When to Fertilize Your Lawn - What Do You Need

Written by Ivy

Dec 14 2022

When to Fertilize Your Lawn - What Do You Need

How much fertilizer to apply and when to do so are two crucial considerations when fertilizing lawns.

The best time to fertilize (in descending order) in Northern Illinois (cool season grasses like blue grass, rye grass, and fescue) is early September, followed by early May. A fourth application can be submitted in mid-June, if desired. The third application should be submitted in the late fall.

About three pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per growing season is suggested for most full-sun lawns (Kentucky bluegrass; Kentucky bluegrass mixed with fine fescue and/or perennial ryegrass; northern Illinois; recommended range: 2 to 4 lbs./1,000 sq. ft./season).

Can You Fertilize in the Summer?

One of the first things you should do as soon as the weather starts to warm up is fertilize your lawn to keep it looking lush. The secret to preserving your lawn's stunning appearance all year long is understanding when to feed it.

Due to the extreme heat and humidity, summer is one of those difficult seasons for fertilizing your lawn. Here's a look at what you need to know about fertilizing grass when the temperatures soar.

The Best Time to Fertilize Lawn

The best way to get nutrients into the soil and get your lawn ready for the warmer months is to fertilize it starting in the early spring. Fertilizer works to inhibit weed growth while assisting in pest defense for the lawn.

Using a soil thermometer is an easy way to determine when your lawn is the right temperature for fertilization. Your lawn is ready to be fertilized when the soil reaches temperatures above 50 degrees. For the majority of climates, the first feeding of the season usually takes place in mid- to late April, and the second feeding should be applied in mid-May. Subsequent fertilizers should then be applied every six to eight weeks, with the final feeding occurring in October.

Best Fertilizer for Grass

Where you live determines the best fertilizer for your lawn. Because the soil in the northeast is very different from that in the southwest, it's important to pick a fertilizer that's appropriate for your region's climate, the season you're applying it, and the type of grass you have.
Also Read: 8 Best Fertilizers for Bermuda Grass

How to Identify the Grass Type

While southern states have warm season grasses, northern states have cool season grasses. Make sure to research which fertilizer is best for your climate. Warm season grasses begin growing in late spring and go dormant in early fall, whereas cool season grasses begin growing in early spring and dorm in late fall. While northern lawns will go dormant in extreme heat, southern lawns can withstand the summer's heat and continue to grow.

How to Apply Lawn Fertilizer

The best time to fertilize is when the grass is actively growing. Watering your lawn is crucial if you live in a region with a lot of sun and little rain because it will prevent the fertilizer from scorching the grass. In order to prevent the fertilizer from being washed off the grass, you should postpone application if there is a likelihood of significant rainfall where you live.

To prevent product clumping, fertilizer must be spread using a dry spreader. To ensure an even spread and prevent the fertilizer from clogging the spreader, the fertilizer should also be dry.

The setting for the spreader's flow rate should be determined by looking at the fertilizer bag. If in doubt, choose the slower setting to prevent overapplication. Fill the spreader's hopper with the fertilizer, then distribute it evenly throughout your yard, being careful not to overapply in the same spots.

When you have finished applying the fertilizer, thoroughly clean the spreader and any fertilizer that may have spilled onto the patio or driveway.

1. Clean Up the Lawn

Cleaning it up is the first step. Remove any leaves or debris that have accumulated on your lawn over the winter by raking it up. A lot is covered by the snow! Avoid raking too vigorously to avoid ripping large portions of your yard out. Raking, however, also allows air to enter your turf.

2. Reseed Patches

Your lawn can be reseeded in the spring even if you ideally overseeded in the fall. Your lawn needs grass seeding if there are any bare patches there. This is a crucial step because bare patches in your lawn invite weeds to take control of those regions.

Make sure you choose the appropriate variety of grass for your lawn. In Chicago, a hybrid of perennial ryegrass and Kentucky bluegrass grows well in yards that receive direct sunlight. Fine fescue is a good option for lawns that get a lot of shade. You prefer a blend most of the time. Speak to a specialist to get advice if you are unsure of the kind of grass to use.

3. Prepare Your Mower

Is your lawnmower all set to restart? Verify that it is operating properly and sharpen the blades. Your grass will not be cut when your mower blades are dull.

Setting your blade height right now is a good idea. Your blades should be raised as the temperature rises. Particularly if it's the first cut of the year, you shouldn't cut your grass too short. The first cut shouldn't remove more than one-third of the grass.

The blades should be raised every one to two weeks until they are 2.5 to 3 inches high. By preserving the important root system with this height of cutting, the grass is able to retain moisture during the hot, dry summer months.

4. Use a Fertilizer

Your lawn can receive fertilizer this spring. Use a granular, slow-release fertilizer with a high nitrogen content in the early spring. Granular is a fantastic option because it slowly releases the nutrients, preventing overfertilization. Granular fertilizers are also risk-free for both people and animals and don't require any drying time.

