Why You Should Start Spoon Feeding Your Lawn

Over at Golf Course Lawn Store, we’d like to share a secret with you. Spoon-feeding your lawn is a fertilization program that will help take your lawn to the next level. It improves growth consistency and color while using less inputs. It’s the method our resident lawn-care expert, Ron, uses to maintain his golf course lawn at a high level.

Golf Course Lawn Spoon Feeding

We’ll cover products, application rates, and how often to spoon-feed your lawn — including bonus tips on how to make the most of your applications. 

Related: Top Tips for Fertilizing Your Lawn: Choosing the Right Lawn Fertilizer


What Does Spoon Feeding Your Lawn Mean?

Using our lawn-care schedule, you’ll be applying fertilizer at least once a month — the type of fertilizer you use largely depends on the results of your soil test. If you’re ready to commit, there’s a more comprehensive way to feed your lawn. Spoon-feeding your lawn means applying fertilizer and other nutrients in smaller quantities several times per month instead of just once per month.

It makes sense if you think about it. Most people eat several small meals or snacks per day compared to one large meal because it’s easier for your body to digest and make use of the nutrition in smaller amounts. The same goes for your lawn. Spoon feeding takes a bit more work, but it produces better grass color, consistent growth, and overall healthier turf. 

Related: When Is the Best Time to Fertilize Your Lawn?


What Do I Need to Spoon Feed My Lawn?

To start spoon-feeding your lawn, you’ll need to use a combination of granular and liquid fertilizers. Granular lawn fertilizers are solid, pellet-like substances that are applied to the lawn using a spreader. They release nutrients slowly over time as the granules break down, providing a gradual and long-lasting food source to the grass.

On the other hand, liquid lawn fertilizers are in a liquid form and are typically applied using a backpack sprayer or hose attachment. They are quickly absorbed by the grass and provide a more immediate and concentrated nutrient boost but don’t provide extended feeding. 

In a spoon-feeding program, you’re essentially using a combination of granular and liquid fertilizers to get the best of both worlds. Here is one of our recommended combinations to spoon-feed your lawn:

Humic Max 16-0-8 — Lebanon Country Club Fertilizer

16-0-8 on lawn

Why Humic Max? It’s pretty simple. As lawn fertilizers go, this one’s hard to beat. You may already be familiar with it from your monthly applications. With its 16% nitrogen content, it promotes fast green-up while minimizing excessive growth. The inclusion of 8.9% humic acid enhances nutrient absorption and reduces environmental stress. Additionally, the 8% blend of SOP potassium supports plant health without causing soil salinity issues. Suitable for all grass types, its small granule size is ideal for long and short-cut grass.

Release 901C™ - Biostimulant with Fertilizer

Release 901C 2.5 gallon jug on lawn


Release 901C™ is a liquid fertilizer and biostimulant that enhances nutrient availability and uptake in plants. It contains 9% nitrogen and 1% potassium, providing essential macronutrients, organic compounds, and minerals to the plant through its leaves and root system. It is designed to improve soil quality during active growing months.

Release 901C™ offers several benefits, including promoting plant growth and health along with deeper root development. With its 10% liquid carbon content, this biostimulant and fertilizer combo boosts soil biology populations with micronutrients, protecting turf from heat and drought, while optimizing nutrient absorption. The 10% liquid carbon also improves soil water retention and acts as a catalyst for other turf maintenance products. Plus, it is safe for all grass types.

Why use this Combination?

Humic Max contains 8.9% humic acid, which feeds your lawn and improves soil quality at the same time. Humic acid is a natural organic compound found in decaying plant and animal matter. It aids lawn and plant growth by improving nutrient uptake and improves soil structure, moisture retention, and microbial activity, resulting in stronger roots and better nutrient absorption. The Release 901C formulation also contains biostimulants and micronized carbon to improve nutrient uptake. 

Working together, these two fertilizers can really give your lawn the boost it needs, little by little. Now, we’ll take a look at spoon-feeding application rates to get the most from this potent combination. 

Incorporate liquid carbon products with your fertilizer application for an even better result.

How to Spoon Feed Your Lawn

When spoon-feeding, your lawn receives a small boost of nutrients every two weeks. You’ll apply Humic Max once per month and Release 901C along with any liquid biostimulants and growth regulator every 2 weeks. Starting at the beginning of each month, apply Humic Max and Release 901C on the same day. 

Then 15 days later, you’ll spray only the liquid fertilizer combination again.

Humic Max Spoon-Feeding Application Rate

For Humic Max, apply at the lower rate: 3 lbs per 1000 sq. ft. You’ll need a broadcast spreader to do the job. If you’re using an Earthway spreader, use a setting of 13 - 14, which will allow you to distribute the fertilizer at the lower 3 lbs per 1000 sq. ft. rate. This application rate applies .48 lbs of nitrogen to your soil, which is approximately two-thirds of what most grasses need.

If you don’t have or use an Earthway, here are some common broadcast spreader settings to get you started: 

  • Echo Spreader Setting:  2.5

Lebanon Turf Scotts Spreader Settings:

  • Scotts AccuGreen 1000: 6
  • Scotts AccuGreen 3000: 6
  • Scotts EasyGreen: 27.5
  • ScottsEdgeGuard DLX: 3.5
  • Scotts Elite: 3.5
  • Scotts EdgeGuard Mini: 3.5
  • Scotts Speedy Green (1000, 2000, 3000): 4

Top Tip: If you're feeding a cool-season lawn during summer months, substitute Stress 12-0-24 for Humic Max using an application rate of 4 lbs per 1000 sq. ft.

Release 901C Spoon-Feeding Application Rate

Release 901C also needs to be applied at the lowest rate, using a 4-gallon back sprayer. Mix 12 fluid ounces of Release 901C with four gallons of water which provides 4000 sq. ft of coverage. This application rate feeds the grass with the equivalent of .10 lbs of nitrogen.

So, if we do some quick math, you’re applying approximately .70 lbs of nitrogen over the course of the month which is a great rate for most grass types.  Most of the lawn food comes from the granular fertilizer. The liquids provide consistent color and growth. In addition to lawn biostimulants, we also recommend adding Primo Maxx or Anuew EZ to the tank and spraying everything at the same time.


Related: Primo Maxx and Anuew EZ Split Application Rates


Spoon-Feeding Application Tips

We recommend that you wait until the following day to water-in Humic Max. For example, if you apply your spoon-feeding combination on a Saturday, you’ll want to wait until Sunday to water it in. This is because you need to give Release 901C and any other liquids you’ve mixed with it enough time to be fully absorbed by the turf. The liquids are absorbed by the grass leaves and need approximately 4 hours of dry weather after application to be fully absorbed.  

The best time of day to spray liquids on your lawn is in the early morning or late in the afternoon when the wind is at its lowest. This minimizes product drift and is good practice when spraying liquids.

Approximately 15 days later, in the middle of the month, you’ll need to do your second liquid fertilizer application. There is no need to water this application in. Simply spray it and allow the liquids to dry before re-entering the lawn.

Although these fertilizers are safe to use, we still recommend that you wear proper PPE when applying them, like protective gloves and eyewear. Also make sure your legs and arms are also covered. 

For help calculating the amount of Humic Max and Release 901C you'll need for your lawn, use our free lawn fertilization program calculator.

Good luck with your new spoon-feeding program, and enjoy cultivating a lawn that’ll make you the envy of your neighborhood. 

Browse our whole range of lawn fertilizers, specifically chosen to correct nutrient deficiencies in your lawn.