When You Should Use Sugar on Your Lawn (and When You Shouldn’t)

Those who prefer to grow and maintain traditional lawns may love the look of the lush green grass surrounding their home, but they don’t necessarily want to use artificial fertilizers and other chemicals to keep it looking beautiful. And while some are turning to sand to improve soil drainage, others are using something sweeter: sugar.

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Here’s what you need to know about when adding sugar to your lawn can be beneficial, and when you shouldn’t.

When Sugar Can Benefit Your Lawn

As we discuss below, not every lawn will enjoy the benefits of sugar, but generally speaking, a sweet substance can help limit weed growth and break down thatch.

Sugar for weed control

Plants, including weeds, love nitrogen-rich soil. And as a carbon nutrient, sugar contains no nitrogen . So adding sugar to weeds growing in your lawn won’t kill them directly, but will make the soil they’re trying to grow in inhospitable. At this point, the grass will be in a better position to overtake invasive plant species .

Sugar for loosening straw

If you notice that your lawn has a layer of dead grass, leaves, and other materials, more commonly known as “straw”, you can use sugar to break it down. This allows new grass to grow and can make your lawn appear greener and less blotchy.

How to use sugar on the lawn

You can use any type of granulated or powdered sugar on your lawn and you will need one pound of sugar per 10.5 square feet of lawn . The easiest way to apply it evenly is to use a lawn spreader, but if you don’t have one, spray it by hand – take the time to make it as even as possible – works too. When you’ve finished spreading the sugar, water the lawn lightly.

There is also the option to create a molasses spray by mixing 1 ¾ cups of molasses with 10 gallons of water and applying it with a backpack or hand sprayer.

In any case, the best time to sweeten your lawn is the earliest time of the day when the lawn is dry (that is, after the morning dew has evaporated). And just like humans, it’s bad for the herb to get too much sugar, so limit the treatment to once a month.

The risks of applying sugar to the lawn

While sugar has its benefits, in some cases it can actually do more harm than good to your lawn. For example, if your lawn is surrounded by forest or generally prone to fungal growth , sugar will make things worse. Also, if you don’t water your lawn enough after adding sugar, it can attract insects and other critters looking for a bite to eat, making your lawn look worse than it was before the sugar was added.

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