The Connection Between Lawn Fertilization & Grass Growth Rate (2024)

For homeowners in Kansas City, having a lush and healthy lawn is important, but achieving this goal isn’t always easy. It takes knowledge of the right type of grass for your climate, regular maintenance practices, and an understanding of how fertilizers can affect grass growth rate. In this article, we will cover these topics to help you create the perfect lawn! Keep reading for tips on proper lawn fertilization and to attain a better understanding of the connection between fertilizers and lawn growth!

Healthy Grass Growth

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To determine whether your grass is growing at a healthy rate, you must first look at the climate in which you live and the type of grass in your lawn. There are cool-season grass types and warm-season grass types that perform best when they are seeded in the proper climate. In the cooler northern states, cool-season grasses perform better and often grow a bit taller at a healthy rate. On the other hand, warm-season grasses thrive in sunlight and heat and tend to perform best when they are maintained at shorter heights.

Fertilization plays a huge role in maintaining proper grass height. Without the use of fertilizers, your lawn will have a harder time reaching a healthy height without stressing out the grass too much. Here in Kansas, our weather patterns can be sporadic, so homeowners across the state utilize a variety of different grass types. Below is a chart of the optimal heights for each grass type in our area:

Cool-Season Grasses

  • Perennial Ryegrass: 1.5 - 2.5
  • Kentucky Bluegrass: 2 - 2.5
  • Fine Fescue: 2 - 2.5
  • Tall Fescue: 2 - 3

Warm-Season Grasses

  • Bermudagrass: 1 - 1.5
  • Zoysia: 1 - 1.5
  • Buffalograss: 2 - 3 inches
  • St. Augustine: 2.5 - 3

How Fast Does Grass Grow?

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Applying fertilizer to your lawn makes all the difference between fast and slow grass growth rates. The soil has to consist of certain qualities for grass to truly thrive and perform at its optimal level, and this is where fertilization comes in. If soil is lacking resources, the grass in your lawn will not be able to absorb the necessary nutrients to grow tall and lush at a healthy rate. With proper fertilization, however, your grass will grow at the rates to be expected of healthy lawns!

In well-fertilized soil, most grass species will begin emerging within only 8-10 days after seeding. In a single day, healthy grass can grow a maximum of around 1/5 of an inch. In a week, well maintained grass grows roughly 1 inch if the soil meets ideal conditions. Improper fertilization can lead to grass growing too quickly or too slowly, which will have negative consequences for your lawn, so any growth that is well outside of these ranges means some adjustments need to be made.

How Fertilizers Accelerate Growth

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The main components in lawn fertilizers are the elements nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Each element plays a crucial role in the development of healthy grass blades, but nitrogen is arguably the most important of all 3, and it is the element responsible for the rate at which your grass grows. In the right amount, nitrogen speeds up growth and gives your lawn a lush green color. It is vital to properly apply fertilizer because too much or too little can have an adverse effect on how quickly your grass grows. Too little fertilizer will lead to slow and stunted grass growth, while too much can cause overgrowth that can be damaging to the long-term health of your lawn.

Nitrogen helps grass grow by aiding in the production of chlorophyll. Many people associate chlorophyll with the rich green color of a well maintained lawn, but chlorophyll is also vital to the rate of growth your lawn experiences. Chlorophyll is a chemical that promotes more active photosynthesis of the grass in your lawn, which is how grass absorbs sunlight in order to grow strong and tall. More nitrogen in a lawn means more chlorophyll being produced, which means more energy for grass to grow and thrive.

Phosphorus, potassium, and an assortment of other nutrients in fertilizers also help grass grow by forming more resilient grass that can withstand harmful environmental factors like cold weather and pests. In particular, phosphorus helps roots grow stronger and deeper into the soil, and deeper roots will always lead to taller and quicker grass growth.

Can Fertilizers Harm Grass Growth?

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Fertilizers can, and often do, have negative effects on grass growth rates when they are improperly applied. Overfertilization is one of the most common issues that homeowners face with their lawns, and it can lead to a variety of problems, such as wilting grass blades, yellowing leaves, and poor root development. Overfertilizing frequently causes weeds to develop, which will result in less nutrients being available for your grass. Additionally, nitrogen in fertilizer can cause a rapid growth spurt that will ultimately exhaust the grass and lead to weaker roots over time.

It’s also important to note that some types of fertilizers are designed to give a quick boost without providing any long-term effects on grass growth rates. These types of fertilizers should only be used sparingly for special occasions or when trying to get your lawn back into shape quickly. If you are just starting to grow your lawn for the first time in the season, or if your lawn has been struggling to grow for a while, nitrogen-heavy fertilizers can be helpful, but you still have to make sure you are following guidelines and not applying more than necessary.

When To Apply Fertilizer For Optimal Grass Growth

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The soil in which your lawn grows naturally contains the same macronutrients that are present in fertilizers. Throughout the year, given proper amounts of rainfall and sunlight exposure, nitrogen and other elements can be found in the soil at higher levels than at other times of the year. This is why it is so important to pay attention to when and how you are fertilizing your lawn. If there is too much naturally occurring nitrogen in the soil, adding too much fertilizer could result in fertilizer burn that leaves dead-looking patches all across your lawn.

Fertilizers can be applied at any time throughout the year, but applying higher amounts of nitrogen is most beneficial in early spring and fall. Spring and starter fertilizers are designed to give your lawn a boost to get going after dormancy, and fertilizing in fall allows your grass to store nutrients before winter. Summer fertilizers will have a lower amount of nitrogen to prevent fertilizer burn when the soil is already fertile. Luckily, the packaging of the fertilizer product will let you know which to use at different times of the year, so be sure to pay attention to labels and guidelines.

