The Do’s and Don’ts of Lawn Fertilizer

Besides sunlight and ample water, your lawn needs some nutrients as well. Fertilizing properly can give your lawn the extra fuel it needs to grow green and full, but fertilizing improperly can be harmful to your lawn, your family, and your pets. To make sure you’re on the right track the next time you set out to fertilize, here are a few do’s and don’ts to be aware of from Northern Virginia Landscaping.


  • Always use a slow-release or organic fertilizer when possible. In contrast to fast-release, these fertilizers will not produce results immediately, but they are more beneficial for your lawn in the long-run.
  • Read the label on every product to see how much nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are contained, in that order. Fertilizers with a higher nitrogen concentration are best for the spring and summer, while fertilizers higher in phosphorous and potassium are best used in the fall to encourage root growth.
  • Fertilize your lawn twice a year – once around Memorial Day and again after Labor Day.


  • Stay away from fast-release chemical fertilizers. Although they are high in nutrients and can green up your lawn in a flash, they’re not very environmentally friendly and can burn your grass in large quantities.
  • Don’t forget to make sure that your fertilizer is pet-friendly if you have a four-legged friend. Bone meal, blood meal, and fish-meal fertilizers are an attractive tasty treat for dogs in particular, but can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.
  • Refrain from using starter fertilizer with weed control when seeding and growing new grass, as the seeds will not be able to withstand the weed control elements and will not germinate.
  • Don’t assume that all fertilizers are made equal! You should always read the instructions on the label and fertilize as directed, which will lead to proper application and dispersion throughout the lawn.


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