Fertilizer Tips for Knoxville, TN

Lawn fertilization can make or break your yard’s appearance. In Knoxville, the wide variety of warm and cool season grasses—along with their unique soil needs—make greenery a maintenance challenge.

Since fertilizing methods vary between different species of grass, it’s crucial to understand these differences. Below are some methods that will teach you how to fertilize your lawn like a professional.

Soil Sampling

Soil sampling—or testing your soil content—is the most important and reliable way to figure out which fertilizer to use. Many lawn owners mistakenly base their fertilization schedule on whether there see dirt patches or brown spots in their yard. This method doesn’t show the soil’s pH level or any nutrient imbalances that could be present.

The soil should be tested once year, preferably before spring or fall, so your fertilization schedules will be well-prepared.

For the actual sampling process, take 8 to 10 soil samples from your yard and go 6 inches deep for each sample. Mix samples in a bucket or large clean container, then place the mixed soil in a properly labeled soil box and mail to the University of Tennessee in Nashville (Soil sample boxes and mailing information available at your local Agricultural Extension Service office found at the following website.

Understanding Turfgrass

Another important factor for lawn fertilization is knowing your lawn’s growing season. Based on whether your lawn grows a warm-season or a cool-season blend, the answer will determine when you should fertilize your lawn.

For cool-season grasses, the best schedule is to first apply 0.5 pounds of nitrogen-only fertilizer per 1000 square feet in March, and then once again in April. After the summer ends, cool-season grasses will need 1 pound per 1000 square feet of a complete 2-1-1 fertilizer. Apply once in September, then in October, and finally a 0.5 pound dose of nitrogen-only fertilizer in November. This ensures your turfgrass will endure both cold or hot weather conditions.

For warm-season grasses, it’s recommended that a complete 2-1-1 fertilizer application is done in April, and once again in September with a pound of fertilizer each time. This is followed by a pound of nitrogen-only fertilizer—once in June and again in mid-July.

Choosing your Fertilizer

There are two main categories for fertilizers: complete, and incomplete. Complete fertilizers contain a mix of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. They’re the main nutrients for your lawn.

Incomplete fertilizers only focus on nitrogen or a mix of two nutrients. The use of either fertilizer depends on both your grass type and soil conditions.

For soils with high levels of phosphorus and potassium, nitrogen-only fertilizers will do the job in keeping your lawn healthy. However, nitrogen-only fertilizers also tend to make soil more acidic over time. This may require your grass needing occasional applications of lime.

Fertilizer Application

One of the most important things to remember when applying fertilizer is you should never apply more than a pound per 1000 square feet. Excess fertilizer can leak into waterways and pollute your surroundings.

Also make sure beforehand your turfgrass is dry. Spread your fertilizer by either using a gravity-flow or centrifugal spreader for best results. Distributing the fertilizer by hand is still effective, but it’s less consistent and consumes more time. Liquid fertilizers can be sprayed through a hose nozzle.

Need help preparing your lawn? Visit our Knoxville lawn care page to get in touch with a professional! In addition to Knoxville, we provide lawn care services to Tennessee cities, including Nashville, Memphis, Hendersonville, and Smyrna.