summer is an important season to fertilize your lawn to help strengthen the grass to prepare it for the high temperatures, hours of direct sunlight and humidity. Which fertilizer is best to apply during the summer months? Here’s a look at the top fertilizers:
- Scotts Green Max Lawn Food: Designed for high humidity and warm season grasses, this fertilizer provides nutrients to your soil for up to three months.
- Pennington UltraGreen Lawn Fertilizer: Put down Pennington's fertilizer anytime between June, July or August and its fast-acting iron and slow-release nitrogen will not only give a boost of color to your lawn, but also provide continued feeding for up to three months.
- Milorganite Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizer: You don't have to water this slow-release fertilizer as the organic granules will continue to provide a green lawn all summer long (up to 10 weeks).
- Scotts Turf Builder SummerGuard Lawn Food: While providing the nutrients your lawn needs to protect against the summer heat, Scotts also guarantees this turf builder will not burn the grass.
The best time to apply fertilizer to your lawn is after mowing, so keep this in mind.
How to apply lawn fertilizer
The best time to apply fertilizer is when the grass is growing. If you are in a heavy sun climate with limited rain, watering your lawn is important to keep the fertilizer from burning the grass. If heavy rain is predicted where you live, you should wait to apply the fertilizer to avoid having it washed off the grass.
It’s important to apply fertilizer using a dry spreader to avoid product clumping. The fertilizer should also be dry to ensure an even spread and avoid getting clogged in the spreader.
Check the fertilizer bag to see which setting you should set the rate of flow on the spreader. If you are unsure, go with the slower setting to avoid overapplication. Fill the hopper of the spreader with the fertilizer, then spread the fertilizer evenly over your yard, taking care not to overapply in the same areas.
After you have finished spreading the fertilizer, clean the spreader thoroughly, along with any excess product that may have gotten onto the driveway or patio areas.
Best time of day to fertilize lawn
The best time of day to fertilize your lawn is in the early morning hours for “quick-release” fertilizer. The morning hours also offer less sun, cooler temperatures and low winds. Never apply lawn fertilizer over the summer midday during the high heat and direct sun, which will cause the grass to burn and the lawn to dry out.
Remember, it is important to first read the label of every fertilizer you are applying to see if water should be applied before or after application.
Kellie Speed is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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