Wait to Fertilize Your Lawn!
By: Ann Wied, Waukesha County UW Cooperative Extension Consumer Horticulture Educator
It’s that time of year again. The weather warms, the snow is gone, and the lawn begins to green-up and grow. When this happens many homeowners rush to the garage to get the fertilizer spreader to fertilize the lawn. You will also see lawn care companies applying fertilizer to lawns in your neighborhood. But now is not the time to fertilizer! Too much fertilizer in the spring stimulates leaf growth at the expense of root growth. Without good roots, the lawn suffers more from summer drought.
The best place to start a lawn fertility program is with a soil test. If you haven’t had a soil test in three or more years, consider having your soil tested. Soil test results give you the soil’s pH, a nutritional analysis of your soil, and fertilizer recommendations for improving your lawn. Waukesha County UW-Cooperative Extension offers information on soil testing. See http://waukesha.uwex.edu/horticulture/)
Lawns benefit from a regular fertilization program and fertilizing twice a year is usually adequate. Follow a “holiday” lawn fertilization schedule and it will make it easy to remember. When fertilizing twice a year, fertilize in late May (Memorial Day) and early September (Labor Day). If you prefer to fertilize more frequently, an additional fertilization treatments can be added in early July (Fourth of July).
For more information go to the UWExtension Publications website at http://learningstore.uwex.edu/ and see the publications: Organic & Reduced-Risk Lawn Care; (A3958), Do-It-Yourself Alternative Lawn Care; (A3964), Lawn Fertilization (A2303), and Watering your Lawn (A3950) OR call the Waukesha County UW Cooperative Extension Horticulture Helpline at 262/548-7779 or e-mail your question to email@example.com.