What are the proper steps for fertilizing my lawn? (9 Things You Need To Know)

What are the proper steps for fertilizing my lawn? (9 Things You Need To Know)

What are the proper steps for fertilizing my lawn? (9 Things You Need To Know)

Remember the old saying, 

“the grass may be greener on the neighbor's lawn, but it is just as hard to mow”?

Here’s a secret, if you are the type of person who would rather be mowing a lawn with full, lively, healthy green blades of grass. 

Well, there are standard watering and fertilizing practices every homeowner should perform.

Lucky for you, the following are the top tips to help with watering and fertilizing your lawn. 

If you dream of having grass so green, your neighbor cuts the lawn...

Then keep reading!

A close-up of a lawn sprinkler in action, with water droplets suspended in the air, shining in the sunlight over green grass.

Proper Watering for the Greener Side of the Fence

Look, water is essential not only to plant life, but all life. 

However, not just any watering routine will do. Plants thrive when they are properly watered. 

Need proof? Just look at the neighbor with the “greener lawn”. 

But no fear, the tips for proper watering are here.

Step #1: Watering The Right Amount

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

For example, if Mother Nature gives the lawn ¼ inch of rain, and there is no more rain in the forecast for the week. Then the lawn will need another ¾ of water applied manually.

However, if the forecast has more rain coming, then it is likely best to postpone watering for the day.

Step #2: Amend the Soil for Better Water Retention

It is also best to have a good knowledge of your landscape. 

Landscapes that have less organic matter and more sand will need a heavier saturation of water

Conversely, soils that have heavy clay deposits will require less of a saturation of water.An infographic on checking soil moisture depth to guide efficient watering practices.

Pro Tip! 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.

Step #3: Mind Your Lands Slope

Most people don't know this, but the degree to which a lawn slopes plays a part in the watering schedule as well

Lawns that slope tend to stay drier because the water runs off. Simply put, the deeper the slope the more water runoff.

But don't worry. There is a simple test you can use to calculate the amount of water you will need. 

More on that in a bit!

An infographic piece advising the best time to water the lawn, indicating cooler morning hours with a visual of a snowflake, sun, and grass.Step #4: Watering is All About Timing

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 this helps to nurture the lawn throughout the day.

Step #5: Mind The Bigger Picture

Additionally, when you are 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 careful when the temps turn cooler in late fall. 

A visual guide showing different types of lawn spreaders including rotary, drop, and handheld models.Step #6: And Check the Weather Forecast...

During cooler air and still winds water soaks in better. So you may want to look at the forecast and choose days with these type conditions to water the lawn

So, What About Proper Fertilizing?

It's no secret, fertilizing can help to encourage healthy grass growth. 

Doing so at the proper time and in the proper way can increase the positive effects the fertilizer will have on the lawn.

Once you choose your lawn fertilizer, here is what you need to know to get the most out of it.

A comparison image showing the difference between a regular lawn mower blade and a mulching blade.Step #1: Know Your Type of Grass

Each type of grass will call for particular fertilizing schedules. 

Therefore, it is ideal to time fertilizing so that it coincides with the time period just before peak growing phases of the lawn. 

Depending on your 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.A silhouette of various mushrooms with text indicating that excessive watering can lead to fungus growth and shallow plant roots.

Step #2: Choose Your Method Of Fertilization

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. You will want to pick a spreader that correlates with the size of your yard.

A person using a large hose attached to a truck to vacuum up leaves from a grassy curb, indicating a municipal or professional landscaping service.Step #3: Mind The Shady Areas

You will want to mind the amount of sunlight that your lawn receives. 

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 you want the shaded areas, and pruning is not desired. Then outdoor-rated fluorescent lighting fixtures are a viable alternative.

How to Test How Much Water Your Lawn Needs

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 healthy root systems run around six inches deep. 

An infographic illustrating the recommended watering frequency for clayey and sandy soils.In order to make sure that the lawn has enough water to penetrate the six inches of soil, and moisten the entire root system, do this simple test:

  1. First water the lawn. 
  2. Then wait 15 minutes and check the lawn for depth of moisture. 
  3. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I fertilize my lawn before or after it rains?

Before the Rain:

Think of light rain as your lawn's best friend when it comes to fertilizing. It’s like nature's way of gently washing the nutrients right into the soil where they're most needed. Just be sure to watch the forecast! Fertilizing before a light drizzle? Thumbs up! But if it's looking like a downpour, hold off. You don’t want all that good stuff washing straight into the storm drain, do you?

After the Rain:

Post-rain fertilization? Also a win! The soil's moist and the grass is just waiting to sip up those nutrients. But, here’s a pro tip: make sure your lawn isn’t soaking wet. A soggy lawn can’t handle more input and you might end up with fertilizer just running off, not soaking in. Timing is everything to get that green, envy-worthy lawn!

So, whether it's before or after the rain, timing your fertilization right can make all the difference. Just keep an eye on the sky and your lawn will be the star of the neighborhood!

How Much Does It Cost to Fertilize Your Lawn?

On average, On average, $0.02 to $0.14 per square foot. But it can range anywhere from $103 to $343 per application. Over the year, this could total up to $200 to $600. Now, why such a wide range? 

Well, several factors play into this:

  • Lawn Size: Naturally, the bigger your lawn, the more you'll pay because... well, there's more grass to cover!
  • Type of Fertilizer: Are you going for the high-end stuff or something more basic? The choice is yours, and it affects the price.
  • Location: Depending on where you live, prices can vary. It's all about local market rates.
  • Additional Services: Need some aeration or have a pesky weed situation? Tackling these along with fertilizing can add to the cost.

How do you reverse fertilizer burn?

Water the area deeply to flush out excess fertilizer. Repeat several times over a week.

How long after fertilizing can I walk on grass?

Wait at least 24 hours after fertilizing before walking on grass to allow nutrients to absorb properly.

Essential Steps for Effective Lawn Watering and Fertilizing

StepFocus AreaKey Actions and Considerations
1Watering AmountEnsure lawn receives about 1 inch of water per week, adjust for rainfall.
2Soil AmendmentImprove soil for better water retention; more organic matter for sandy soils, less for clay.
3Landscape SlopeAccount for lawn slope in watering schedule to manage runoff.
4Watering TimingWater early in the morning to reduce evaporation.
5Bigger PictureMonitor shaded areas for water needs, especially in cooler temperatures.
6Weather ForecastChoose optimal watering days based on weather conditions and forecast.
7Grass TypeFertilize according to the specific growth phases of your type of grass.
8Fertilization MethodUse appropriate spreader (rotary, drop, handheld) based on lawn size.
9Shady AreasAdjust fertilization frequency for shaded areas; consider pruning or alternative lighting.

Bottom Line on Watering and Fertilizing for a Greener Lawn

Knowing how often to water the lawn (once again), means learning the terrain

But now that you know how to water and fertilize properly, you just need to pick out the right sprinkler for your lawn.  

Be sure to share this with your friends and family! But not your neighbor! 

At least not if you want the greener side of the fence.

Go Here ---->  For the complete infographic on Watering and Fertilizing.

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