When to Fertilize a Lawn: A Seasonal Guide for Optimal Turf Nutrition

When to Fertilize a Lawn_ A Seasonal Guide for Optimal Turf Nutrition

Are you ready for summer? We are! While it never gets quite as cold down here as in the states further north of us, theres just something about the summer season that lends itself to fun. However, in the lead-up to those activities, the dedicated homeowner will often want to get a head start on their lawn care activities. The mowers might not be on yet, but theyre ready to go. This mindset raises a curious question: do you know when to fertilize a lawn?

The answer may surprise you, especially since Alachua County bans the use of fertilizer from July 1st through February. With so many of our customers living in Alachua, is there a best time to fertilize a lawn?

Yes, there is! Lets look at when to fertilize your lawn with this seasonal guide to optimal turf nutrition.

Why is there a fertilizer ban?

The first question were sure you’re asking is “Why is there a fertilizer ban in the first place?” To put it simply, there is concern about runoff and how it affects water quality. Alachua County isnt the only region in Florida to ban the use, and as late as last year there was a state-wide ban in consideration.

Nitrogen runoff during the rainy season can pollute waterways. This might not seem like a problem at first, especially with high-quality water treatment plants keeping us safe. However, the reality is the more contamination builds up, the more chemicals we need to treat it. In addition, those with well-water sources for their homes often dont have the same level of treatment solutions.

What role does fertilizer play in lawn health?

Fertilizer helps to provide three crucial pieces of nutrition giving your turf what it needs to thrive. Those are:

  • Nitrogen (MUST be no less than 50% slow release)
  • Phosphorus (MUST be zero UNLESS your soil test verifies that it is necessary)
  • Potassium

Each of those elements plays a different role. Nitrogen helps stems and leaves grow. Phosphorus promotes healthy roots. Potassium helps with nutrient absorption. Fertilizers contain a mix of these elements to keep your lawn healthy and vibrant.

However, each of those also leads to other problems when mixed with rain runoff. This is why Alachua County bans their use during the Florida busy season. Ever heard of algae blooms? The excessive pollution from the first two of those elements is a major contributing factor.

To be clear, fertilizer can often give your lawn a kick start or overcome deficiencies that have led to grass browning. Does this mean there might be alternatives? Lets look at the four different primary types of fertilizer.

What are the 3 numbers on fertilizer bags?

The different types of fertilizers

If youre trying to find a compliant fertilizer or one that might reduce your environmental impact, this section is for you! Lets briefly look at each of the four primary types of fertilizer so you know the best practices when it comes time to fertilize your lawn.

The first is granular fertilizers. As it might sound, these are small pieces of food akin to ultra-tiny pebbles. Using a spreader, you evenly distribute them throughout your yard.

The next type is liquid fertilizers. These come in a non-solid form and should be mixed with water. This helps spread them evenly while diluting the mixture to the right amount.

The third type is organic fertilizers. These are often made through non-synthetic processes and have a more natural composition. The idea here is that they will provide nutrition to your turf slowly over time.

Finally, the fourth type is synthetic fertilizers. The advantage here is they are fast-acting, but they may have non-compliant compositions or be unbalanced for your specific lawn.

When to fertilize a lawn: the things you need to know

Different grass types sometimes require different types, frequencies, and strengths of fertilizer. With so many people in this region proud of their lawns, those varying levels of chemicals can harm the surrounding land.

So, the first thing you need to know about when to fertilize your lawn is that it, ideally, should be a twice-per-year task. The best time is when your lawn is actively growing, which leads to a limited window to hit that mark.

The first time should be after March 1st as soon as your grass starts to hit its growing stride. Depending on when this is for your lawn, you may be able to hit another round just before the ban kicks in on July 1st.

Of course, this leaves you with the previously mentioned limited window — not to mention the time it takes to plan and do it the right way.

So what are some other things to know about when to fertilize a lawn? Chemical composition. Our county has a very specific outline of what you can and cannot do between July and February. The ordinance states, for example, that you cannot apply fertilizer within a minimum distance of ten feet from a waterway unless you have a deflector shield in place. And, even at that, there must be a three-foot clearance.

Is there any way around these restrictions? In a word, yes!

Gainesville Fl lawn care calendar


Work with a certified lawn care company such as Sun Power Lawn Care!

Now, we want to be clear. Were not, in any way, going to circumvent the law. Not only would that be illegal, it would be unethical.

Thats not how we operate. Rather, our team of experts will work with one of our licensed partners to look after your lawn. Its our responsibility to know these details and to ensure that we comply with all local ordinances: noise, pollution, fertilizer, and otherwise.

Its a lot to keep straight, which is where we come in. Well make certain that fertilizer is applied at the right time to optimize your yards health while having minimal impact on the environment. After all, environmentally friendly lawn care is one of our top priorities as were strong proponents of reducing our carbon footprint with electric mowing equipment.

When keeping these rules is too time-consuming, we can help. Contact our sales office today to get started ASAP with one of our lawn care packages.

Here are some great resources to help your lawn look its best:

Black Mold on Crepe Myrtles – 7 Things You Need to Know

How to Prepare Your Lawn for Spring – Maintenance Tips to Get You Ahead of The Game!

How To Choose A Good Landscaper