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When to Apply Milorganite to Your Lawn

One of the keys to having a healthy lawn is to give it what it needs. Often times a yard will not naturally have everything it needs to thrive optimally, which is why you have to fertilize, so you're giving your lawn what it needs.

The working Google dictionary definition of fertilizer is, "a chemical or natural substance added to soil or land to increase its fertility." Basically, fertilizers provide nutrients that plants and lawns need to grow and be pretty.

If you notice that your lawn isn't looking as lush and green as it should be during a particular time of year, it may simply be missing some necessary ingredients. In this case, you will want to invest in fertilizer to give your lawn the boost it needs to thrive.

There are many great fertilizers on the market today, and Milorganite slow-releasing nitrogen fertilizer is undoubtedly one of them. In fact, this is one of the better fertilizers on the market today.

It is natural and not harmful to the environment, plants, kids, or pets. Because Milorganite is made up of a microscopic bacterium, microbes, so it is organic and natural for the environment.

If you’d like to enjoy a little scientific discussion about microbes, give this video a quick watch and learn a little something.

What Are Microbes? - Definition, Types & Uses

Here’s a quick video directly from the Milorganite manufacturing people discussing their product in more detail.

This product, as stated in the video, is manufactured in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District that handles wastewater from Milwaukee. At this facility, they use microbes to process the nutrients and clean the water before returning the water. These microbes end up in Milorganite after they have eaten their fill, died, and have been heat-dried in temperatures around 1200 Fahrenheit.

So, now that we know a bit about how Milorganite is manufactured let's discuss how it works to keep your lawn looking pretty all summer long.

Milorganite is a slow-releasing, nitrogen-based fertilizer.

Slow-releasing essentially means that this fertilizer does not unleash all its nutrients in one fell swoop. Instead of releasing everything, all at once, it releases the nutrients the plants need when they need. Hence the slow-releasing aspect.

To create this effect, the nitrogen contained in the product is water-insoluble and degrades over time instead of after coming into contact with water. Also, because microbes only break down under relatively optimal moisture and temperature conditions, your yard will need to be adequately moist and warm/cool enough.

This slow-releasing aspect of Milorganite is part of what makes it such a successful fertilizer. Milorganite can work in your yard for up to 10 weeks.

So, the burning question, when should you apply Milorganite?

As with all other fertilizers, these instructions are on the product label, but here it is.

First off, it’s suggested that you should apply Milorganite before it rains so it can work its way into the soil where it can release slowly and have the most significant impact.

As for when, on the calendar, you should apply Milorganite, here’s a general rule of thumb; follow the "holiday schedule."

Though you can find all of this information in great detail on Milorganite’s website, https://www.milorganite.com/using-milorganite/rates-and-schedule, I’m still going to summarize their suggestions.

When you need to apply Milorganite will depend on what type of grass you have in your yard.

Northern, Cool-Season Grass

If you live in the North and your yard is mostly cool-season grasses: Kentucky bluegrass, Fescue, or Perennial Ryegrass, you will want to fertilize about 4 times a year.

Fertilize in the spring, near the end of May or after the last frost, after your lawn starts to turn green, and when temperatures stay in the 60s. Then again in early summer right before it’s supposed to rain. Apply the third fertilizer near the middle of summer or in early September. The last application should be in the middle of November or before the first frost.

If you are following the holiday calendar, you will fertilize around Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving.

Southern, Warm-Season Grass

If your yard is mostly warm-season grasses: Bermuda, St. Augustine, Centipede, etc., you will also want to fertilize 4 times a year.

With southern lawns, you essentially follow the same protocol as with Northern lawns, except a few differences.

For the first application, you'll want to apply after the last frost of winter, then again when temperatures hold around the 70s. The third application should fall around early September and the last in early October.

If you’re following the holiday calendar, you will fertilize in the south around Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and early October (no holiday specifically).

Note - some states or local municipalities have summer fertilizer restrictions, so please be aware of when you are not allowed to fertilizer.

New Lawns

If you are working on establishing a new lawn, depending on what grasses you have and where you live, you will need to do some initial fertilizing.

Before your yard starts to grow, you will want to mix Milorganite into the top 2 inches of soil. After your grass has taken root and you have had to mow about 3 times, then you will want to apply another dose of fertilizer. After these two initial applications, follow the above schedule based on the grass type in your yard.

The best way to spread Milorganite fertilizer on an established lawn is to put it in a broadcast spreader or a drop spreader. Not only does the Milorganite website suggest this, but so do the reviews and videos from people who have used/actively use the product.

How you set your spreader is dependent upon quite a few factors: your walking speed, size of your yard, the age of your yard (is it a newly established lawn?), and what are the conditions that you're spreading in (damp or dry grass).

For suggestions, view the label instructions, but remember to base your settings on you and your yard.

About the author

Mark Kelly

Hi, I'm Mark the owner of Yard Care Gurus. I love to be outside working on my lawn, planning my next project. I created this website to help people like you find the best products for yard care and great advice. Thanks for stopping by!

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