Can I fertilize my lawn in... June?
June 10, 2018 5:08 AM   Subscribe

My lawn is looking quite yellow and patchy, a bit worse than it was last year. I'm just starting to get the hang of lawn maintenance and it *appears* that a fertilizer would help. But it's June. Can I apply liquid fertilizer now?

That's the short version. In detail: my front lawn has a large yellow area – no longer just a spot – and is pretty patchy. I had applied weed & feed back in spring, but I totally dropped the ball at watering it. In researching things, I'm theorizing that my lawn is in need of nitrogen, which I can get via a fertilizer. I have never done a soil test.

But, it's been hot. Daytime highs are in the 90s. I've been watering as much as allowed within watering restrictions here in CO – so, 15-30 minutes a day 2-3 times a week, during early morning hours.

If I purchase and apply a liquid fertilizer at this point (looking at both Scotts and Dr. Earth), will that help remedy the situation for the balance of the summer? I'd like things to at least get green, and then I can better prepare for things come fall.
posted by hijinx to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do the soil test before you fertilize. Lots of reasons yellow patches can happen besides nutrients, and too much is as bad or worse than not enough.

Get someone who knows lawns to come look at it.

I am in Georgia, not your climate, but I had large yellow patches in my St. Augustine last summer. My yard man determined it was a fungus, so lots of watering was contraindicated. He applied a fungicide and it came back.
posted by rudd135 at 6:06 AM on June 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Try Milorganite. It's a 5-4-0. It can green up your lawn and can be applied any time during the year.
posted by loveandhappiness at 7:13 AM on June 10, 2018

I would not jump straight to fertilizer. Your lawn could very well be adequately fertilized, but simply experiencing the stress of the hot weather. As weather patterns change (here in Indiana, for instance, we seem to have skipped spring altogether and have jumped straight into 90-degree days) many people will be finding that the grass on their lawns simply aren't of a type to stand-up to the heat and dryness.

I agree with rudd135. You need to have a lawn expert (an actual lawn expert. Not a Tru-Green type service) come out and evaluate your grass. It may be a case of needing to re-seed with a more drought/heat tolerant grass.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:25 AM on June 10, 2018

Lawn care is quite local. Try the Cooperative Extension Office and/or a locally-based garden center. They will also have expertise on how to have a lawn without using lots of water.
posted by theora55 at 7:44 AM on June 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

Milorganite is the bomb, I love it and it won't hurt your grass. It is just Milwaukee poop, or so I have been told.
posted by chocolatetiara at 4:56 PM on June 10, 2018

You don't say, but whether you have warm season grass (Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine) or cool season grass (fescue) makes a HUGE difference.

Since you're in Colorado, I'm going to guess cool season grass, fescue probably, in which case STOP. You're doing it wrong. Spring is the wrong time to fertilize. Summer is a TERRIBLE time to fertilize. Put all your effort into fall and winter. That means thatching and core aeration and overseeding and fertilizing and watering in fall. Rake and keep the leaves off the growing grass in the fall and winter.

Then, come spring and summer, it'll be fine. You might see some signs of the grass going dormant in the summer, and that's fine. Just wait until August or September.

Warm season grass? I dunno, see other comments :)

Yeah, I use Milorganite too.

Also, may I suggest using a reel mower, like a Scotts Classic? It's healthier for the grass, because it gives it a scissor cut instead of a ragged rip cut. However, it's no fun for big lawns, and you can't let the grass grow too high (meaning no slacking off).
posted by intermod at 7:10 PM on June 10, 2018

Thanks, all, for this. I ran a soil test and am going to follow up with a few local experts. Really appreciate it!
posted by hijinx at 12:16 PM on June 13, 2018

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