How to Apply Lawn Fertilizer? [complete guide]

Applying fertilizer to the lawn needs a few steps.

  • First, water the lawn before applying fertilizer and make sure the soil is fully wet.
  • Select a simple spreader to spread fertilizer on the lawn.
  • Now you have to spread the fertilizer in the middle of the lawn then around the diameter.
  • Make sure you are not missing any side of the lawn.

Before we go into the details of applying lawn fertilizer, let’s discuss the types of fertilizer to choose from. 

Types of Lawn Fertilizer

Here are two main types of lawn fertilizer. You can choose the best lawn fertilizer for your place.

Dry Fertilizer

You can apply dry lawn fertilizers to your grass with two types of spreaders drop and broadcast. If you don’t need this equipment regularly, don’t buy them; both are available at rental yards, and lots of nurseries loan them.

Applying dry fertilizers evenly by hand is extremely difficult. If you have no other option, apply the fertilizer carefully only on small lawns. Wear gloves and walk back around the lawn as you throw the fertilizer evenly with a sweeping motion.

Liquid Fertilizer

You can apply water-soluble or liquid fertilizers with handheld, hose-end applicators. Liquid fertilizers are harder than dry fertilizers to use evenly because it’s done by hand, and therefore the handheld sprayers require frequent refilling on large lawns. While using liquid fertilizers and handheld sprayers, follow the label instructions properly.

To apply liquid fertilizers, start through a corner of the lawn and walk backward during a line as you spray. Turn the sprayer off at the end of every row.

Also Read: Best Mulch for Gardens

The Right Equipment

A good broadcast spreader is vital, but you don’t have to spend tons of cash on professional-grade models. The Scotts elite spreader is best for a home lawn. It also keeps things easy since most fertilizers have recommended Scott’s settings on the rear.

How much Fertilizer to Apply

For most people, dry, granular lawn fertilizers are the easiest to use evenly. Liquid or water-soluble fertilizers could also be useful for little lawns, but they’re harder to use evenly and should need frequent refilling.

For dry fertilizers, the rates are based on pounds to use per 1000 square feet. So, before you purchase, calculate the square feet area of your lawn.

The front of the fertilizer package will call out amounts like 7,000 or 10,000 square feet. Decide what’s best for your lawn size. Remember, extra fertilizer can be packed back in the bag and saved for future application.

There’s an adequate time for the application of the lawn fertilizer too. Read everything about the right time to apply lawn fertilizer.

Step by Step Guide for Applying Lawn Fertilizer

Step 1. Water your lawn a few days before you fertilize it. In this step, you have to provide the lawn with excessive water, which will help your soil prepare to accept lawn fertilizer.

Step 2. Pick the simplest spreader for your lawn. Spreaders fall under two main categories: broadcast and drop, as we have mentioned earlier. Adjust spreader settings. Each fertilizer product features a unique spreader setting for proper coverage. Check the bag to make sure you’re selecting the right setting for your spreader.

Step 3. Apply grass fertilizer around the boundaries. Feeding around the boundaries will allow you to fertilize the center of the lawn without missing any sides. Using the broadcast spreader helps you avoid getting grass food in garden beds, on driveways, or sidewalks.

Step 4. Fill in the middle. Almost like a mowing pattern, fertilize your lawn by walking back and forth in straight lines while slightly overlapping with each pass.

Step 5. Properly handle the remaining product. Once you finished fertilizing your lawn, save any remaining product in the bag and store it for future use. Make sure to stay in a cool, dry place away from pets and youngsters.

After Applying Lawn Fertilizer

Many fertilizers work on a slow-release principle and still feed your lawn for weeks and months after fertilizing. Most lawn fertilizers are safe, and you can use or walk on your lawn soon after fertilization. You have to make sure the fertilizers are safe to be used around pets and animals. 

Fertilizer and Water

Two or three days before applying fertilizer, water your lawn properly. After grass dries, apply fertilizer. Then lightly water again. This second watering is very important because it washes fertilizer off grass blades and into the soil.

You’ll also time fertilizer application between rainfalls to let the rain mix fertilizer into the soil. Just make sure you do not fertilize before a rainstorm; otherwise, you will end up with fertilizer washing away, especially if your lawn is on a slope. When the lawn is not properly moisturized, avoid applying fertilizer.

What kind of Fertilizer Do You Have to Use?

There are many various kinds of fertilizer. Most lawn fertilizers will contain nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus as base ingredients but can contain other chemical element nutrients which will be beneficial for lawns.

You would have to be careful and avoid buying cheap fertilizers that contain an excessive amount of nitrogen. Having an excessive amount of nitrogen in the fertilizer will very quickly improve the standard of your lawn but won’t work for the future. You have to buy fertilizers in granular or liquid forms with the options available for various soil types (i.e., Clay or sandy).

An expert gardener can easily identify the proper proportion of active ingredients needed for the time of year and sort of lawn.

Broadcasting Granules

  • Make sure the fertilizer and spreader are dry.
  • Close the hopper vent. Place the spreader on a tough surface and fill the hopper slowly.
  • Clean the spreader carefully after use.
  • Clean up any excess fertilizer from patios, driveways, sidewalks, etc.

Spraying Liquid Fertilizer

  • Fill the sprayer container with liquid fertilizer. Carefully attach the container unit to the end of your hose 
  • Move at a fixed pace to cover the entire lawn evenly. Walk slowly, spraying from side to side.

Where and When Should Fertilizer Not Be Used?

You should not use fertilizer in the spring, autumn, or winter months. Spring fertilizers encourage plant growth which isn’t needed in the winter months where the high temperatures and weather can damage any new plants.

Always confirm you’re using the proper kind of fertilizer for the time of year. It is also not beneficial to apply fertilizer to frozen ground or very dry ground because it won’t be absorbed properly. Following these instructions will make sure you apply the fertilizer correctly and in the right way. 

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