Steps To Fertilize Your Lawn Following these simple steps, along with the helpful Do's and Don'ts, can help make your lawn greener and stronger. Be sure to check the label or contact your local Cooperative Extension for the best application timings and amounts.
- Adjust the spreader to the appropriate setting found on the fertilizer label.
- Place spreader on a hard surface (driveway or patio) and add fertilizer. Sweep up any spills.
- To be certain of even coverage, go around the edge of the lawn first, then make parallel passes across the middle. Overlap wheel passes for drop spreaders. Follow manufacturers instructions for broadcast spreaders.
- To avoid over-application, turn the spreader off when you overlap edges, turn or stop. Walk at a normal pace and check the spreader often to make sure it is operating properly. Uneven application will result in uneven greening of the lawn or burning.
- Sweep, brush or blow any accidentally applied material off driveways, sidewalks etc. back onto the lawn. Pour left-over fertilizer back in the bag.
- Place the spreader on the lawn and clean with a hose.
- Lightly water the lawn to move the fertilizer off the grass blades and into the soil.
For most lawn fertilizers, you should see results in 7-10 days. Fertilizers with 100% slow-release nitrogen may take longer.
- Always read and follow label instructions.
- Wear gloves whenever handling fertilizers.
- Have your soil tested (contact your local Cooperative Extension for info) — Certain soil characteristics, such as pH, can affect the availability of some nutrients.
- Mow your lawn at least several days before feeding — Grass that is too tall may block spreader output.
- To avoid burning the lawn — Use a fertilizer with at least 50% slow-release nitrogen.
- If you spill fertilizer on the lawn — Clean up as much as possible (a small vacuum or hand broom may help) and water the spot heavily.
- Never fertilize a dry lawn — You increase your chances of burning the grass. Water thoroughly a day or two before application.
- Never fertilize if heavy rain is in the forecast — Heavy rain may wash fertilizer from the lawn and cause pollution.
- Never fertilize during very hot weather — It increases the chances of burning the lawn. See fertilizer label for temperature restrictions.
- Never use a hose to wash excess fertilizer into gutters or drains — Avoid polluting by sweeping or blowing fertilizer back onto lawn.
- Do not apply near water —Storm drains or drainage ditches.