5 Lawn Care Mistakes to Avoid When Fertilizing Your Lawn

Spring is a busy time for many homeowners as they revisit their lawns, restoring them after the wear and tear of the previous seasons and setting the stage for optimal growth throughout the rest of the year. This season marks a crucial period for lawn care, as proper lawn care practices can make all the difference in maintaining a healthy, vibrant lawn.

There’s much to be done in spring to prepare your outdoor space for summer, including applying lawn fertilizer. Fertilizing your lawn allows you to meet the nutrient demands of your lawn, which contributes to healthy plant growth. However, just as there are nine mistakes you can make when mowing your lawn, there are also fertilizing mistakes that can lead to significant lawn damage.

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5 Common Fertilizing Mistakes to Avoid

Common fertilizing mistakes, such as over-fertilizing, using the wrong type of fertilizer, or applying it at the wrong time, can have adverse effects. These errors can not only increase susceptibility to pests and diseases, leading to damage, but they can also harm the environment.

1. Using the Wrong Fertilizer

Factors like grass type, soil conditions, and climate are crucial in determining your lawn's specific nutrient requirements. Using the wrong fertilizer can lead to nutrient imbalances, making your lawn less conducive to healthy grass growth and at a greater risk for pests, weeds, and diseases. Over time, this can lead to poor growth and damage.

Use a fertilizer that matches your grass type and soil condition to avoid these risks and ensure optimal grass growth. Understanding the nutrients in fertilizers—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK)—can help you select the right ratio for your lawn. For newly established grass plugs, using a controlled-release fertilizer, like NutriPod®, can contribute to healthy root growth while reducing the risk of fertilizer burn associated with traditional fertilizers. These formulations provide a steady release of nutrients, leading to longer-lasting effects between applications.

2. Applying Too Much Fertilizer

Over-fertilizing is also a common lawn care mistake that can occur when using the wrong type of fertilizer or due to accidents like spills or the uneven application of granular fertilizer. Excess fertilizer can lead to several issues, including fertilizer burn, where the grass dries out and turns yellow or brown due to the fertilizer salts drawing moisture from the grass blades. It can also result in excessive growth, weakening the root system as the grass is forced to focus on leaf growth and nutrient leaching, which can pollute groundwater and cause ecosystem imbalance.

Like medicine, you should apply fertilizer at the recommended dosages to avoid these issues. Follow the recommended application rates and timing according to the label instructions to ensure your lawn receives the right amount of nutrients without excess. 

3. Fertilizing Too Little

Inadequate fertilization can equally damage your lawn by depriving it of essential nutrients for healthy growth. Nutrient-deficient grass can become weak and sparse, resulting in a lackluster appearance and increased vulnerability to weeds, pests, and diseases. With weakened roots, it is also less able to withstand drought and other environmental stresses.

While composting and mulching grass clippings can restore some nutrients to the soil over time, they don't completely replace the need for commercial fertilizers. This is because organic compost is bulky and requires large quantities to provide the same amount of nutrients as fertilizers. It takes time to decompose and release nutrients and may not meet the immediate nutrient demands of your grass. Fertilizers, on the other hand, are available in different ratios to provide the exact nutrients your grass needs, which can be immediately available to green up your lawn.

4. Not Conducting a Soil Test

Soil testing is crucial in determining soil pH levels, allowing you to create a conducive environment for your grass. Most warm-season grasses like Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soils, ranging from 5.8 to 7.0 pH. If the soil is too acidic or alkaline for your grass type, it will struggle to thrive even with proper care.

Additionally, a comprehensive soil test can reveal nutrient deficiencies or excesses, guiding fertilizer applications to ensure you apply the right amount of nutrients for optimal growth. We recommend conducting a soil test at least once every three to four years or whenever you establish a new lawn, whether with grass seeds, sod, or grass plugs. It will allow you to adjust the soil pH and nutrient levels before planting. It's also a good idea to test your soil if you notice signs of nutrient deficiencies or your grass is not performing as expected.

5. Fertilizing in Extreme Temperatures

Applying fertilizer in extreme weather can harm plants, as they may struggle to absorb nutrients effectively. For example, hot weather and drought can stress plants, and adding fertilizer can further the damage. The combination of high temperatures and fertilizer can cause burn, resulting in scorched or burned patches, particularly when applied incorrectly or excessively. Similarly, heavy rainfall can wash away the fertilizer, leading to runoff that can pollute water sources.

Timing is crucial to avoid these risks and ensure a healthier lawn. The best time to apply fertilizer is when the weather is more favorable, typically during the growing season in spring, when plants require more nutrients, and in fall, before the grass enters dormancy in winter.

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Takeaway

Applying fertilizer incorrectly or without strategic planning can lead to one of the most common mistakes in fertilizing: ignoring soil health. Healthy soil is the foundation of a lush and vibrant lawn, providing essential nutrients and a supportive environment where plants grow. It ensures your lawn remains resilient to pests, diseases, and environmental stresses.

NutriPod® lawn fertilizer is designed to support soil health, making it an ideal option for maintaining a healthy lawn. This fertilizer is formulated for grass plugs, providing a gradual and steady release of nutrients as they are established into the soil. Unlike traditional fertilizers, NutriPod® minimizes the risk of leaching or runoff, ensuring that the grass plugs efficiently utilize nutrients and promote soil health. By using NutriPod®, you can help your lawn thrive while avoiding common fertilizer mistakes and supporting the long-term health of your soil.

Shop for NutriPod® grass plug fertilizer on our website today!

The traditional methods of fertilizing plants can often be messy, inaccurate, and detrimental to the ecosystem.

Enter NutriPod®, a revolutionary solution that simplifies plant nutrition while being environmentally responsible.