Call Heartland For Healthy Grass Growth In Kansas City!

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To be absolutely sure your lawn gets the right amount of fertilizer for the healthiest grass growth possible, call a professional lawn care service like ! Pros like us know exactly what your lawn needs, including lawn aeration, and we always help ensure that your grass grows at the healthiest rate every season! Consult with a professional lawn care company near you for more tips and information on how to get your grass growing!

The Connection Between Lawn Fertilization & Grass Growth Rate (2024)


Does lawn fertilizer help grass grow? ›

Fertilizing your lawn helps to promote lush, green growth and also aids in disease resistance. A well-fertilized lawn is less likely to be damaged by pests and diseases. Turf needs certain nutrients to grow, and fertilizer helps provide those nutrients as the soil is depleted.

What fertilizer makes grass grow the fastest? ›

How can you make your grass grow faster? The fastest way to new grass is to initiate late-spring fertilization with a balanced fertilizer rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Does the amount of fertilizer affect the height that grass will grow? ›

Too little fertilizer will lead to slow and stunted grass growth, while too much can cause overgrowth that can be damaging to the long-term health of your lawn.

How fast does grass respond to fertilizer? ›

Slow-release fertilizers work slowly but deliver long-lasting results, promoting root growth for new lawns. Slow-release organic fertilizer will show results within a month. It takes less than a week for slow-release synthetic fertilizer to work.

What is the best fertilizer for grass growth? ›

Early in the season your grass doesn't have the energy to do much of anything, so the over-riding need is for nitrogen. That's why we recommend Yara SUPERSTART; by containing two different forms of nitrogen, you'll extend nitrogen availability at a crucial time for your grass crops.

Will fertilizer help thicken grass? ›

Regular fertilization throughout the growing season helps provide the nutrients your grass needs for thicker, healthier growth.

What makes grass grow super fast? ›

You may look into hydroseeding—an efficient planting process that involves spraying a slurry of grass seed, fertilizer, water, mulch, and wood fiber through a high-pressure hose. Because of the built-in fertilizer, hydroseeding helps your grass grow quickly.

How can I speed up my new grass growth? ›

Seed and Feed

One of the most effective ways to get your grass to grow quickly is to fertilize right after you plant. For use on all grass types, reach for Scotts® Turf Builder® Starter® Food for New Grass, which helps grass grow up to 70 percent thicker and 35 percent more quickly (vs. unfed).

What type of fertilizer produces the fastest growth? ›

High-nitrogen fertilizers are known for causing huge growth in plants, which is why many types are rich in nitrogen or include it as the main component. Fertilizers high in nitrogen will also restore bright green hues to your foliage.

Does fertilizer increase growth rate? ›

The more fertilizer a crop receives, the faster it grows. We know if a crop is provided with too little fertilizer, plant growth response is poor; but if fertilizer rates are excessive, plant growth slows and there is a potential for root damage or death from high fertilizer salts.

What happens if you put too much fertilizer on grass? ›

Applying too much fertilizer to your lawn will cause the nitrogen and salt levels in the soil to increase rapidly, which can damage or even kill the grass. When this happens, it is known as “fertilizer burn” and looks like yellow and brown strips or patches of dead grass.

When not to apply lawn fertilizer? ›

When Should You NOT Fertilize Your Lawn?
  1. Don't fertilize when it's winter or early spring. Your lawn needs an extended period to recover from the cold weather. ...
  2. Don't fertilize when it's raining. ...
  3. Avoid fertilizing your lawn in the sweltering heat. ...
  4. Don't fertilize without knowing your grass type.

Do you water grass immediately after fertilizing? ›

It depends on the fertilizer. Some lawn foods perform better when you water them in right after applying, while others—such as some weed-and-feed products—need to be watered a day or two after fertilizing. It all comes down to this: Check the product directions on the bag—they'll tell you when to water.

Does fertilized grass grow faster? ›

You already know that fertilizer is an important part of your lawn's diet. But did you know that it'll actually help your grass grow faster? You can't rely solely on your soil for great, healthy plant life. You'll get better results by using fertilizer.

Why can't you mow after fertilizing? ›

Immediate Mowing: Mowing right after fertilizing is discouraged to prevent nutrient loss. Waiting Period: A waiting period allows fertilizer to be absorbed, varying by type—hours for liquid, days for granular. Consequences of Early Mowing: Early mowing can lead to nutrient waste and uneven grass growth.

Does fertilizer help dead grass grow? ›

If your grass is actually dead, there's nothing you can do to bring it back other than plant new grass. Brown grass, however, can green up following proper care. Oftentimes, that just means water, nutrients, and cooler temperatures for northern lawns and warmer temperatures for southern lawns.

Is it worth fertilizing your lawn? ›

A healthy and actively growing lawn uses a great deal of energy. Fertilizer helps your lawn stay healthy by promoting new leaf and root growth.

How do you know if your lawn needs fertilizer? ›

Signs That Indicate Your Lawn Could Use a Fertilization Treatment
  • If your grass is growing slowly, it could benefit from a fertilization treatment. ...
  • Your Grass Needs a Fertilizer Treatment if It's Turning Yellow or Fading. ...
  • An increased presence of weeds and pests indicates your grass requires a fertilization treatment.
Aug 15, 2023

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