DIY Network

Spring Fertilizing

This DIY Basic will provide tips on spring fertilizing.

More in Outdoors

Fertilizing yard

Watch an Overview Video

Test the Soil

For spring and summer beauty, fertilize lawn and flowerbeds in early spring.

Start by testing soil to see if it needs additives. Acidic soil may need lime; dense clay may need gypsum.

Choose a Fertilizer for Your Lawn

Lawn should be fertilized after a couple of mowings.

Choose right fertilizer for type of lawn.

Tip: General-purpose 'starter' fertilizers are good for seed, sod and young, unfertilized lawns. Established lawns do best with granular fertilizers, which release nutrients slowly over six to 12 weeks.

Fertilize the Lawn

Wear safety glasses, gloves and dust mask, and spread the granular fertilizer with spreader. Calibrate application rate based on type of fertilizer.

Walk quickly and evenly behind spreader.

Cover each section of lawn only once, and work fertilizer into ground with rake.

Spray entire lawn with water until wet but not soaking.

Fertilize once more during growing season.

Choose a Fertilizer for Your Flowerbeds

Choose the right fertilizer for flowerbeds.

Tip: Organic fertilizers improve soil texture and don’t burn roots; synthetic fertilizers are cheaper but easier to overdo. Make sure range of nutrients in fertilizer matches flowers. All-purpose or general fertilizer works for almost any bed.

Fertilize the Flowerbeds and Maintain

Apply liquid fertilizer to annuals every two to four weeks; perennials need feeding every four weeks. Slow-release granular fertilizer is applied one or two times in a growing season.

Water thoroughly after applying granular fertilizer.

To fertilize with compost, spread 1 or 2 inches on top of soil.

Tip: Water lawn and beds at least once a week during dry season and fertilize again as needed; it's always better to water lawns longer and less frequently than more often and for shorter times. This way, fertilizer goes deeper and roots grow down into the soil and not sideways.