What Does Fertilizer Do For Grass (Essential Tips!)

what does fertilizer do for grass

Your friends warned you that lawns were high maintenance. But your dreams of garden picnics made you lay one down anyway. Just how much trouble could maintaining grass be? 

You had no idea what you were getting yourself into. 

As if the mowing and watering aren’t enough, there’s also the weeding and the mountain of leaves you need to pick up in the fall. And even all this care, expense, and time aren’t doing the trick. Your lawn is still brownish and patchy instead of green and full. 

There’s one thing you haven’t tried yet, though. 


But before you waste another cent or second on something unlikely to bring your lawn back to life, you want to know it’s worth it. 

You’ve come to the right guy! I’ll break down what fertilizer can do for your grass so you can decide whether it’s just a luxury for pampered lawns or a lawn-care essential. 

What Does Lawn Fertilizer Do

Fertilizer ensures grass gets all the nutrients it needs for complete health. The main fertilizer nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and these nutrients help grass grow faster, thicker, and greener. Fertilizer also protects grass against pests, disease, and bad weather conditions. 

Lawns take a real beating. 

Think about it… Green grass calls us to walk on it, squashing the blades under our feet. Dogs can’t help but frolic in it. And then there’s all the mowing and scorching heat it puts up with. 

That’s why lawns need so much care!

Fertilizer helps lawns by giving them essential nutrients in the right amounts to help them thrive no matter what life throws at them. Properly nourished grass is healthy, strong, thick, and green.  

Fertilizers provide one nutrient or nutrient combos in varying amounts. It’s targeted nutrition to renew grass and keep it healthy. 

Many lawns need extra nitrogen to be their best, but phosphorus and potassium are also frequently lacking. Occasionally lawns need micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. 

A fertilizer’s job is to top up only what’s lacking. Boosting topped-up nutrients won’t do your grass any good and can be harmful. So, it would be best if you got a soil test to find out what’s deficient before you add fertilizer to your lawn-care program. (Amazon)

Let’s explore what results are possible when you start fertilizing your grass.  

Does Lawn Fertilizer Really Make A Difference

You can clearly see lawn fertilizer’s results!

How dramatic a makeover fertilizer gives your lawn depends on your lawn’s starting condition. 

If your lawn is nutrient-starved, fertilizer can make a big difference. Fertilizer can transform a sickly lawn into thick grass that glows green with health! But only if it gives a hit of the nutrients your lawn is missing. So, again, have your soil tested to see what nutrients to look for in a fertilizer before you apply it to your lawn. 

how fast does lawn fertilizer work

Wondering when you’ll start seeing fertilizer’s results? Read this to find out how long it takes for fertilizer to work on grass

Suppose your lawn is already making all other lawns (wish they were) green with envy. Say it’s full, green, and growing well, for example. Then it’s probably not malnourished!  In this case fertilizer won’t drastically improve its condition. 

Benefits Of Fertilizer For Your Lawn

These are the top 8 benefits of fertilizer for your lawn:

  1. Thicker grass (for a lush look and soil protection).
  2. Faster-growing grass.
  3. Greener grass. 
  4. Stronger grass (pests and diseases don’t stand a chance!).
  5. Fewer weeds. 
  6. Grass that better tolerates drought, heat, and cold. 
  7. Grass that’s better able to bounce back from stress. 
  8. A good start for new lawns. 

Does Fertilizer Help Grass Grow?

Fertilizer helps grass grow throughout its life cycle, from seedling to established lawn. Grass needs multiple nutrients to reach healthy lengths. If it doesn’t get enough of all these nutrients, its growth and development will suffer.

Fertilizer stops this from happening by giving grass what it needs to grow to its full potential. 

Phosphorus is one of the most important nutrients for healthy growth during lawns’ early stages. It turns grass seedlings into feisty little things eager to grow. It helps their roots take hold and kick starts their development. 

On the flip side, a phosphorus deficiency stunts seedlings’ growth and can turn young grass blades purplish or reddish. 

Nitrogen is another super-nutrient for long grass. It gives shoots and roots max growing power. 

Good to know: Potassium doesn’t make grass longer or greener, but it does make it tougher. Potassium-fortified grass is less likely to be knocked down by wear and tear and unfriendly weather conditions.

Will Fertilizer Make Grass Thicker And Greener

Fertilizer makes grass thicker and greener, thanks to its nitrogen content. It is considered good practice to use a triple dose of this nutrient, one in late spring, another in late summer, and the third in late fall. 

Nitrogen is the secret to making your grass that enviable vivid shade of green. Plus, it makes lawns lush and full. 

If your lawn looks thin and pale, nitrogen might be just the pick-me-up it needs! 

Pro tip: Try grasscycling to cut down on fertilizer. It’s estimated that this practice can supply about 20% of your lawn’s fertilizer needs! Grasscycling recycles your grass clippings by leaving them where they fall as you mow. The clippings quickly break down, releasing their nutrients into the soil and nourishing your lawn. Just make sure you only mow your grass when it’s dry and keep the clippings short. 

Does Grass Fertilizer Kill Weeds

A fertilized lawn is less likely to fall victim to a weed attack than an unfertilized lawn. But if the weeds have already taken hold, standard fertilizers aren’t effective. Basic fertilizers don’t have weed-killing power.

However, 2-in-1 products that fertilize grass while destroying weeds do exist. Enter: the weed-and-feed, a mixture of grass-nourishing ingredients and weed-killing herbicides.  

These multitasking products are convenient, but they come with potential problems.

Here’s how issues can come into play. 

Different weed species need to be tackled at specific times. However, the ideal time to zap your weeds might not match the best time to fertilize your lawn. 

Then, what happens when you need to feed your lawn but don’t have any weeds? 

Another problem is that using a weed-and-feed combo might be less effective than using the products separately. So, you save time and effort but get less impressive results. 

Pro tip: A better approach is to apply fertilizer to your whole lawn and spot-treat those pesky weeds. 

What Happens If You Use Too Much Fertilizer On Lawns?

Overdoing the fertilizer is bad for your lawn, and it’s bad for the environment. Excessive fertilizing can cause thatch build up or fertilizer burn.

Too much fertilizer is bad for your lawn because it can make grass grow a little too well. This growth spurt can trigger thatch buildup, which, in turn, can dry out grass roots, starve the roots of oxygen, or expose the roots to harmful organisms and insects. 

Excessive fertilizer can also burn your grass and increase its disease risk. 

Using too much fertilizer is bad for the environment because the excess can find its way into groundwater, streams, and rivers. 

Be kind to your lawn and the environment by regularly applying a little fertilizer throughout the growing season rather than dumping a lot on your lawn in one go. 

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