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The Best Times To Apply Fertilizer

Applying fertilizer at the proper times is critical to turf health. Two important factors to look at are the type of turf you have and the growth pattern of that turf.

In this FAQ, Christina Burton, Horizon's Maintenance Channel Manager, describes the growth pattern and the ideal fertilization schedule for:

   1. Cool season grasses (Perennial Ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, and Tall Fescue)
   2. Warm season grasses (Bermuda, St. Augustine, and Zoysia Grass).

Maximizing Fertilizer Application - Video Transcript

In order to build an efficient fertilizer program, we have to take into account 3 major factors:

  1. What region do you live in or where you're maintaining this turf?

  2. What type of turf do you have? There are different types that grow differently throughout the season. And that's the 3rd thing you really have to account for.

  3. Growth patterns of turf. So that we're really fertilizing at the proper times and not just reacting to "looks like it needs fertilizer right now."

There are certain times of the year that the turf is really going to benefit the most.

So getting the growth pattern of turf, basically there are two types of turfgrass, broadly speaking. One are cool season grasses. Think of Perennial Ryegrass or Kentucky Bluegrass. Tall Fescue. Those are probably common types that you’ve heard of.

Those are grasses that are primarily growing well in the spring and in the fall. They kind of get a little tired in the summer. They aren’t growing very actively. So generally speaking, the best times to fertilize these grasses are in the spring or in the fall.

Whereas warm season grasses (Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass, St. Augustine), you think of warm places like Florida or Arizona, southern parts of California, Texas.

These are grasses that go dormant in the wintertime oftentimes, so if you see grass that in the winter is yellowed out and they’re primarily growing in the spring to summer.

So it’s that spring to summer window that is the best time to fertilize warm season grass.