When (and how) to fertilise a lawn

The frequency of lawn fertilisation hinges on several factors, such as grass type, soil quality, climate, and your lawn’s specific requirements. We typically advise fertilising your lawn twice annually: once in spring/summer and again in autumn/winter. However, this is a general guideline. Your lawn may benefit from seasonal fertilisation. Some homeowners opt for a mid-summer application to enhance colour and vitality during hot months, but this requires ample watering which is often challenging due to water restrictions. In scorching summer weather, it’s wise to refrain from fertilising to prevent grass stress.

Autumn fertilisation is vital for strengthening grass and building nutrient reserves for winter, ensuring a healthier lawn the following spring. Nevertheless, spring fertilisation is arguably most critical, as it promotes new growth and green-up after winter dormancy. For optimal results, we recommend fertilising in late spring when grass is actively growing.

Our lawn specialist, Mike Taylor, shares insightful tips for fertilising your lawn:

“Firstly, it’s crucial to recognise that weather significantly impacts lawn growth, repair, and overall appearance. Keep this in mind when implementing any advice and assessing results.

During the colder months from January to March, I suggest avoiding fertilisers. Instead, consider using iron sulphate to combat moss and diseases while enhancing grass colour. Nitrogen-based fertilisers are best avoided during this time as they may not be effectively absorbed and can potentially leach or emit harmful greenhouse gases.

As temperatures rise in April, soil temperatures increase, prompting lawn growth. This period is ideal for aerating, scarifying, or seeding your lawn.

In my professional experience, I’ve found success in seeding with grass varieties used on Premier League football pitches such as Johnsons J Premier Pitch Grass Seed or Hurrells Football & Rugby Pitch Grass Seed. These grasses thrive in lower temperatures, allowing for early growth and winter repair. Additionally, utilising specialist fertilisers designed for colder temperatures can jumpstart lawn growth earlier in the year.

While this approach may require some additional effort and extended cutting seasons, the benefits are substantial. Lawns treated in this manner tolerate early spring and late autumn use better, maintaining their condition throughout the winter months.

To summarise, it’s advisable to wait until April, when the weather warms up, before applying fertiliser. However, there are still ways to enhance your lawn’s appearance early in the year. Even for enthusiasts, investing in professional lawn care can yield significant value thanks to the range of products available and the consistent support provided, ensuring a resilient lawn regardless of weather fluctuations.”

How to fertilise your lawn for great results

  1. Step 1:
    Ensure your lawn undergoes essential maintenance tasks like scarifying, weed removal, and aeration.
  2. Step 2:
    Confirm soil moisture levels. If dry, aerate and water the soil.
  3. Step 3:
    Mow your grass 3-4 days before applying fertiliser.
  4. Step 4:
    Apply fertiliser at the recommended spreading rate, preferably using a quality spreader on an overcast day or in the evening.
  5. Step 5:
    Prevent grass blade burn by promptly rinsing off excess fertiliser. Consider treating before expected rainfall or manually watering with a hose/sprinkler system.
  6. Step 6:
    After 2-3 weeks, inspect for weeds, remove them, and overseed any bare patches.
  7. Step 7:
    Sit back and admire your handywork!

Treat your garden to our design service: Call us

Whether you are fertilising your lawn, laying new turf, or completely redesigning, the team at Terra Firma are here for you.
Check out our inspiration gallery of give us a call on 020 8769 7321 if you’d like some professional gardening or garden design help.

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