Fertilization is best done in May. For every 1,000 square feet of grass, one pound of the high nitrogen fertilizer should be applied.

5. Focus on Weed Control

The weeds on the edges of your property that are threatening to take over your lawn should be attacked in the spring. Prevent annual weeds from taking root by using a pre-emergent weed control, such as crabgrass, which thrives in Chicago lawns.

Use postemergence broadleaf weed control to eliminate weeds like dandelions that germinate all spring long. To successfully combat weeds, you may need to use more than one weed. Make sure to avoid using weed control when it is hotter than 85 degrees Fahrenheit!

6. Start a Watering Schedule

Make a schedule for watering your lawn right away. The early morning, before the sun rises, is the best time to water. During this time, less water evaporates. Installing a timed irrigation system will make your life much simpler if you take advantage of this opportunity.

20. When to Fertilize Your Lawn2

Early Spring Lawn Fertilization: February-April in Illinois

It's an exciting time of year when spring first arrives. Warmer weather and longer, happier days replace the gloomy winter. Your grass is induced to emerge from dormancy and get ready for long days in the sun as a result of all of this. However, it's also the perfect time for other plants to reappear.

Your grass will have a head start on the season if you give it a good dose of nutrients around this time. It offers both new and established roots the chance to strengthen their connection to the soil. Additionally, these nutrients support the growth of thicker, greener grass every year.

Crabgrass grows and spreads most effectively in the early spring. This invasive species can spread rapidly and take over your yard. In order to prevent crabgrass from sprouting up, we also apply a preventer during our early spring application.

Late Spring Fertilization: April Or May in Illinois

You'll probably discover that during this time of year, lawn mowing is required much more frequently as your grass starts to come back to life. Fast-growing grass indicates health, so this is a positive sign. It can thicken and suppress weeds when it is kept neatly trimmed but not too short.

You will almost certainly still experience a few troublesome weeds each year, though. You might be dealing with a larger invasion. Around this time, dandelion and clover are known to bloom again.

Additional nutrients are included in our late spring treatment to fortify your grass. Additionally, it has a second crabgrass inhibitor to eliminate any lingering problems. Additionally, our broadleaf weed control can prevent dandelions, clover, and other broadleaf weed species from encroaching on your lawn.

Illinois Summer Fertilization: June to August

Your lawn suffers during the hectic summer months. Your lawn needs to be maintained in a healthy and well-fed state due to frequent outdoor activities, intense heat, and dry spells. Insects that thrive in the summertime climate must also be repelled, so it is crucial.

If you want to revitalize your lawn and give it the nutrients it needs to survive the summer, we can apply your treatment at any point during the growing season. During this time, we will also apply our insect control. Grubs, stink bugs, and other pests that can wreck havoc on your grass and its roots are deterred and killed by this treatment.

Late Summer Fertilization: August Or September

Your grass has put a lot of effort into remaining strong and healthy as the season comes to an end. The best time to add extra nutrients to help it recover from the rigors of summer is now. We give it the best chance of recovering successfully in the spring by making sure it's in the best health possible as the winter months draw near.

In addition, we'll use this chance to spot-treat any weeds that are still attempting to grow in your lawn. We can prevent them from taking root in the spring by dealing with these now.

Illinois Fall Fertilizer: October-Early November

Your grass gets ready for dormancy as the leaves fall and the weather gets colder. The weather, which was once ideal for grass, starts to get drier. According to our research, now is the ideal time to fertilize it in the fall to give it a nutritional boost.

Keep fallen leaves and other debris out of your yard at this time of year. Leaves left on your lawn for a long time can encourage the growth of mold and the covert spread of lawn diseases. A fall lawn clean-up is crucial to your lawn's health all year long when combined with a healthy lawn feeding.

Additionally, fall is the ideal time to expand your fertilization service to include lawn seeding and aeration. By having your lawn aerated, you can increase the soil's saturation and the amount of oxygen reaching the roots. The spring lawn will be thicker and healthier if overseeding is done now to allow for new grass to germinate and emerge.

Winterizer Fertilization: Late November-Early December

Our grass needs to receive this final treatment of the year in order to survive the arduous winter. To encourage deeper root growth and resistance to freezing temperatures, one final feeding is given.

The final treatment before the first hard freeze gives your grass the best opportunity to rest and come back in the spring even healthier. To guarantee that a gorgeous weed-free lawn is prepared for the spring thaw, a final spot treatment for broadleaf weeds is also applied.


Can I Fertilize My Lawn Every 4 Weeks

You can reapply slow-release fertilizers every six to eight weeks, while a fast-release fertilizer can be reapplied every four weeks.

When is It Too Cold to Fertilize Lawn

In general, you should avoid fertilizing your lawn when the temperatures regularly dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid fertilizing the yard once the grass goes into dormancy because the grassroots must be active for your fertilizer application to be beneficial for your lawn.