Commercial Lawn Fertilization Best Practices

THE STORY.

Summer Lawn Care: When Should You Apply Fertilizer?

When spring comes around, property managers are most concerned with helping grass recover from harsh Utah winters, which involves getting the grass green and healthy again. In summer, it’s all about maintaining your lawn’s health throughout sweltering heat, bright sunlight, and increased foot traffic. Turf fertilization is one of the most trusted ways to keep a lawn healthy. However, fertilizer should be applied carefully in the summer months. Here are some tips for how and when to apply fertilizer in the summer.

Is It OK to Fertilize Your Lawn in the Summer?

Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are the most important elements grass needs to stay green and produce strong roots. Nitrogen encourages thick, soft, green grass while phosphorus and potassium encourage healthy root growth. Soil contains most of the nutrients grass needs to grow strong, but fertilizer acts as a vitamin or supplement that helps it stay healthy, thrive, and grow quickly. But with fertilizer, there can be too much of a good thing. If you apply too much, you risk fertilizer burn. If you apply too little, your lawn won’t be as lush and green as you want it. It’s all about finding a happy medium and creating a regular fertilization schedule.

When to Apply Fertilizer in the Summer

Fertilization frequency depends on the type of fertilizer you are using. Many companies offer slow-release fertilizer that releases nitrogen much more slowly. This means that you won’t have to apply fertilizer as often — maybe every six to eight weeks depending on how often you water your lawn and how warm the weather is. If you use regular commercial grass fertilizer, you should generally apply it every four weeks.

Spring fertilization should begin when soil temperatures reach around 55 degrees Fahrenheit and grass is just beginning to sprout — around mid-April for most of the country. After your first feeding, you should apply fertilizer every four to eight weeks until late September or early October, depending on how often you water and how high temperatures rise. Below is our recommended fertilization schedule from spring to fall.

How Often Do You Need to Fertilize Your Lawn in the Summer?

  • First feeding: Mid-April
  • Second feeding: Mid-May, or four weeks later
  • Third feeding: Early July, or six to eight weeks later
  • Fourth feeding: Mid-August, or six to eight weeks later
  • Fifth feeding: Early October, or six to eight weeks later

Tips for Successful Summer Fertilization

  • Fertilization is a complex process. To make sure your lawn is green and healthy from spring to fall, you need to do more than simply apply fertilizer. Here are some tips to inform you about your lawn care and fertilizer feedings.
  • Whatever you do, don’t over-fertilize. Property managers should be strategic when applying fertilizer in the summer. Overfertilizing is the fastest way to kill your lawn and develop brown grass patches. Chemical fertilizer is made from mineral salt, which can burn your grass if applied too liberally. If you apply too much fertilizer, the salt will build up in the soil and cause grass to dry out and turn yellow or brown.
  • The more you water your lawn, the more fertilizer you need. When you water your lawn frequently, grass will grow faster and use up fertilizer’s nutrients at a faster rate. If your property uses an automatic sprinkler system, we recommend fertilizing every six weeks. If you do not have an automatic sprinkler system, we recommend fertilizing every eight weeks or so.
  • Don’t discount fall fertilization. While lawns flourish most in the spring and summer, an important growth cycle takes place in fall. Grass is not growing much above the earth’s surface, but its roots are still growing deep into the soil. Fertilization ensures that fall grass roots are strong and prepared for the dormant winter months, while healthy enough to bounce back in the spring and grow densely in the summer. You can use special fall fertilizers to encourage this growth.
  • Don’t worry about removing lawn clippings. Did you know that lawn clippings actually contain nitrogen just like fertilizer does? When you’re finished mowing your lawn, you can leave the clippings where they are. They’ll act as a natural fertilizer for living grass.
  • In late summer, aim to water only in the morning. In the dog days of summer when the days are long and the sunlight is hottest, it’s best to water your lawn only between 6 and 10 a.m. This way, there is less chance of water evaporation, which can ruin your fertilization efforts and prevent grass from absorbing essential nutrients.

Commercial Fertilization for Property Managers

As you can see, lawn fertilization can be complicated. There are many considerations property managers have to keep in mind, which may not be realistic for those who own multiple large properties. Lawn Butler specializes in summer and year-round fertilization programs for lawns, keeping Utah lawns green, healthy, and lush. Our Green Team knows exactly which combinations of essential nutrients are ideal for grass, shrubs, and trees on your property. Contact Lawn Butler online or call us at (801) 513-3988 to find out how our fertilization services can keep your lawn healthy during all four seasons.

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