How to Add Nitrogen to Lawn

Lawn & Garden

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To keep a green, dense and well maintained lawn would need you to regularly check on the nutrient content in the soil. However, sometimes due to unavoidable circumstances such as frequently changing weather and soil conditions among other reasons, it may be slightly difficult to always ensure you’re your yard is healthy. Therefore, for grass to thrive in your lawn, it would need nitrogen alongside other components to be added to it.

This article explores how you can add Nitrogen to your lawn when experiencing its deficiency.

Why is nitrogen important for your lawn?

Nitrogen is an important component that contributes to the growth and development of grass that you are growing in your garden or turf. It makes up a huge part of chlorophyll in plants which determines the green color of your lawn. Also, it is what leads to a close packed and elegant lawn. The only way that nitrogen can reach the grass in your lawn is when it is added to the soil artificially or when it is naturally processed in the soil through fixation.

What is the procedure of adding Nitrogen to soil?

Adding Nitrogen to soil would require you to understand the state of your lawn and how to apply the right fertilizer effectively. This is the fundamental basis to robust growth in your lawn and reduces problems such as leaching and a runoff of nutrients that would damage your lawn. Depending on the method you prefer to use, the procedure would be as follows:

Step One: Test the Soil

Before applying nitrogen to your lawn, it is important to test your soil in order to confirm whether it is experiencing nitrogen deficiency. You can do this by taking out a sample of the soil on your lawn and using a soil testing kit to understand the nitrogen content in your soil. Alternatively, you can get it tested in a soil testing laboratory near you.

When nitrogen is excessive in the soil, it causes fast growth of lawn grass and may damage the root system of the grass. In severe cases, it would cause burning on the leaf cells of the grass which would eventually cause it wither. Contrary to this, when the soil on your lawn is experiencing nitrogen deficiency then the grass losses its green color and turns yellow.

Step Two: The Application Process

When your soil is nitrogen deficient, there are two ways to fix it; either by adding organic sources of nitrogen to your lawn or by applying inorganic sources such as chemical fertilizers to your lawn.

Applying Organic sources of Nitrogen to Soil

The easiest way to add nitrogen into your lawn is by leaving grass clippings on the ground during mowing. Additionally, among the methods of adding organic sources of Nitrogen to soil you can:

Directly put in composted manure into the soil.

By mixing manure with compost, you eliminate the chances of burning that comes from over application of nitrogen. Nutrients are released into the soil when the soil begins to absorb the composted manure. Its decomposition is often a slow process which reduces leaching and running off of nitrates into soil.

You can also apply compost manure as mulch by spreading it around your lawn with your mulching kit to cover the soil and give it nutrients.

Plant a green manure crop that acts as a cover in your lawn

Green manure crops are cover crops that are planted to be turned underneath to increase the fertility of soil. They benefit the soil by increasing its water holding capacity and increasing nutrients such as nitrogen which actively contribute to the even growth in your lawn. Examples of these are clovers, alfalfa and borage among others.

Plant legumes that carry out nitrogen fixation

Planting legumes such as beans or peas in selected parts of your lawn would help with nitrogen fixation into the soil. These plants have a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria that allows them to convert nitrogen that is in the atmosphere into ammonium nitrate that is beneficial to the growth and development of your lawn making it dense and green.

Add coffee grounds directly into the soil in your lawn.

You can fix nitrogen deficiency by sprinkling used coffee grounds to the soil in your lawn. Additionally, you can mix used coffee ground with water, let it soak overnight and then spray or pour it into your lawn. With time, nitrogen will be released into your lawn and you grass will be healthy again.

Applying Non-Organic sources of Nitrogen to Soil

You can apply the inorganic sources of nitrogen to the soil through broadcast application for large areas with a drop spreader or a hand-rotary; top dress, base or foliar application depending on your need and preferred method of application. You would find non-organic sources of nitrogen in:

Chemical fertilizers

Chemical fertilizers add nitrogen to your lawn faster than organic sources so you are able to fix nitrogen deficiency quickly. The main factors that you should consider when wanting to add nitrogen into your lawn is the NPK ratio that reflects in the chemical fertilizer you purchase. The NPK ratio has a connotation of A-B-C where the digit represented by A is for the nitrogen content in the fertilizer and it should be higher than the rest. The instructions to guide your application process is found in each pack.

Weed and feed products

Pre-emergent herbicides are known to have herbicides and fertilizer. When you apply the fertilizer, it adds nitrogen into the soil and the pre-emergent herbicide are used to kill the weeds which in the long run gives you a healthy lawn. These often come with instructions on how to apply them on your lawn.

Step Three: Watering your Lawn

Following application of the fertilizer type you have used, ensure that your lawn gets enough water to keep the soil moisturized. Afterwards, you can clean up the sidewalks for excess fertilizer that may have spilled over.


The rates at which the various sources of nitrogen are released majorly depends on the thickness of coatings, temperatures, the use of your lawn and moisture. Lastly, when you apply nitrogen into your lawn through organic sources; they release nutrients into the soil for a longer period of time while when you apply soluble nitrogen into your lawn you improve the color of your turf, make it denser and boost growth of the grass over a short period of time.

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About the Author

Steve has been gardening for over 20 years now. He enjoys sharing his experiences with others.

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