The quick and easy answer is – yes, fertilizer can harm your lawn. However there are certain conditions that cause this harm to happen and it’s not generally the fault of the fertilizer. Environmental conditions, application methods and the grass itself are all factors that contribute to the dangers of grass damage due to fertilizing.
Top 3 Conditions That Cause Fertilizer to Harm Your Grass
There are three main reasons why the fertilizer you so carefully applied is actually doing more harm than good.
1) Wrong Fertilizer – If the fertilizer you used contains the wrong mixture of nutrients it will have an adverse effect on your grass. Maybe it’s the wrong fertilizer for the current conditions, or maybe it’s simply too strong or too weak to have the desired effect. In any case, your grass is fairly picky and should only be given the proper type of fertilizer.
2) Wrong Method of Application – Fertilizer generally needs to be spread thinly and evenly. If the product is concentrated in any one area, the grass in that spot is bound to get burned and your lawn will appear patchy and unhealthy. Spreading fertilizer properly is important.
3) Applied at the Wrong Time – Fertilizer needs moisture to absorb into the soil, so if you spread it during a drought it will likely damage the plant as opposed to feeding it. If fertilizer is applied when the grass is dormant the weeds will get the most benefit and end up overgrown within your lawn. Applying fertilizer while the first application of a slow release product is still working will result in over-fertilization and a burned out lawn. It’s most important to apply fertilizer when the grass is ready for it, despite what your calendar says.
The right fertilizer spread at the right time will yield the results you want. And although there are plenty of general guidelines, the conditions of your lawn and climate will determine what that “right” combination is.
Can Organic Fertilizer Harm the Lawn?
Many people think that because organic fertilizer is natural it cannot cause damage to your grass. Unfortunately organic fertilizer works under the same conditions as chemical-based products and so, when it is not applied properly or applied at the wrong time, it can also cause burning and other damage.
Once you have found the right fertilizer for your grass and climate, find out exactly how and when it should be applied and within what conditions. Make sure there is rain in the forecast and the lawn has been dethatched in preparation. Follow the instructions carefully while spreading. These steps should cut down on potential damage and improve the chance of a healthy, full and grassy lawn.