Community Education on Environment and Development

Fertilize properly

Get to know your soil

The correct pH factor for your soil is important since it affects the availability of nutrients to your plants. On a scale of 14 a pH of 7 is neutral.  Less than 7 is acidic, more than 7 is alkaline.  Many cool weather grrasses like a slightly acid soil of 6.5 pH.  Dolomite lime, high in magnesium, increases alkalinity.

Soils on the West coast are also often low in calcium. Apply slow-release lime in the spring or fall if a soil test shows a calcium deficiency or strong acid soil conditions, (pH less than 5).

Don't be fooled by the color

Healthy lawns are a medium green color, depending on the variety of grass. The darkest green turf, which many people strive for, is not in fact the healthiest turf. Overfertilized lawns are more prone to disease, thatch buildup, and drought damage.


Mulching your lawn is the best fertilizer. Clover in the grass is beneficial because it adds and fixes nitrogen to your soil. 

Once or twice a year is all you need

With slow-release or organic fertilizers, you can fertilize just twice a year, in mid - to late May and again in early September. If you choose to fertilize only once, the fall application is most important.


These types of fertilizers release nutrients to feed the lawn slowly, and less is wasted through leaching or runoff into our streams. Look for the words "natural organic" or "slow-release" on the bag. When you fertilize, do it moderately.

Remember, grasscycling returns valuable nutrients to the soil every time you mow!

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