Fertilizing the Lawn

When to fertilize your lawn depends on a few things, but the biggest rule is to fertilize only when your lawn is actively growing.

In South Florida, turfgrass grows year-round, while in North and Central Florida, it grows from roughly March or April through September, October, or November.

The maintenance plan you choose also influences when to fertilize. If you choose a higher maintenance plan, you’ll fertilize more times during the growing season, while a basic plan will require fewer applications.

Look for a fertilizer with at least some slow-release nitrogen, which releases the nitrogen to the grass over an extended period of time.

And finally, be aware of state and local regulations that cover lawn fertilization, and be sure to adhere to them.

Calculating the Amount

Applying too much fertilizer can harm your lawn and the environment. So how do you calculate the right amount to apply?

First, you need to know how many square feet your lawn covers. Measure it yourself or take a look at your property survey. Next, what type of grass do you have and where do you live in the state? Different grasses have different fertility needs depending on where they’re growing.

Finally, what type of fertilizer do you plan to use? Look for the three numbers on the bag and write down how much of the nitrogen is in slow-release form.

Once you’re armed with this information, contact the folks at your county Extension office. They can help you calculate how much fertilizer to apply and tell you when you should apply it.

UF/IFAS Publications