When to Fertilize for a Greener Lawn
When it comes to feeding your lawn, timing matters. This simple guide tells you all you need to know.
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One of the most important things you can do for your lawn is to fertilize it. A well-fed lawn is healthier, which means it has a better root system to combat heat, cold, drought, mowing, foot traffic, and other stresses. While feeding your lawn once a year will improve its condition, feeding it 4 times a year will make it even healthier and more beautiful.
Turn your lawn into the best on the block by putting it on this fertilizer schedule. (Be sure to follow all label directions.) Or, make things extra simple for yourself by signing up for our personalized, subscription-based Scotts® Lawn Care Program. We'll ask you a few easy questions about your grass and yard, then send you just the right fertilizers at just the right time to apply them. Either way, be sure you've got a good spreader to help make application a breeze! The compact, easy-to-operate Scotts® Whirl™ Hand-Powered Spreader is a great option for small yards. (Get more info on choosing the right spreader.)
Your lawn wakes up hungry in the spring! Fertlizing it strengthens roots and gets it off to a good start.
Apply early spring lawn fertilizer once between February and April, when your grass is starting to green up and begin to actively grow (around the time your lawn first needs to be mowed).
- Make your feeding routine a cinch by purchasing the Scotts® Turf Builder® Annual Program, which will supply everything you need to nourish your lawn (and kill weeds) from early spring through the fall. The Early Spring product feeds while preventing crabgrass and other listed grassy weeds.
- In the North, apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Halts Crabgrass Preventer with Lawn Food if you had a problem with crabgrass last year. If you also had a problem with broadleaf weeds, apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Triple Action, which kills weeds like dandelion and clover while also preventing crabgrass and fertilizing your lawn. If you didn't have problems with crabgrass and other weeds, apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Lawn Food.
- In the South, if weeds tend to be a problem, feed your lawn with Scotts® Turf Builder® Bonus® S Southern Weed & Feed2. Fire ants also an issue? Apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Triple Action instead, as it prevents and kills fire ants for up to 6 months in addition to killing weeds and fertilizing your lawn. If you don’t have problems with weeds or fire ants, use Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Lawn Food.
By this point your grass is busy and using up stored energy, so you need to keep it well-nourished.
Apply late spring lawn fertilizer once between April and June, 6 to 8 weeks after the early spring feeding.
- If you have purchased the Scotts® Turf Builder® Annual Program, apply the Spring product now. It will help your lawn grow strong roots while killing dandelion, clover, and other listed weeds.
- In the North, apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Weed & Feed3 if broadleaf weeds (think clover, violets, creeping Charlie, oxalis) are a problem. If they aren’t, apply another round of Scotts® Turf Builder® Lawn Food.
- In the South, follow up your early spring fertilization with an application of Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Lawn Food.
Summer is tough on grass, thanks to heat, drought, foot traffic, and insects. Fertilizing helps protect and strengthen it.
Apply summer lawn fertilizer once between June and August, 6 to 8 weeks after the late spring feeding.
- Following the Scotts® Turf Builder® Annual Program? Apply the Summer product now to help make the most of each watering and encourage deep root growth.
- In the North, when dealing with issues with insects like chinch bugs, chiggers, or fleas, feed with Scotts® Turf Builder® Summerguard® Lawn Food with Insect Control, which strengthens against heat and drought while killing listed bugs.
- In the South, apply Scotts® Turf Builder® Summer Lawn Food to nourish grass while using less water (when used as directed).
Your lawn is looking for the nutrients it needs to recover from summer damage while getting ready for its winter nap. Doing your fall lawn fertilization now will strengthen roots and increase nitrogen storage for a healthy, green lawn next spring.
Apply fall lawn fertilizer once between August and November, right before winter hits, 6 to 8 weeks after the summer feeding.
- Apply the Scotts® Turf Builder® Annual Program Fall product now if you’ve been following that regimen. This will help promote strong root growth for a better lawn next spring, while killing many broadleaf weeds.
- In the North, give grass a headstart on strong root growth by using Scotts® Turf Builder® WinterGuard® Fall Lawn Food twice in the fall: once around Labor Day and a second time 6 to 8 weeks later.
- In the South, use Scotts® Turf Builder® Bonus® S Southern Weed & Feed2 for fall lawn fertilization while controlling weeds if you have a St. Augustine, centipede, or zoysia lawn. If you have a bermuda lawn, use Scotts® Turf Builder® WinterGuard® Fall Weed & Feed3 instead.