I’m going to explain when to feed your lawn throughout the year.
Most gardeners feed their lawns too much or not enough. Some will also use the wrong type of fertiliser at the wrong time of the year.
If you have been doing either of these things, then not even the best lawn fertiliser will improve the appearance of your lawn.
In this guide I’ll be explaining the problems with feeding your lawn too frequently and what happens when you don’t fertilise often enough. I’ll also outline why you don’t want to use the wrong type of fertiliser at the wrong time.
Finally, I’ll teach you a simple annual lawn feeding programme which can easily be followed to create a healthy lawn year round.
The Problem with Over and Underfeeding Your Lawn
Feeding your lawn with granular fertiliser and applying liquid lawn feed needs to be done properly. Both overfeeding and underfeeding creates several problems. This is because of what lawn feed is and how it works.
Not Feeding Your Lawn Often Enough
Most lawn owners don’t feed their lawns enough, usually because they don’t think they have the time or simply don’t know it’s required.
Underfeeding creates a nutrient deficiency in nitrogen, potassium and phosphate which are the foundation of leaf growth and root development. When a lawn lacks these three nutrients, grass plants can’t develop properly. Leaf growth slows down, and the roots become weak.
The result is that grass isn’t able to repair itself when you mow it, especially if you mow it too short where it then becomes susceptible to lawn disease.
Over time you’ll notice your lawn become thinner with bare spots and patches throughout. Your lawn may begin to turn yellow or brown and it could die completely.
This then creates room for weeds and moss to grow which causes further problems.
Overfeeding a Lawn
Some people feed their lawns too often which leads to a different set of problems.
The first issue is surge growth which results in much more frequent lawn mowing.
The second issue is that this extreme growth causes rapid root development. This weakens roots and causes them to die. These dead roots can’t be broken down quickly enough by the soil which then leads to lawn thatch growth.
The end result is an excessive build-up of lawn thatch which forms a barrier that prevents water, air and nutrients from getting into the soil. Your lawn will become spongy and soggy when wet as water will sit on the surface instead of being absorbed.
This heavy layer of thatch creates another problem. For the grass to access the water, air and nutrients it is being starved of, grass plants will root directly into the thatch layer instead of rooting deeply into the soil underneath.
When the weather gets hot and dry in the summer, the thatch layer completely dries out. Your lawn then experiences a drought which will cause it to turn brown and die. The end result is more room for weeds and moss to grow.
To remedy this, you will need to scarify your lawn more regularly than you otherwise would. If you find yourself with this problem, learn how to scarify your lawn here.
Still unsure on why you should fertilise your lawn? Then read our guide.
An Annual Lawn Feeding Regime
So when and how much fertiliser should you feed your lawn?
Follow this simple lawn feeding process and you will learn when, how and with which type of lawn feed.
Always apply your lawn feed after cutting the grass. This will give your lawn a chance to absorb the feed before you next mow it.
Use a spring fertiliser like Scotts Spring / Summer Lawn Builder lawn food.
If preferred, you could use an all in one product such as a weed, feed and moss killer like Evergreen 4-in-1 Complete. Only apply this product twice a year so you will need to wait until the autumn before applying it again.
Apply your spring dose in April once you’ve given your lawn its first couple of trims and when the daffodils have opened.
Using a good spring fertiliser will help your lawn recover from the harshness of winter so it is ready for the summer.
Around 8-12 weeks after applying the initial spring lawn feed, apply the Scotts Spring / Summer Lawn Builder again. This will give your lawn the nutrients it needs to thrive throughout the summer.
Wait for rain and apply this dose after heavy rain if it has been hot and dry. You can also water your lawn thoroughly instead before applying.
If your lawn is lacking colour at this point, a dose of Miracle-Gro liquid lawn feed will provide a boost of green colouring.
September is the best time to apply an autumn / winter lawn food. Scotts sell one which is perfect for the job. Apply it as you did the summer dose.
Alternatively, a second dose of Evergreen 4-in-1 Complete can be used instead.
Never apply fertilisers in spring or summer that feature a high nitrogen content during autumn. Doing this can result in diseases like fusarium infecting your lawn as the weather cools nearer to the end of the year.
Apply a final dose of Scotts Autumn / Winter Lawn Food in December or January as preferred.
For added lawn protection throughout the winter months, you could dose your lawn with a little iron sulphate. The benefits of doing this include:
- Hardening the turf and protecting it against the stress of winter
- Giving your grass a boost of green colour
- Killing moss that might start to appear
Never apply iron sulphate in hot or dry weather as it will turn grass black. Only apply when your lawn is wet and in cooler conditions. Iron sulphate will also turn moss black so be careful to remove any moss first.
Your lawn only needs to be fed four times a year for it to remain healthy.
Follow this simple guide and you will never have a bare, patchy yellow lawn ever again. For a feed application guide, see how to apply lawn feed to grass.