Using Lawn Fertilizers

This 2-minute video shows why you need to feed your lawn and when, depending on your grass type and where you live.

You want your lawn to be the envy of the neighborhood. Fertilizing your grass regularly can help you get that green, thick lawn you're trying to achieve.

Why Regular Fertilizing Is Important

Your lawn is made of up of thousands of living grass plants that need to be properly nourished to stay green and full, fight off invading weeds, and be more resistant to disease. A well-fed lawn will also require less watering because it will build a deeper root system that's better able to seek out water deeper in the soil. So, when do you need to feed your grass? Just follow this simple lawn fertilizing schedule.

When to Fertilize in the North

In the North, where cool-season grass types like Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and fescues are dominant, you'll want to fertilize your lawn twice in the spring and twice again in the fall. Each feeding should be spaced 6 to 8 weeks apart. If your cool-season lawn is still green and actively growing in the summer, you can continue to give it lawn fertilizer during the summer months (again, making sure to space feedings 6 to 8 weeks apart). However, if you grass goes dormant (turns brown) during summer heat and drought, temporarily stop feeding until it greens up and starts to grow again in the early fall.

1. Early Spring

The first spring feeding in the North should be applied from late February through April. This is a great time of year to stop crabgrass before it becomes problematic in the summer by applying a crabgrass preventer. ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® HaltsĀ® Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food not only helps the lawn green up after winter, but it also stops crabgrass from sprouting for up to 4 months.

2. Late Spring

Follow up your early spring application with a late spring fertilizer application 6 to 8 weeks later. If you are plagued by lawn weeds, like dandelions, and you applied ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® HaltsĀ® Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food as your first spring application, use ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® Weed & Feed5, for your second spring application, which is designed to kill broadleaf weeds while feeding the grass. However, if you applied ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® Triple Action as your first application, you don't need to apply a weed-and-feed product again, so use ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® Lawn Food instead.

3. Summer

If your lawn is still green and actively growing in summer (and it's been 6 to 8 weeks since your last application), apply ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® SummerGuardĀ® Lawn Food with Insect Control which fertilizes the lawn and controls bugs like ant, fleas, and ticks use. However, if summer heat and drought have made your lawn turn brown and become dormant, wait until fall before you feed again.

4. Fall

Fall is an important part of your lawn fertilizing schedule, and the first fall feeding should happen right around Labor Day. Applying a fertilizer to your lawn in the fall helps it recover from the heat and drought stresses of summer and prepares it for winter so that you have a better lawn next spring. Early fall is also a great time to kill certain lawn weeds, like dandelion and clover. If you have weeds, apply ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® WinterGuardĀ® Fall Weed & Feed3, but if you don't have a problem with weeds, use ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® WinterGuardĀ® Fall Lawn Food instead. Follow up on your first fall feeding with a second application of ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® WinterGuardĀ® Fall Lawn Food 6 to 8 weeks later.

When to Fertilize in the South

In the South, where warm-season grasses like St. Augustine, bermuda, zoysia, centipede, and bahia grass are prominent, you should feed your lawn 4 times a year: in early spring, late spring, summer, and fall. Fertilizing warm-season grasses in the summer is especially important because that is when they are growing most actively, and feeding helps fuel and sustain that rapid growth.

1. Early Spring

Spring comes early in the South. Warm temperatures not only encourage the lawn to grow, but also encourage lawn weeds to become active. You can address both lawn needs by fertilizing with ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® BonusĀ® S Southern Weed & Feed, which kills stubborn weeds like dollarweed and clover, while at the same time helping grass grow thick and full, leaving little room for future weeds.

2. Late Spring

To keep your lawn thick and green, follow up your early spring fertilizer application with a late spring application 6 to 8 weeks later. Use ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® Southern Lawn Food to help protect your lawn from the heat and drought associated with the rapidly approaching summer months.

3. Summer

Summer months in the South are usually hot and dry, but warm-season grasses will continue to grow actively during this time. Apply ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® Summer Lawn Food, which contains a water maximizer that helps drive water into dry soils, and feeds to build strong, deep roots so you can have a green lawn even during the heat of summer.

4. Fall

In early fall, give your lawn another application of ScottsĀ® Turf BuilderĀ® BonusĀ® S Southern Weed & Feed to help it recover from the summer heat and prepare for the approaching winter months.

To make feeding easier on you, we can send you the exact products you need, right when you need them, with our personalized subscription program. If you're ready to simplify your lawn routine, check out our ScottsĀ® Lawn Care Program for more details. For more information on why fertilizing in each season is important, check out our article on When to Feed for a Greener Lawn.