What are the proper steps for fertilizing my lawn?

Written by Gene Caballero on August 26, 2015

GreenPal Lawn Fertilization Steps

Watering and Fertilizing for a Happy Healthy Lawn

Remember the old saying, “the grass may be greener on the neighbors lawn, but it is just as hard to mow”? Mowing grass in Clarksville, Tennessee or cutting lawns in Alpharetta, Georgia are standard practices every homeowner must perform but If you are the type of person who rather be mowing a lawn with full, lively, health green blades of grass, then you are going to need to know how to water your lawn properly in order to achieve your goal of having a beautiful landscape.

Following are some tips to help with water the lawn. Water is essential not only to plant life but all life. However plants thrive when properly watered, just look at the neighbor with the “greener lawn” and I am sure you will see or hear the mower come out after a nice rain.

To begin it is important to understand how much water your lawn will need. According to the University of Wisconsin’s The Learning Store, in order to maintain a healthy lawn it is important that the lawn receives about one inch of water per week. If Mother Nature gives the lawn ¼ inch of rain, and there is no more rain in the forecast for the week, than the lawn will need another ¾ of water applied manually. If the forecast has more rain coming, than it is safe not water the lawn unless the forecast is wrong, and the rain does not come.

It is also best to have a good knowledge of your landscape. Landscape that have less organic matter and more sand will need a heavier saturation of water. Soils that have heavy clay deposits will require less of a saturation of water.

The degree in which a lawn slopes plays a part in the water schedule as well. Lawns that slope tend to stay drier because the water runs off, the deeper the slope the more water runoff.

It is best to water the lawn during the early morning hours. If at all possible avoid watering during the middle of the day. This is the time of day that most evaporation occurs, lessening the effects the water will have on the lawn. Early morning watering minimizes the effects of evaporation, and helps to nurture the lawn throughout the day.

As well when surveying the landscape be aware of shaded areas of the lawn as they are protected from the sun and may not need as much water, especially on cool days. For instance if you are doing lawn care in Atlanta Georgia you'll need to be carefull when the temps turn cooler in late fall. 



Because cooler air and less wind, lets water soak in better, you may want to look at the forecast and choose days with these type conditions to water the lawn. If so the earlier in the morning the grass is watered the better, all due to the fact you do not want water left on the lawn over night. This can encourage the growth of fungus that needs moisture and darkness to grow.

While the ideal watering amount is one inch per week (as mentioned earlier), it is best to check the terrain for water absorption. Grass with a healthy root systems run around six inches deep. In order make sure that the lawn has enough water to penetrate the six inches of soil, and moisten the entire root system, do simple test. First water the lawn. Then wait 15 minutes and check the lawn for depth of moisture. Continue to do so every 15 minutes until the moisture has penetrated six inches deep into the lawn. Once you know how long it takes for the water to penetrate six inches below ground that should be the mark time for water.

It is not a good idea to over water the lawn because this can cause the roots to grow shallow, and once again encourage the growth of fungus. Knowing how often to water the lawn (once again), means learning the terrain. Soils heavy with clay should be watered once a week. Because (as previously mentioned), sandy soils need more moisture, every three days should be sufficient.

Fertilizing can help to encourage healthy lawn growth. Doing so at the proper time and in the proper way can increase the positive effects the fertilizer will have on the lawn.

Each type of grass will call for particular fertilizing schedules. It is ideal to time fertilizing so that it coincide with the time period just before peak growing phases of the lawn. Depending on the type of grass this could either be during the warm season or cold season. Warm season grasses are served best when fertilized in late spring and early summer. Cold season grasses are best served being fertilized once a year in the fall.

There are different methods for fertilization. When fertilizing rotary spreaders, drop spreaders, and handheld spreaders are all used to distribute the fertilizer evenly over the lawn. The kind of spreader used will depend mostly on the area being fertilized.

As an additional tip, shaded areas under trees may require more frequent fertilization. While grass requires less sun than other plant life, it is important to prune back trees so some sun can reach shaded areas. If the shaded areas are wanted, and pruning is not desired, then outdoor-rated florescent lighting fixtures are a viable option. 

Illustration by StarrTurf

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