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How Much Does Lawn Fertilization Cost?

Homeowners arrange for lawn fertilization because they want to enhance the appearance and health of the grass. There are different types of lawn fertilizing materials as well as different types of companies that can provide this service to home and business owners. Successful lawn fertilization depends on the right combination of chemicals in the fertilizer as well as the proper timing of applying the fertilizer.

The Costs

  • The minimum cost per square foot for lawn fertilization is $.08.

  • The maximum cost per square foot for lawn fertilization is $.44.

Different Types of Lawn Fertilizers

There are two major categories of lawn fertilizers: organic and synthetic. Organic fertilizers are made of natural ingredients like manure that are found in the environment. Synthetic fertilizers are comprised primarily of man-made ingredients. Fertilizers may offer fast release or slow release of nutrients. Some fertilizers also include herbicides to halt the growth of weeds while at the same time providing needed nutrients to the grass. Lawn fertilizers are available as liquid concentrates, ready to use liquids and granules to shake onto the grass. Lawn fertilizers should contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. These chemicals are in the fertilizer in varying amounts. Home and property owners will need to make a selection of the right blend suited to the type of grass as well as the local weather conditions and soil type. Nitrogen encourages growth of leaves and stems while phosphorous stimulates root growth. Potassium aids nutrient transport, root growth and disease-resistance; it also helps the grass utilize the nitrogen more efficiently and effectively.

Uses of Lawn Fertilizers

There are many reasons why a homeowner may apply fertilizer to the lawn. These include:

  • Reviving dormant grass

  • Increasing the growth rate of the lawn

  • Increasing the health of the grass

  • Improving the appearance of the grass

  • Encouraging fuller and more vigorous growth

  • Halting the growth of weeds

  • Controlling grass diseases

  • Boosting the resale value of the property

Additional Costs of Lawn Fertilization

In addition to the cost of the lawn fertilizer, home and property owners will also need to pay for the labor cost of having the fertilizer applied to the lawn. Hiring a general handyman to spread lawn fertilizer costs an average of $12.25 per hour. Hiring a landscaping expert or a master gardener to spread lawn fertilizer costs an average of $61 per hour. The cost of hiring a landscaper to apply lawn fertilizer averages $32.71 per hour. The more experienced the landscaper is, the higher the hourly wage. Most landscapers will have a manual fertilizer spreader, but for large properties, a lawn tractor with spreader attachment may be needed. This type of equipment rents for $75 or more per day. The renter will need to pay for fuel for the lawn tractor as well. Sprayers for liquid lawn fertilizer are also available for rent at a cost of around $50 per day. The need for gardening gloves, soil testing to ensure the right mix of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, and other gardening supplies such as rakes may add to the project cost.

Advantages of Lawn Fertilization

There are many advantages of lawn fertilization. The grass may grow more vigorously when it is well fertilized. The lawn may have a more vibrant and lush green appearance. Healthy grass may be more comfortable to walk on for both people and pets. Fertilizing the grass may help it grow stronger roots, stems and blades, which can reduce weed infiltration. Thicker growing grass can reduce problems related to soil erosion and mud buildup due to thin or bare spots in the lawn. Using liquid fertilizer may bring about faster growth of the lawn within a week's time.

Disadvantages of Lawn Fertilization

If the wrong type of fertilizer is used on the lawn, it may end up looking worse than it did before the fertilizer was applied. Fertilizer must be spread at the appropriate time during the growth cycle of the grass. Spreading a high-nitrogen fertilizer on dormant grass could cause burns to the grass. Too short of an interval between fertilizer applications can also result in burning of the grass. Applying fertilizer when the grass is too wet may cause significant denitrification of the lawn, leading to poor growth and color. On the other hand, the lawn should also not be fertilized when the ground is too dry. The grass will not be able to absorb the nutrients or the stems and roots could get burned by the chemicals.  Applying fertilizer too early in the growth season could encourage weed growth.

Last updated on Apr 30, 2014

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