How to Know When to Fertilize Your Lawn

By TruGreen May 1, 2023
home with lush green lawn

A lush lawn is the ultimate lawn care goal. Cared for properly, it’s a space your whole family can enjoy. And keeping it fertilized with the right nutrients can help ensure that your lawn is well fed so it can remain healthy throughout the seasons. But knowing when to fertilize your lawn isn’t always straightforward. Certain factors — such as the type of grass you have and your local climate — can influence your lawn fertilizer schedule. Luckily for you, we’re lawn care experts. Here, we’ll break down some of the common factors that can affect how often to fertilize your lawn. Plus, you’ll learn how TruGreen® can help ensure your lawn stays healthy, even after chilly winters. Find our tips and tricks for proper lawn fertilization ahead.

How Grass Type Influences Your Lawn Fertilizer Schedule

When you’re trying to figure out the best time to fertilize your lawn, a good starting point is identifying which type of grass you have. There are countless species of grass, but generally, they can be classified in one of two categories: Cool-season grasses, or warm-season grasses.

Cool-Season Grasses

Cool season grasses — such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Ryegrass, and Tall Fescue — thrive in milder temperatures (roughly between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit). These types of grasses get the most out of fall fertilization, as it promotes recovery from the summer, builds strength going into the winter and supports spring green up.

Warm-Season Grasses

Warm-season grasses like Bermudagrass and St. Augustinegrass go dormant in winter and awaken once temperatures start to rise. They grow best when seasonal temperatures average between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. These types of grasses are generally a bit easier to care for than cool-season grasses, and benefit from being properly fertilized and nourished before the summer's hot temps roll in.

How To Know How Often Your Grass Needs Fertilizer

Effective lawn fertilization is in many ways a balancing act. You want to apply enough fertilizer to help your turf thrive, but not too much that it damages your grass. Some signs that your lawn could benefit from fertilization include poor growth, patchiness, and discoloration. Sometimes, though, those same signs could indicate you have other lawn care issues in need of treatment. To help ensure your lawn is getting the care it needs to thrive throughout the seasons, we recommend scheduling an appointment with a TruGreen lawn care expert. We can evaluate your grass, identify its needs, and create a tailored plan for your space.

When To Apply Fertilizer: Seasonal and Regional Considerations

Generally speaking, frequent fertilization is the best way to ensure that your lawn is well nourished and ready for growth throughout the year. Although the recommended best times for fertilizing may differ depending on your location. If you fertilize too early (or too late), there’s a chance that your turf will not reach its full growth potential. 


April showers may bring May flowers, but it also brings with it the perfect opportunity to fertilize your lawn in time for summer. As your lawn comes out of dormancy, it will need sufficient nutrition to support its spring green up. Multiple, well-spaced fertilizations will not only help green up, but also improve the health of your lawn in advance of the stresses that come with summer. Plus, all that Springtime rainfall helps bolster the effectiveness of your fertilization treatments.


Grasses that reach peak growth in the summer can benefit from a fertilization application at the beginning of the season — think mid-May to early June. Note that the summer months require regular watering to ensure your grass is getting the hydration it needs to thrive.


Autumn fertilization is ideal for cool-season grasses that thrive in moderate temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. These nutrients help your lawn recover from the summer and begin to build reserves heading into the winter.


If you live somewhere with classically cold, snowy winters, it’s vital to fertilize your lawn before the cold climate hits. This helps to ensure that your turf has the right nutrients it needs to survive the winter and pop back come Spring. For those in warm climates, winter fertilization can help keep your grass thriving throughout the year.

How Weather Conditions Can Impact Your Fertilization Schedule

Lawn care is rarely, if ever, one-size-fits-all, so please note that fertilization timing is based on our years of expertise. Sometimes, though, unexpected weather that may impact your fertilization schedule can occur. Weather conditions that could impact the effectiveness of your fertilizer application can include excessive rain, drought, freezing temperatures, and snow. Fortunately, our TruGreen experts can adjust your fertilization timing so your lawn gets the nutrients it needs when it’ll best be able to use those nutrients.

Other Factors That Can Impact When You Should Fertilize Your Grass

There are also plenty of other factors that can influence when to fertilize your grass, including the type of fertilizer used, the timing of any other lawn care treatments you’re getting, and the condition of your soil. If you’re still wondering “when should I fertilize my lawn?” reach out to your TruGreen lawn care expert. They can inspect your lawn, go over any questions or concerns that you may have regarding fertilization. We can also help determine a schedule that’ll ensure your turf gets exactly what it needs to stay healthy and look its very best.


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