Q&A: Is it Too Late to Apply Lawn Fertilizer?

lawn with a fallen leaf
Q: I
didn’t get around to fertilizing my lawn earlier this fall. Is it too late to put down fertilizer now? Should I wait until spring?

A: November 15 is the cutoff date for Maryland homeowners to fertilize their lawns in the fall. According to Maryland’s Fertilizer Use Act that went into effect in 2013, you may not apply lawn fertilizer between November 15 and March 1. The law also prohibits lawn fertilizer applications within 10 to 15 feet of waterways. These restrictions are intended to help protect the Chesapeake Bay from excess nutrient runoff.

See our Turfgrass Maintenance Calendars for Maryland Lawns to find the maximum allowable rate of fertilizer for your type of lawn. If you do miss the November 15 cutoff date, you can apply fertilizer next spring in late May or early June. (See the Optional Turf Applications schedule in the above-referenced publication.)

Healthy lawns established about ten years or more may only need one nitrogen application per year. Learn more about Maryland’s fertilizer use law.

Have a plant or pest question? University of Maryland Extension’s experts have the answers! Send in your questions and photos to Ask an Expert.

2 thoughts on “Q&A: Is it Too Late to Apply Lawn Fertilizer?

  1. tonytomeo October 30, 2017 / 2:13 pm

    Wow, I would not have been aware of law dictating how fertilizer is applied. From the question, I though it was relevant to the weather, which is more limiting in Maryland than it is here.

  2. Fahim Mahmod November 14, 2017 / 11:01 am

    Very nice content. Can’t wait to learn more about it.

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