apply spring lawn fertilizer

When To Apply Spring Lawn Fertilizer: Answered

Fertilizing your yard during spring is important to provide all the nutrients it needs for healthy growth. It provides you with a lush-green and healthy lawn and minimizes the risk of certain issues, such as weak growth and moss.

However, applying the fertilizer incorrectly will be counterproductive and will damage your yard. Generally, the best time to apply fertilizer on your lawn is in late spring because this is when the green grass starts to grow eagerly.

However, when to apply spring lawn fertilizer needs more explanation. For example, you can have an early spring fertilizer application to minimize the risk of a weed invasion. So, let’s discuss the topic in detail.

When To Apply Lawn Fertilizer During Spring

Most gardeners like to spread fertilizer on their lawns during spring, which is followed by a couple more applications after the growing season starts. If you’re one of those people, make sure that you don’t apply fertilizer, which helps grass blades and plants to grow early in the season.

That’s because most lawn grasses' energy is used for root growth at this time. Applying fertilizer at this stage will make plants use this energy for lead development instead of the root system, which can harm your lawn.

Adding fertilizer to feed your lawn during late spring will prepare your plants and grass for the hot summer months. During this time, the carbohydrate production of grass will slow down, and it’ll start utilizing the reserves.

Slow-release fertilizers will provide your lawn grass with nitrogen and other essential nutrients it needs to rebuild/refill its energy reserves (carbohydrates). It’ll help it ward off the stress caused by the severe heat of the summer season, along with insects, diseases, and high traffic.

What Type of Fertilizer You Should Use in Spring

If you applied fertilizer on your lawn during the previous fall, then you should opt for slow-release granular fertilizer to help the grass grow in the spring.

Although many lawn care companies and fertilizer manufacturers say that you should fertilize your yard in early spring, you should pay attention to the advice of soil experts and specialists.

According to Washington State University, applying fertilizer too early in the spring will certainly help grass and plants with top growth but at the expense of root development.

Spring Lawn Fertilization: Effective Technique

You can use the following technique to fertilize your lawn during spring for effective and healthy growth.

Early Spring

Your first fertilizer application should be in early spring, and you should use a pre-emergent herbicide. It’s a combination of crabgrass control herbicide and fertilizer and doesn’t contain a full fessing of traditional fertilizer.

It’ll slightly boost the growth of your grass to keep it healthy and green and prevent crabgrass seedlings from developing all season long. Ideally, you should apply a pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn before its temperature reaches 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

It could be early April, late April, or even early May, depending on your area's climate. Follow the product's recommendations and labels to ensure that you use it correctly. Additionally, get your soil tested to address micro and macro-nutrient deficiencies.  

Mid Spring

If you applied fast-release fertilizer as a last-minute dosage for your lawn during late winter last year, you won’t need to use traditional fertilizer during mid-spring. That’s because your soil should still have enough nutrients stored to give the grass and plants the jump-start they need.

So, you can wait after applying pre-emergent herbicide for some time before you spread traditional fertilizer. Ideally, you should wait until the soil temperature reaches around 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It’ll equal 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit of the outside temperature.

But if you didn’t apply fertilizer at the end of the previous winter, you can use weed-and-feed lawn fertilizer four to six weeks after the pre-emergent herbicide application. It’ll be about a month before summer starts.

Don’t forget to incorporate macronutrients and humic acid with this lawn fertilizer application. These amendments and enhancements will dramatically improve the soil quality to promote a thick, healthy, green lawn.

Late Spring

If you want to use a fertilizer that will feed your lawn throughout the remaining days of spring and the summer season, consider using slow-release lawn fertilizer. Make sure that you understand the composition of the fertilizer you use.

There are three main nutrients in every fertilizer, including Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and they’re also denoted as N, P, and K, respectively. The ratio of these three nutrients is mentioned on the fertilizer’s packaging, which will help you choose the correct product.

Fertilizers, with a 20:20:20/N:P:K ratio, are balanced products and contain all three nutrients in the same amounts. You’ll need to choose this ratio based on the amounts of different nutrients in your lawn soil.

For example, if your soil is deficient in potassium, you’ll need a fertilizer with a ratio of 10:12:24.

The fertilizer you want for late spring application shouldn’t have high nitrogen content. That’s because it’ll force more grass growth than needed and stress lawn grass.

We also recommend you apply soil conditioners, such as compost and manure, on your lawn at this stage. It’ll make air, moisture, and nutrients more available to the roots of grass and plants for healthy growth.

Final Words

While many lawn care companies and fertilizer manufacturers may recommend using fertilizers during early spring, it’s not the best approach to use, according to studies. You should apply traditional fertilizer on your lawn in the late spring to achieve the best results.

However, you can use a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring to prevent weeds from growing and prepare your lawn for the growing season.

Lastly, always conduct a soil test before buying fertilizer to ensure that you choose a product that contains all the essential nutrients your lawn soil needs for optimal grass and plant growth.

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