How to Use Fertilizer in Your Yard to Prep for Spring

Someone applying fertlizizer around a tree in preparation for spring.
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-150
What You'll Need
Slow-release fertilizer
Rake or air blower
Watering can, hose, sprinkler
What You'll Need
Slow-release fertilizer
Rake or air blower
Watering can, hose, sprinkler

In the midst of winter, it’s normal to begin thinking of warmer days ahead. With spring on the horizon, now is a good time to start planning how you will prepare your yard for the occasion. Using fertilizer is a great way to do this, as it’s a versatile substance that adds the goodness your yard needs to flourish all season-long in a multitude of ways. Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of preparing your yard with this substance for the warmer days ahead.

Fertilizer Basics

Before delving into the steps detailing how to use fertilizer to prep your yard for spring, it’s important to understand the basics of these substances. Fertilizer has three prime elements. The first is nitrogen, which encourages healthy leaf growth by stimulating the production of chlorophyll, which is responsible for promoting photosynthesis. Essentially, this substance gives plants the ability to convert sunlight into food and thus prosper.

The next essential chemical that exists in fertilizer is phosphorus, allowing the roots, stems, blossoms, and fruits of plants to develop and prosper. Finally, potassium allows foods to productively digest their food and manufacture it as well.

Another basic of fertilizer worth understanding is when the most appropriate timing for it is, based on your lawn. Most lawns, perennials, annuals, and vegetable plants can productively use fertilizer when they receive it right as spring approaches, making this a good time to prepare your yard.

The Importance of Fertilizer

a beautifully landscaped yard with flowers, grass, and green trees.

Some may feel as though fertilizer is not a necessity for your yard and plants, however, that could not be further from the truth. Although the elements listed above exist naturally in the air and soil for plants to use, it doesn’t mean they’re going to do so. Since plants can’t always easily or productively access the key nutrients that exist naturally in the soil and air, providing the nutrients via fertilizer acts as a “sure bet.” Furthermore, the natural nutrients that exist in soil and the air can be soiled by external factors such as construction or traffic, further debilitating plants from using these elements to their benefit. For those reasons, providing plants with these elements via fertilizer is a must-do for a beautiful lawn or garden.

Using Fertilizer in Your Yard to Prep for Spring

So, how can you use fertilizer in your yard to prepare it for spring? We answer that question below!

First, Clean Your Yard

Before you even think about using fertilizer on your yard, you’ll need to do some cleaning up. Winter can take a toll on your yard, and now is the time to rid it of twigs and debris that may have accumulated over the cold months. Use a rake or air blower to make this job easier.

Water Your Lawn

A sprinkler watering a lawn in preparation for applying fertlizer for the spring.

Before you apply fertilizer to your yard, you’ll want to water it thoroughly in order to achieve the desired results. Water whatever garden beds and areas will be receiving fertilizer.

Use Slow-Release Fertilizer

Slow-release fertilizer is best used on your lawn and plants prior to spring. This type of fertilizer uses its nutrients over an extended period of time, which actually cuts down on work for you. This is because it negates the need to re-apply fertilizer as often as would be needed with alternate types. Typically, you can go between six and eight weeks before another application of slow-release fertilizer is necessary. When your lawn needs the nutrients to flourish, the fertilizer releases them to allow healthy growth and a lush-looking lawn as spring begins.

Water Again

After spreading fertilizer in your yard, water your grass and plant beds again, but this time more lightly. This washes the excess fertilizer off of the blades of grass and helps it penetrate the soil. Do not over-water and avoid fertilizing before a downpour, as fertilizer may end up washing away.

Although fertilizing your plants at the beginning of the spring doesn’t mean you won’t have to do it again throughout the growing season, this certainly gives you a head start on having the lush and beautiful yard of your dreams this season!