Fertilizer is a good thing for your lawn in Northern Virginia.

It provides your grass with nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus that can make it grow healthier, greener, and even thicker. 

You might be thinking if a little bit of fertilizer is great, then why not add more? But like anything else in life, more is not always better. 

Let’s talk about what to do if you accidentally over-fertilized your lawn, signs of an over-fertilized lawn, and how to fix an over-fertilized lawn so you can get your lawn back to good health.

You Accidentally Over-Fertilized Your Lawn. Now What?

Unfortunately, yes, it is true that over-fertilization is a common DIY lawn care mistake.

Since a lot of the advertising around lawn fertilizer centers around it being “lawn food,” it’s easy to see how you can make this error. If your lawn looks malnourished, more “food” will make it thrive, right? That’s not really the case. 

Plus, it takes well-calibrated and maintained equipment to apply lawn fertilizer correctly and in the proper amount to your entire lawn in Northern Virginia. It’s not just about randomly spreading bags of a specific product haphazardly across the grass. 

lawn care expert fertilizes grass

In addition to over-fertilization, another problem could be that your lawn soil is compacted and those nutrients are accumulating because the lawn soil and roots aren’t able to absorb them. 

Additionally, dog urine – if you have pets – could also contribute to the problem since it contains a lot of nitrogen. 

Unhealthy grass may also become more susceptible to suffering and show signs of an over-fertilized lawn.

What Are Signs of An Over-fertilized Lawn?

Signs of an over-fertilized lawn may not be apparent to you right off the bat, so let’s review what you’re looking for when you’re inspecting your Northern Virginia lawn. 

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Over-fertilization shows up as a burned or scorched area, which will look yellow or brownish and even crispy. You might not see this across your entire lawn; you just might notice spots or tips.

How To Fix An Over-fertilized Lawn?

First of all, remain calm if you accidentally over-fertilized your lawn. Though it may look like it might be gone, your over-fertilized lawn isn’t necessarily beyond repair. 

If you suspect you over-fertilized your grass or maybe even your lawn care service provider over-fertilized your lawn, you might be wondering what you can do next. 

First of all, if the area in question is where your dog commonly goes to the bathroom, then you might want to encourage your pet to go somewhere else like a mulched area to prevent excessive nitrogen in those areas. 

If the over-fertilized spots are in other areas of your lawn, check and see if it’s just your grass blades or tips and if your roots aren’t impacted. If the tips are just burned, then you might be able to reverse the damage. 

Can you fix an over-fertilized lawn? It depends. 

First, if you see any excess fertilizer, removing it is a good step. If it’s granular, you can sweep it out, for instance. 

sprinkler head waters grass

The next step is to water your lawn to help it bounce back. This can help your grass recover from the excess fertilizer build-up. The first day of watering is important, but so will be watering in the next one to two weeks. Irrigate in the morning so the water has time to soak in and does evaporate in the midday sun. 

Inspect your lawn after a couple of weeks to check for new growth. That will be a good sign that you have brought your lawn back. If you don’t notice any new grass growing, you may want to contact a lawn care professional to take a look or plan to repair those areas with some overseeding with new grass seed.

Don’t Forget the Importance of a Soil Test

Without knowing what your lawn is missing, you could be fertilizing incorrectly. 

What does your specific lawn need? Your lawn could need different nutrients than your neighbor’s lawn. Or your lawn’s pH could be worse than the pH of the lawn across the street. 

Conducting a soil test will help give you the data you need to make the right decision on fertilization. Your lawn’s pH can tell you a lot about your lawn, in fact. The perfect pH range for Northern Virginia lawns is between 6 and 7. High pH levels above 7 indicate your soil is alkaline, and low pH levels below 6 indicate that your lawn is leaning toward more acidic. Northern Virginia soils tend to be on the acidic side, which means they require lime to keep your pH in check. 

hands holding soil

But if your lawn’s pH is extremely low, such as in the 4s, then you’ll need a lime application that is more corrective in nature. You want to get your pH to the optimum level range so your lawn is capable of taking in nutrients. 

This is step one in figuring out what your lawn needs when it comes to fertilization. If you do DIY lawn fertilization, you can take a soil test and send it to the local university extension yourself to get the data, but if you hire a professional, your lawn care service provider will do this for you. Either way, a soil test is a key component in doing the job correctly and avoiding accidentally over-fertilizing your lawn.

Other Ways You Can Help Your Northern Virginia Lawn Recover

There are some other steps you can take to repair your lawn and recover from accidentally over-fertilizing your lawn.

lawn care technician aerates grass

Aeration and overseeding is a great way to get some new growth and help repair and restore your lawn’s health. Aeration is the process of taking an aerator across your lawn to remove small soil plugs from the ground to ensure you create space for the lawn roots to breathe, break up the soil, and enable the roots to soak in nutrients and water properly again. Overseeding at this time is a great next step to put seed in those open holes, ensuring maximum seed-to-soil contact.

Hire a Northern Virginia Lawn Care Professional to Help You Avoid Over-fertilization Mistakes

Fertilization is a great service that can help your lawn receive the nutrients it needs to grow strong in Northern Virginia. 

But it has to be applied correctly in order for it to work properly and benefit your lawn in the long run. 

Lawn care professionals are trained to fertilize properly. Companies focused on training and educating their teams on correct calibration and application techniques are the ones that will stand out above the rest. They will also be less likely to make mistakes and cause signs of an over-fertilized lawn. 

Also, sometimes, you might think over-fertilization is the problem when it’s really a turf disease or pest problem. A lawn care expert in Northern Virginia will be able to properly spot this and address the right issue.

We know lawn care can be complicated. If you find you have questions or challenges, give Turf’s Up a call. We can help you better understand what your lawn needs and take the heavy lifting off of your hands, so you can enjoy your grass all year long. 

Looking to better care for your lawn in Loudoun County or Prince William County? We’d love to help. Get started today with a free quote. Together, we’ll prepare a customized plan so you can have that lawn you long for.  

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