When to fertilize
One of the major questions that anybody with a garden or a yard has is when they should fertilize your plants. IF you fertilize at the wrong time, you can kill your plants or your lawn, you can end up encouraging weed growth, and more. We will focus on how to fertilize your lawn; if you are wondering when to fertilize your flowers or your vegetable garden, then you should look carefully at the growing recommendations for that particular plant. Talk to the owner of your local nursery about individual plant questions.
When to fertilize your lawn
In order to know when to fertilize your lawn, you need to ask yourself the following questions: 1. what is my climate? 2. what type of grass do I have? 3. what type of fertilizer am I using? 4. how do I want my lawn to look? If you want a very lush and a green lawn, then you should fertilize your lawn four or five times a year. However, if you don't really care about how your lawn looks, you should still fertilize it at least two times a year so that you can keep your lawn from dying.
Types of grasses
Generally speaking, there are two different types of grasses: warm season grasses and cool season grasses. The type of grass that you have has a particular growing season, so each different type of grass needs to be fertilized at a different time. But generally speaking, the time to fertilize your lawn is when your lawn is actively growing. If you fertilize your lawn when it is not actively growing, then you will end up encouraging weed growth.
Cool season grasses
Cool season grasses have two growing periods: the first after the winter dormancy period, and the second during the early fall. If you are in the north, then you should apply more nitrogen during the early fall growing period and less nitrogen during the spring period.
Warm season grasses
If you have warm season grasses, then they need to be fertilized shortly after they become green in the spring time and then in the late summer. Apply more nitrogen in the early period and less nitrogen in the later period.
Here is some more specific information on when to fertilize particular grasses, along with the fertilizer chemical ratios. Remember that the numbers go Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium.
Bermuda Jan-Feb: 0-5, 0-5, 5-10; Mar-May: 0-5, 0-5, 5-10; Jun-Jul: 20-30, 0-0, 5-10; Sep-Oct: 10-20, 0-0, 5-10; Nov-Dec: 10-20, 0-0, 5-10
Zoysia Jan-Feb: 0-5, 0-5, 5-10; March-May: 10-20, 0-0, 5-10; Jun-July: 20-30, 0-0, 5-10; Sept-Oct: 10-20, 0-0, 5-10; Nov-Dec: 10-20, 0-0, 5-10
Kentucky Bluegrass Jan-Feb: 15-30, 2-5, 5-10; Mar-May: 15-30, 0-5, 2-5; June-July: weed and pest control if they are needed; Sept-Oct: 10-30, 0-6, 5-12; Nov-Dec: 18-26, 0-5, 5-20
If you have more questions about your individual lawn and the type of grass that you have, then your best bet is to make sure that you talk to an expert at your local nursery or lawn care center. Make sure that you do not apply the fertilizer in the middle of the day, because then it will burn your lawn. The best times to apply fertilizer to your lawn is in the morning or in the evening so that you can protect your lawn. Also remember that more fertilizer is not necessarily better, because too much fertilizer will kill your lawn, especially if there is too heavy of a concentration of chemicals.