Lawn Fertilizer Burn – Don’t Burn Your Yard

Question: We have on our lawn or yard fertilizer burn – I think. New St. Augustine grass has just been installed at our house, my husband fertilized it with the "best lawn fertilizer" in his opinion, his own homemade brand!

Can you offer any lawn care advice or tips on fertilizing our yard so we can buy and applying the right fertilizer – correctly. Liz, Ormond Beach, Florida.

Answer: It’s easy to experience fertilizer burn, especially with a new lawn. Remember grass is a plant, when it is transplanted from one site to another it will experience some shock.

It’s always best to allow some time for the roots to establish themselves before pulling out the drop spreader and fertilizing a new lawn.

One quick start on a new lawn is by using a liquid lawn fertilizer. Keep in mind, the liquid fertilizer is concentrated and can potentially burn a lawn just as easily as bagged fertilizer if not applied correctly.

When applying even what you may think is the “best grass fertilizer” to your lawn, first, read the label — and DO NOT APPLY DURING THE HEAT OF THE DAY — it’s another way for a lawn and fertilizer burn to get together.

Fertilizers are basically salts and when they become concentrated in a solid or liquid form a burn can occur.

Watch Out for Homemade Fertilizer

As for homemade lawn fertilizer, unless you’re a professional, stay away from trying to “make your own.” It’s not just the green grass that burns but also the roots. Once burned, it can take a long time to grow them back.

For best results in feeding your grass don’t broadcast it by hand, use a fertilizer lawn spreader to help distribute the fertilizer evenly.

After you’ve “put out the feed”, water it in. Water enough to get the nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and other elements to the root system.

Roots – Key to a Healthy Lawn

The key to building a healthy lawn, focus on growing a good root system.

If you have a strong, active, vigorous root system you’ll have a lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood.

Tips for Mowing Grass

Depending on where you live many different grasses may be adapted to your area with each one having its own unique mowing requirements.

St. Augustine grass should be cut at 3-4 inches, Bermuda and zoysia cut at 1 – 1.5 inches and centipede not allowed to grow taller than 2 inches. Grass that is actively growing should be cut one per week.


Tips To Improve Your Plant Care
Sign Up For My Free Daily Newsletter

We will never share your email address period.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

zargeo April 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

Suggestion – to improve and thicken your lawn, mow lawn more frequently during spring fast growth season. It’s worked for me and seems to transfer plant growth vertically to horizontally, i.e., strengthening and expanding the root system. Think of it as pruning your grass plant for a thicker/bushier appearance. Word of caution – make sure you have a sharp blade as ragged shearing of grass blades in spring increases risk of disease. I find myself cutting grass in the spring during active growth at least twice a week.