Spring Fertilizer: Step 1 to a Healthy Lawn


Applying IFA Step 1 Crabgrass & Spurge Preventer

As winter subsides and the excitement of spring warms up, we naturally begin to head outdoors more. Walks are nicer, flowers begin to bloom, and our lawn and garden becomes a priority.

With the latter in mind, it’s time to get a jump on the lawn – and all of your neighbor’s lawns – with an early spring green up. IFA Step 1 Crabgrass & Spurge Preventer provides your lawn with its first feeding, while also preventing most annual grassy and broadleaf weeds.

Formulated in the Intermountain West for the best results in our soil and climate, the first step in the IFA 4-Step Plus Lawn Care Program is a selective pre-emergence herbicide plus fertilizer. It provides control of crabgrass and most other weeds in established lawns and ornamental turf grasses.

IFA Step 1 stimulates vigorous lawn growth, while the non-staining iron helps achieve a richer, deeper green color. Apply it to your yard and enjoy a healthier, more attractive lawn in early spring.

Avoid applying to newly seeded lawns. When planting or overseeding your lawn, replace IFA Step 1 Crabgrass & Spurge Preventer with Alt. Step 1 Lawn & Pasture Fertilizer. Additional details below.

When to apply: FEB., MAR. OR APR.

Apply IFA Step 1 Crabgrass & Spurge Preventer in early spring; anytime between the beginning of February and the end of April.

How To Apply:

  1. Add IFA Step 1 Crabgrass & Spurge Preventer to spreader
  2. Set spreader (see recommendations below)
  3. Apply to a dry (non-wet) lawn
  4. Water in within 24 hours after application
  5. Apply only once and wait 4-6 weeks before applying IFA Step 2 Weed & Feed


Recommended Spreader Settings:

Before applying, consider the following settings: Scotts Elite Spreader, 8; Earthway EV-N-Spred, 18-1/2; IFA Spreader, 18-1/2; Scotts Whirl Hand Spreader, 5 (*apply over lawn twice); and Scotts Wizz Hand Spreader, 6 (*apply over lawn twice). Uniformly apply over your lawn and slightly overlap walking paths (especially with drop spreaders) to avoid lines.

As a general rule, open any spreader 1/4 inch and walk at a normal pace. If you walk at a faster pace, you’ll need to open up the spreader slightly more. Adjust any setting based on your preference and pace.

Spreader settings are approximate. Check your spreader for accuracy. The settings are based upon a rate of 3.3 lbs. per 1,000 square feet. For questions regarding any of our spreaders, please ask an employee at your local IFA Country Store.


How big is your yard?

Insert the width and length of your yard in the calculator to determine the overall square footage.

Square Footage Calculator


Plus, Bountiful Earth Humate

Who doesn’t want a healthier lawn? IFA Bountiful Earth Humate is a key ingredient in the IFA 4-Step Plus Lawn Care Program. It helps promote thatch decomposition, allowing water and fertilizer to more readily reach the root zone. When applied with IFA Step 1 Crabgrass & Spurge Preventer, your home lawn is darker and healthier by helping to improve the availability of iron and other trace materials.

Humate – an element derived from the ancient remains of decomposed organic plant materials – helps stimulate soil microbial life, helping to release vital nutrients that would otherwise be inaccessible to grass. Humate helps create thick, deep roots that hold nitrogen in the root zone, allowing your lawn to retain a longer lasting green color. It helps improve soil fertility and assists your lawn to use less water by increasing root vitality and depth, even in clay soils.

Apply 10 lbs. per 1,000 sq.ft. once in the spring and fall (along with IFA Step 4 Fall & Winter Fertilizer). Since humate cannot burn, applications exceeding this amount will only enhance the benefits listed above.

Humate helps grow more than lawns as well. It provides outstanding results when applied to vegetable gardens, flower gardens and landscapes too.

Alt. IFA Step 1 Lawn & Pasture Fertilizer

Are you looking to green up your home lawn and pasture? The IFA Step 1 Lawn & Pasture Fertilizer is an alternate option to our Step 1 Crabgrass & Spurge Preventer. This high nitrogen fertilizer provides a long-lasting green and jumpstarts growth, all without preemergent herbicide.

Use IFA Step 1 Lawn & Pasture Fertilizer when you’re planting new grass seed or overseeding a lawn in place of Step 1 Crabgrass & Spurge Preventer. The latter will inhibit lawn seed germination. IFA 16-16-8 Premium Garden Fertilizer is also a good lawn alternative when you’ve planted new grass seed.

On lawns, apply 3.3 lbs. per 1,000 sq.ft. in the spring between February and April at 4 to 6 week intervals for the best results. Apply in dry conditions and water in soon after application.

On all pastures, apply 100 lbs. to 150 lbs. per acre (2.25 lbs. to 3.5 lbs. per 1,000 sq.ft.) in dry conditions for an early green up between March and April. Apply a second time near the end of June. Water in within 48 hours after each application. Remove your horses from the pasture prior to application. Re-introduce your horses into the pasture after the nitrogen pellets have completely dissolved with at least 1/2 inch of irrigation or rainfall.

Spring Lawn Aeration

It’s good to aerate your lawn if you have compacted, poor or clay-heavy soil. However, due to the increased spread of Necrotic Ring Spot (NRS) in parts of our region, we recommend not using a mechanical aerator. Fungus spores can easily transfer from yard-to-yard after the equipment is contaminated. Contact your local county extension agent to determine if NRS is a problem in your area.

Consider applying a quick release Gypsum (CAL-CM) or IFA Bountiful Earth Humate to your lawn as an alternative. Each is an organic, non-mechanical lawn aeration option between early spring and the beginning of summer. Especially when your lawn is having water or air penetration challenges.

Information for this article was provided by Tyler Stinson, Branch Manager, American Fork IFA Country Store; and Ken Holt, Lawn & Garden Category Manager, IFA Country Store.