What kind of fertilizer? If you are using the ferts with a lot of chemical nitrogen then there should be info on the bag about what setting to use on the spreader. Spreading it when the grass is wet and then watering it in immediately will reduce the chance of burning significantly.
I ask what type of fert u are using because the organics or 'quasi organics' with natural sources of protein/nitrogen don't have this problem. I have intentionally over fertilized with them in the past after getting several 50 pound bags of nice organic fert cheaply on sale. Too much of that will result in nasty odors but worst case you spray with a little molasses and the odor goes away quickly.
An example of a good one for the Lawn is Milorganite - more Iron than Ironite and it is made from sewage sludge... you can't burn with it but you will get that nice deep green color.
If you are using the chemical variety with ammonium nitrate (little white bb sized balls usually) that will burn if you don't water well before and after.
As far as your Algebra question: If a fertilizer has a nitrogen percentage listed as say, 25% and you are supposed to get one pound of nitrogen applied per 1000 sf, then how many pounds of fert per 1000sf?
.25X=1 , X = 1/.25 = 4 pounds of fertilizer Your formula would tell you to use a 1/4 pound per thousand sf, giving you 1/16th pound of Nitrogen.
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