When Is the Best Time of Year to Fertilize Lawn Grass

Whether to fertilize your lawn in the fall or spring depends on your climate and the type of grass in your yard.

    • Fall is a great time to fertilize cool season grasses, like fescue and rye, since it’s the peak of their growing season.
  • Warm season grasses, such as St. Augustine and centipede, should be fertilized in the spring, since they go dormant in the winter.

Fall is a good time of year to aerate your lawn, since you can add lime or compost at the same time to give your grass a head start in spring.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: Now, what about fertilizers? You talked about fertilizing. When do you fertilize? Everybody says, “You got to do it in spring, got to do it in the fall.” When do you really fertilize to get the best kind of lawn?

Julie Day Jones: Well, I think a lot of times you get those conflicting views because people are growing different kinds of grass. I live in North Carolina and from there and farther north states, we have cool-season grasses like fescue, particularly, that fall is prime time to feed it. They start growing in the fall. That’s when you plant it, that’s when you fertilize it, that’s when everybody gets out and does their yard work.

But father down south where it’s warmer, you have warm-season grasses. Like, this is St. Augustine. Sometimes it’ll even go dormant here over the winter. You don’t want to feed it too much in the fall because you don’t want to feed it and then freeze it. If you have snow or cold weather, so a lot of times you’ll do that in spring.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. And what about aeration? We see people around here all the time, they’ll rent an aerator and then they’ll just tear their yard up.

Storey Walters: And their sprinkler systems.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. So, again, when should you aerate?

Julie Day Jones: You can do that about any time. Fall is a great time. Spring is also a good time. I like to do it in the fall because you can put down things like your lime, your compost.

If you’re trying to amend your soil to get the nutrients in balance, put them down in the fall, let them sit and decompose over the winter and then, come spring, it’s ready to grow.


  1. I applied 34-0-0 to my lawn to green it up fast ! Its green but what do i do for the rest of summer ! (Bermuda )

  2. I have a shady back yard. My grass grows at 2 different speeds. Far in the back it never seems to grow and appears thin. Then closer to the house it looks thick and grows so much faster. I would like the back yard to look as 1.
    I have taken a partial drive and tried to plant seed. I put top soil down and it has been 2 summers. It looks as though someone did this job with out knowing how to do this. I would like some advice.
    Love watching the show… I could use your help here at my home.

    • Hi, Anto,
      Gardening questions can be tricky since the rules can change based on the region. We would suggest contacting your local Master Gardeners association.
      Master gardeners train on a range of topics so they can provide advice, at no charge, for people in their area.
      Here’s contact information for the University of California’s Master Gardeners: http://mg.ucanr.edu/Contact_Us_/Program_Coordinators_/
      Thanks for your question, and good luck!


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