How Long Does Grass Fertilizer Take to Work?

If you want your new lawn to reach its full potential—convert a bare landscape into a lush, green lawn—you should put in the work to supply the essential nutrients it needs like water, sunlight, and fertilizer.

Creating an effective fertilization program forms the foundation for creating a healthy lawn characterized by dense green blades, a well-established root system, and heightened resilience against weeds, pests, and diseases. If you plan on fertilizing your lawn, you're probably wondering how long it will take for the treatments to take effect. How fast will the soil absorb the nutrients, and when can you expect to see visible results?

The short answer? It depends.

3 Factors That Influence How Long Fertilizer Takes to Work

While most fertilizers have the same composition—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—they vary in application methods, determining how long they will take to start working. Other factors to look into are soil moisture and temperature.

Type of Lawn Fertilizer

There are a few types of lawn fertilizers, each working a bit differently from one another. Liquid or water-soluble granular fertilizers work in as little as one day as they quickly permeate the leaves and soil, promptly releasing nutrients to the grass. It yields visible results within 7-10 days that usually last a few weeks—a lush, denser yard with new grass growth and grass blades with a more vibrant green color.

Slow-release granular fertilizers are formulated to release a small but steady amount of nutrients for 6-8 weeks or longer. Although it takes a bit longer to work, the results tend to endure.

Quick-Release vs. Slow-Release Fertilizers

Quick-release fertilizer does precisely what it says it will: immediately provide the essential nutrients to your grass. It is recommended to use when your grass needs an instant boost of nutrients, which is often the case for new lawns, when it's recovering from a disease, pests, or drought, or when you want to stimulate top growth to outcompete weeds.

However, too much fertilizer can cause rapid and excessive growth. Over-application may also lead to lawn burns or cause nutrients to leach away from the soil, posing harm to the environment. The results last only 2-4 weeks, which means not only do you have to mow more frequently, but you'll also have to apply lawn fertilizer consistently for better results.

With the potential risks of quick-release treatments, your lawn care professional may recommend using slow-release fertilizer instead. It is granular in form and designed to gradually break down and release nutrients. This promotes a more consistent growth of both roots and the grass blades. Its slower release minimizes the likelihood of nutrient leaching, fostering a healthier root system and lowering the risks of lawn diseases.

Our NutriPod® grass plug nutrition is a slow-release fertilizer that provides a gradual, steady supply of pre-measured nutrients to the soil for up to 45 days. It fosters healthier and more resilient growth by ensuring that your grass plugs get nutrients as they need them. Simply drop it into the planting hole and watch your grass grow up to two times faster than usual.


Soil Moisture

Your soil conditions are unique, and its moisture content influences the effectiveness and speed at which fertilizers work. Think of how your blood transports nutrients in your bloodstream—your grass needs fluid to carry the nutrients through its system.

Essentially, granular lawn treatments must be watered to dissolve them into the soil and nourish the roots. When grass plugging, we recommend giving your yard a good watering session immediately. Keep the area consistently moist for the first two weeks to activate the slow-release fertilizer and promote the rapid growth and spreading of the plugs.


In cooler temperatures, grass begins to grow slowly. This is particularly true for warm-season grass varieties like Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia grass that go dormant during winter, in frozen ground. Even with enough moisture, fertilizers tend to work more slowly, and it may take several weeks to see visible effects.


When is the Best Time to Apply Fertilizer to Your Grass

How often you should apply lawn treatments also depends on the type of fertilizer you use. For quick-release fertilizer, the good rule of thumb is to spread out application between 8-10 weeks throughout the growing season to ensure your plants have a steady supply of nutrients as they are actively growing.

Meanwhile, with slow-release fertilizer, you will not have to fertilize your lawn nearly as often. Its prolonged effectiveness ensures a steady supply of essential nutrients for your grass for a longer period. Applying it just once or twice throughout the growing season is generally enough.

By providing a consistent nutrient supply, you can foster a balanced development of your grass and create a gorgeous lawn that lasts.

Additional Treatments for Your Lawn

Nurturing a healthy, vibrant lawn necessitates a comprehensive lawn care strategy that extends beyond a fertilizer program. It should integrate measures such as weed control to kill weeds, using pre-emergents, and diligent efforts to strengthen your grass against external conditions like heavy rainfall and foot traffic.

By adopting this multifaceted approach, you not only boost the aesthetic appeal of your lawn but also cultivate a resilient and enduring green that thrives in various environmental challenges.

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.