We fertilize our lawns in the Spring and Fall. It’s something of an exclamation point at the end of Winter or Summer signaling a welcome change in season. And that’s the end of the philosophical part of this project. On to the more mundane parts of when and how much of what.
There are a few schools of thought. . .
The first: don’t mess with success. In other words, do the same thing you did last year. Roughly the same time (mid-March or when the temperature reaches XX degrees, or, ahem, when you get around to it) with the same mix and amounts of lime and fertilizer and whatever else that has become your secret sauce for success.
The experts remind us the precise time to fertilize isn’t as critical as is sometimes believed. For the Spring, there’s something about enough carbohydrates will remain in a well fertilized lawn over the entire winter to take your lawn well into the Spring. We don’t understand it, but have found it to be an effective argument when most of the neighborhood has already fertilized AND there are some critical March Madness games on this weekend.
Another school of thought: Science! Virginia Tech will conduct a computerized fertility evaluation of your soil for $10. Go here. This doesn’t tell you when to fertilize but it does describe the condition of your soil and what it needs. Pretty cool, actually, and should be something you do at least occasionally.
Another, and our favorite: Your lawn people will fertilize when they get to it. Generally, close to the right time and close to what your lawn needs to do well. Every few years it’s a good idea to give them the Virginia Tech report along with the additional products your lawn needs.