Our Lawn Expert Explains How Long It Typically Takes To See Results When Using Lawn Fertilizer

If you incorporated fertilizer into your lawn maintenance routine, then you probably noticed something amiss. Maybe you have noted that it began fading in color, turning a yellowish green rather than retaining its vibrant green hue. Or maybe you detected an increase in bald patches or thinning, signaling a lack of nutrition. Whatever the reason, you're probably anxious to see results, and fast. But how long does it usually take to see results when fertilizing your lawn? Can you expect to see a change in mere days, or is it more of a waiting game? We asked our lawn expert, Rob Palmer, founder and brand president of Lawn Squad, to weigh in. 

If applied correctly, the results can be pretty instantaneous. "Typically, on a healthy lawn, results can start to be seen within a few days to a week of a fertilizer application," Palmer exclusively told House Digest. However, the speed of that turnaround hinges on a few factors. If you would prefer to see results in a few days rather than a whole week, there are certain things you need to watch for before applying the product to your lawn. Let's take a closer look at those factors below. 

The type of fertilizer determines how quickly you will see results

Not all fertilizers are created equally, and understanding their differences can help you get the results you want. For example, some are designed to release their nutrients slower than others. Specifically, there are quick-release and slow-release fertilizers. There are also options that have a mixture of both, giving you the best of both worlds. "This is determined by the type of coating (or lack thereof) used to control the amount of nutrient release from the product. Depending on the release properties of the fertilizer, the results may be quicker or slower depending on the coatings used," Palmer tells House Digest. If you decide to use a slow-release formula, then you won't see results as quickly. 

"This may result in a slower immediate response time of the grass in comparison to straight quick-release fertilizer products," Palmer confirms. However, waiting a couple of extra days might not be a bad thing, considering that the slow-release formula has some additional perks. Specifically, it will keep your grass greener for longer since it provides a stable flow of nutrients rather than a tidal wave. This allows the plant to soak in those nutrients gradually, taking just enough nourishment to grow. But that's not all. "In addition, slow-release fertilizers are generally much safer to use in a lawn setting, as they present much less damage potential to the lawn," Palmer adds.

The contents of the fertilizer can speed up or slow down results

Another factor that influences how quickly you see results is what your fertilizer is made of. Depending on what lawn ailment you have, you will choose certain nutrients. "Products containing nitrogen or iron tend to encourage green-up of the grass and provide a more immediate visual response," Palmer explains to House Digest. That's good news if your grass looks yellow and you're hoping to increase your curb appeal quickly. However, it might take longer if your goal is to strengthen the lawn and, as a result, curb weed growth and pest susceptibility. "However, nutrients like phosphorus and potassium, for example, that tend to work more on overall plant health and root growth, may not present as much of an instant visual change to the grass but are equally as important to grass health," he says.

Remember that you need to keep in mind that you need to water the grass to release these nutrients. If you forget to do this step for a day or two, this can also slow down the results. "For fertilizer to begin releasing nutrients, it must be activated by moisture," Palmer says. "Once the fertilizer has been activated, nutrients are released, becoming available to be taken up and used by the grass plants." If you're unsure what kind of fertilizer your lawn needs, Palmer recommends reaching out to a lawn care professional to create a plan. That way, you get the fastest results possible.