Getting to the Root of a Well-Nourished Lawn

(Family Features) Before you become green with envy of a neighbor’s lush-looking lawn, remember that beauty is more than just skin deep – even for yards. Fertilizing with the right balance of nutrients applied in the right quantities and at the right time of year is a winning combination for a strong, healthy lawn.

With these tips from Bayer Advanced lawn and garden expert Lance Walheim in your back pocket and the right fertilizer in your spreader, your lawn can become the belle of the block.

When to Fertilize
Application timing depends on the type of grass you have and where you live, and it should coincide with natural growth cycles:

  • If you have cool-season grass, such as Kentucky bluegrass, fescue, bentgrass or ryegrass, the most important time to fertilize is in fall and spring when grass begins “greening up.” Avoid fertilizing cool-season grasses in the heat of summer, which could weaken the turf and promote disease.
  • For warm-season grasses, such as Bermudagrass, St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass, zoysiagrass, bahiagrass and carpetgrass, the most important time to feed is at the start of spring, following the second mowing, through the end of summer.

Most new lawns don’t need to be fertilized until 6-8 weeks after planting.

How Often to Fertilize
There are a number of factors to consider about the frequency of fertilizing, including the type of grass, the length of growing season, the type of fertilizer used and the quality of the lawn you want. Generally, you should fertilize every 6-8 weeks, but select fertilizers, like Bayer Advanced Triple Action Lawn Fertilizer, that have slow-release forms of nitrogen can feed lawns for up to 3 months and ensure they are nourished at all three layers – grass, roots and soil.

How Much Fertilizer to Apply
First, decide between wet and dry fertilizer. For most people, dry, granular lawn fertilizers are easiest to apply evenly. Before you buy, determine the square footage of your lawn and check bag labels to determine what’s best for your lawn size, keeping in mind that application rates are based on pounds per 1,000 square feet. Remember, extra fertilizer can be put back in the bag and saved for a future application.

How to Use Fertilizer
The best way to apply dry fertilizer evenly is with a properly operating fertilizer spreader. How much fertilizer you apply depends on the type and model of spreader you use. Each has settings that are adjusted according to fertilizer label recommendations. Avoid fertilizing by hand, as it can be difficult to apply evenly.

Fertilizer spreaders come in two basic types:

  • Drop spreadersapply fertilizer precisely in a band directly below the spreader. 
  • Rotary spreaderscome in wheeled and hand-held models and use a whirling mechanism to spread fertilizer over a wider area. Typically, they are less precise than drop spreaders.

With the right strategy, equipment and work ethic, it’s possible to grow the lawn of your dreams. Find more solutions, tips and advice at

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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