Why Should I Fertilize My Lawn? Is It Really Necessary?

Grass doesn’t just grow on water and sunlight alone. If you want a lush, green, beautiful lawn, you’re going to need to fertilize it — potentially as many as six times a year. Let’s take a look at lawn fertilization, why it’s necessary, and whether it’s time to fertilize your lawn.

Why Do Lawns Need Fertilization?

Just like people, grass needs water, sunlight, and food. While your regular dirt might provide some food, over time it becomes depleted of the essential nutrients and minerals that grass needs to grow. This is especially true when the grass is growing quickly, as there simply isn’t time for the ground to be replenished with these resources. 

Grass isn’t native to many locations. It doesn’t grow in widespread areas the way that we want it to for our lovely lawns. In nature, grass will grow quite tall, and the entire length of the grass will be consuming energy from the sun. But when we manicure our lawns perfectly, we cut the grass very short. It needs more from the soil because it isn’t getting as much from the sun.

So while grass will still grow (slowly) without fertilization, it isn’t going to do its best. Hardy grass will fill a lawn, but that grass may appear pale, brown, or otherwise sickly and unhealthy. The solution is to regularly fertilize.

When you see someone with a thick, dark green lawn, it’s because it has been both well watered and well fertilized. Not only does the fertilization help the grass grow healthy and thick, but it also helps the grass fight off weeds, broad-leaf grass, and other unsightly intrusions. It’s important to remember that grass is held in an almost “juvenile” state rather than growing up and seeding. Because of that, it needs the nutrients that a growing plant needs, not the nutrients that a regular, maintained plant needs.

How Do You Know Your Lawn Needs Fertilization?

When your plants start to wilt, you know that they need water, sun, or fertilizer. But grass is pretty hardy. It doesn’t always show a lot of signs that it needs fertilizer, besides a general failure to thrive. Here are a few of the major signs your lawn might need fertilization:

  • Your lawn is being taken over by weeds. If your weeds are growing much faster than your grass, it isn’t just that weeds are hardier. It means that the weeds are taking over the grass because they have the nutrients to grow, but the grass does not. The grass will continue to lose ground until it is given the nutrients it needs to take over again.
  • Your grass is turning yellow or red. Even given appropriate watering, your grass can start to discolor if it’s not being given enough nutrients. If you’re certain that you’re watering your grass enough, it could be that your grass is lacking in vital nutrients.
  • Your grass has recently grown very tall. It happens to everyone. A few rainstorms and your grass is a foot high. But when you cut your grass very low, your grass has to put a lot of energy into growing again, without the solar energy it was used to. It may need some extra help.

In general, if your grass just isn’t growing in the way you want it to, it’s probably an issue with either watering or fertilizer. Both of them are going to need to be fixed to give you and your family the lawn of your dreams.

How Do You Fertilize Your Lawn?

Fertilization involves adding nutrients such as nitrogen into your lawn. But it has to be properly balanced because an excessive amount of nitrogen and other fertilizers can actually hurt your lawn. Professionals can test your lawn to determine what the soil components are and whether there’s anything you need to add.

Apart from determining what nutrients the soil is lacking, you will also want to fertilize at the right times. Don’t fertilize before the grass grows dormant because that’s not when it needs the nutrition. It could even hurt the roots if there’s an excess of it. Rather, fertilization should always happen during growing seasons. Fertilization also has to be balanced with weed management because the fertilization can encourage other plants to grow.

Not sure whether your lawn needs to be fertilized? If you haven’t done it recently, it probably does. Contact Clearfork Lawn Care for more information about what your lawn needs to thrive. We have the means and knowledge to get your lawn to its best state. Our team provides landscape design and maintenance services in Fort Worth.