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Lawn Fertilizer Throughout the Year

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

For your lawn to be in its best shape, it needs the extra nutrients fertilizer provides. But one size doesn't fit all. Your lawn needs different fertilizer treatments at different points throughout the year. Here's what to keep in mind when it comes to fertilizer, spring, summer, and fall.

Treat your lawn right in every season. Keep these fertilizer tips in mind, and you could have a lush green lawn whether it's the first of March or the end of September.
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In the spring, you may be tempted to help your lawn out with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. While fertilizing in the spring is okay in moderation, this is a time of year to exercise restraint. That explosion of green may be pleasing to the eye, but what you're actually doing is encouraging outrageous top-growth to the detriment of your lawn's roots. A fertilizer that's lighter on the nitrogen and a little heavier on the phosphorous will encourage good strong roots.


During the heat of summer, nitrogen is more likely to burn your lawn than during other times of the year. Nitrogen burn is particularly likely if your lawn is drought-damaged. To minimize the possibility of damage, look for a slow-release fertilizer, and hold off on fertilizing period if your lawn is showing signs of summer stress.


Because fertilizer has a better chance at getting down to the roots in the fall--the part of your grass that really needs the nutrients--fall is the most important time to fertilize. Consider springing for a slightly more expensive fertilizer. Slow-release and combination fertilizers are generally better than fast-release fertilizers and are, as a result, a little pricier.

Lawn fertilizer done right will have a huge positive impact on your yard, spring, summer, and fall.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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