Water-Wise It™ – Fertilizing Tips

Water Wise It ™ – Creating a Water-Wise Lawn!

How often should  I apply fertilizer to my landscape to keep it green?

Lawn Fertilization
Lawn Fertilization

It actually depends on what kind of lawn you want, but if you want a Water-Wise lawn then 2 times should be enough for a perfectly green lawn. The fall application of fertilizer is absolutely essential for the greenness of your lawn.  If you apply fertilizer late in the Fall (sometime around Halloween) you should be able to wait until late May before you fertilize again.  Then in the spring all you will have to worry about is weed control.  Apply approximately 3-4# of nitrogen per 1,000 Square Feet per year to keep your lawn healthy.

Dogs on Lawn
Dogs on Lawn

Late fall is by far the best time to fertilize in cool season environments, regardless of the type of maintenance program the lawn falls under. Research has shown the benefits of this late fall fertilization after grass growth has slowed but the lawn is not yet dormant, because roots continue to grow after winter sets in. Spring applications are suggested around the end of May.

Fertilizing too often or using too much fertilizer increases the likelihood of harmful chemicals running off into streams or seeping into groundwater. The combination of over-watering and over-fertilizing can be dangerous to plants, animals, and people. Fertilize as sparingly as your lawn allows.

Chanshare Sod Farm’s Fertilizing_and_Watering Guide can be downloaded here.

There are three main nutrients that are recommended for every lawn: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K). Nitrogen is the key nutrient that aids in photosynthesis, but too much and your lawn will experience heavy top growth. On any fertilizer bag, Nitrogen is the first number listed followed by Phosphorous and then Potassium.  For example a 24-6-12 fertilizer contains 24% nitrogen. Industry recommended ratios for fertilizer is 4:1:2 for mid season applications.  Fall applications should be balanced with a higher Potassium content (i.e., 16-16-16).

Before installing turf it’s best recommended to till two pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet into the top 4 inches of soil prior to installation

No fertilizer is needed for the months from November through May, as long as you apply fertilizer late in the fall.

Cool Season Lawn Growth Cycle
Cool Season Lawn Growth Cycle

As you can see in the above graphic the best time to affect the root growth of your lawn is in the middle of the spring and the fall.  Don’t apply fertilizer when temperatures are higher than 85 degrees Fahrenheit as this will promote unnatural growth and could cause the lawn to burn.

Over-fertilizing can cause excessive growth, seed development, and can be harmful to the environment, causing serious damage to the ecosystem.

For more Care Tips for your lawn or to learn how to Water-Wise It™ download our lawn care guide at www.chanshare.com or send specific questions to sales@chanshare.com.


  1. I really like that you mentioned late fall is the best time to fertilize in cool season environments because where I live it’s rather cold. My wife and I are planning on renovating our front and back yards, and I’d love a big lawn for the kids and dogs to play on. Thanks for the fertilizing tips-I’ll be sure to refer back to them while I decide on the yard!

  2. Thank you Oscar! Make sure you download our Residential Lawn Care guide and check out http://www.waterwiseit.com for more tips on how to conserve water with Lawn, Landscape and Technology.

  3. Precisely when you apply fertilizer depends partly on your climate. Good article & excellent way to articulate. Keep it up.

  4. I found it interesting when you said that late fall is the perfect time to fertilize your lawn. My wife told me that she would like to have a green and healthy lawn so that our kids and dogs can play outdoors. I will look for a professional contractor to help me achieve that goal.

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