Applying fertilizer early in the year will help your lawn, shrubs, and ground cover look healthy during the summer. Fertilization may also be necessary at other times of the year depending on your lawnʼs needs. In addition to helping your lawn, fertilization boosts plantsʼ vigor, so consider helping any struggling plants as early as possible with extra fertilization. Itʼs best to identify the need for fertilization early rather than wait too long.
Itʼs also important to know when not to fertilize. As winter approaches, it is important for hardy landscape plants to slow their growth and prepare for the coming cold. Late applications of fertilizer, especially with nitrogen, may keep plants active into the winter. This can actually increase the possibility of cold damage -- even to plants that would normally be hardy. Since fall temperatures in North Carolina are generally warm to mild and do not give plants a strong signal to go dormant, late fertilization is especially discouraged.