If you want your lawn to look healthy and green, it is essential that you fertilize your lawn. Fertilizing is one of the most important factors that affect the growth of your lawn. Proper fertilizing provides color and growth to your lawn grass and also helps it to grow thick.
Let us take a look at the main constituents of fertilizers. Standard fertilizer contains nitrogen, phosphate and potash. Fertilizing involve the administration of all these constituents but in different amounts. Most lawns would need nitrogen in the maximum amount as it helps in fast growth, gives the grasses darker color and also thickens the grasses. However, you cannot neglect the administration of phosphate and potash.
A deficient in phosphate and potash coupled with high dose of nitrogen will result in too much top growth. This can cause insufficient root growth and reduce nutrient storage capacity. A balanced fertilizing program would include all the three constituents in proper amount and micro-nutrients that you lawn need. Micro-nutrients are minerals like iron, manganese, boron, zinc, etc. They are not required in large quantity but they are necessary for healthy grass growth. Your lawn soil should already have some of the micro-nutrients but the quantity may not be enough for healthy grass growth. You would have to provide those micro-nutrients that the soil is deficient in.
In order to know how much nitrogen, phosphate, potash and micronutrients to administer to your lawn, you need to get a soil test done. You can buy a soil test kit from your favorite nursery or send a soil sample to a laboratory for analysis. The latter is of course more accurate and provides more information about your lawn soil. The downside is that the cost is considerably higher than using a DIY soil test kit.
When you have received the report of the soil test from the lab, you will know the correct amount of nitrogen, phosphate, potash and micronutrients that your lawn need. The report will likely include suggestion about fertilizing schedule too. Do not apply the fertilizers in excess of the suggested amount. Doing so will likely cause very good top growth but poor development of the root system. In addition, the excess fertilizers might also cause ecological problems. Excess fertilizers may contaminate nearby lakes or streams due to runoff problem and that might ultimately harm the entire ecosystem.
In general, the best time to fertilize your lawn is about thirty days before the growing season. Then you should go on fertilizing after every sixty days or so throughout the growing season. That would help your lawn grass to grow thick and healthy. Once you have a strong and green lawn, you will discover another side benefit. The amount of weeds present in your lawn will wither. Simply put, the stronger your lawn grass is, the stronger is its resistance against weeds. Thus, proper fertilizing is an effective good way to control weed growth.
Fertilizing require a little planning and some effort to implement it. However, the result is definitely worth the effort. Start giving the nutrients that your lawn need today. The best lawn fertilizer for a given lawn depends on several factors. You need to know about soil condition, types of grasses, and your maintenance goals to pick the best lawn fertilizer for your needs.
Let’s find out more about these factors for making your fertilizer selection.
1. Learn about your soil condition
Your soil in your yard may be deficient in several key nutrients for a healthy yard. You can get soil testers at garden supply stores. One of the basic measurements is acid or alkaline levels. These affect your soil pH level. Nutrients that can make a big impact on the health of your lawn include nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, iron, zinc and sulfur.
2. Learn what your grass needs
For a healthy lawn, both cool season and warm season grasses need a balanced portion of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. These three nutrients work together to keep the grass at its peak growth. Specific grasses may need more of particular nutrients, check with your garden supply store or a lawn and garden guide for the needs of your specific grass type.
3. Look for a fertilizer that offers a combination of nutrients
When you go to the garden supply store, you will see a wide variety of fertilizers that are specially formulated for different plants and grasses. On each bag is a nutrient analysis that can help you in your selection. You will often also see a set of three numbers on the bag, like 21-7-4. These numbers correspond to the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in the mixture. Nitrogen is the nutrient which provides the biggest impact to your lawn, it supports both greening and growth factors. Phosphorous helps with the root system development. Potassium helps your lawn resist disease.
4. Decide what type of fertilizer you want
Most fertilizers on the market today are synthetic fertilizers. These are created by a chemical process, and are often easier to apply that to the types of fertilizers. Organic fertilizers get their nutrients from sources that were once alive, such as manures or fish emulsion. These sources help to build up the soil, but can be slow acting in cool weather. Timed release fertilizers have coatings on the granules which dictate how quickly they can release their nutrients. The advantage of this type is you get a long lasting feed to your lawn. The disadvantage is that you could be getting some nutrients delivered at times that don’t support the growth cycle of your grass.
Combination fertilizers add bug killer or weed killer to the mix, allowing you to address multiple lawn issues. This can be a big convenience to you if you are addressing multiple issues in your lawn maintenance. Lawn fertilizing is not rocket science but does need a little background knowledge to be done properly. There are a few tips that can aid the homeowner in completing this task with little to no effort. These tips may help in achieving the perfect lawn that you have always wanted.
A little background information on the lawn goes a long way in making sure that the lawn gets what it needs, when it needs it. A simple soil test along with a pH test can help the homeowner to determine what the yard is lacking. This can help the homeowner get the right fertilizer for the yard and apply it properly.
The best results will be achieved by adding only what the lawn actually needs instead of adding unnecessary chemicals. On the average, a low nitrogen fertilizer is preferred when feeding any lawn. Use a slow release formula to avoid the fertilizer burning patches in the lawn and getting an even feed across the whole yard.
Apply the fertilizer at least two times a year, the spring and the fall. The states with a shorter growing season can get by with this and gain some great results. Those with a longer growing season, will need two applications in the spring and two in the fall. Be sure that if a spill should occur that it is cleaned up immediately using a dry method such as a broom or vacuum. If stray fertilizer is washed into a stream or drain, it can affect the water supply. This can spell disaster for the entire community.
Use a spreader to ensure even application of the fertilizer. Spreaders come in different versions, including hand-held and pushable, and they can be purchased online or at a garden center. The last point to note is to avoid applying fertilizer within 24 hours of anticipated rain and avoid heavy watering for 24 hours after application. The lawn fertilizing steps above provide the path to a beautiful lawn without wasted time and effort. You can enjoy walking on the soft surface of your lawn as well its power to keep the air clean if you fertilize your lawn on time and that too with the correct formulas. You should fertilize your lawn annually as the lawn is a growing investment. Fertilization will always keep it in good health.
For lawn fertilization, you will require:
· dust masks
· lawn sprinklers
· lawn fertilizers
· gardening gloves
· garden hoses
· broadcast spreader
Fertilization should be timed so as to meet the needs of the lawn. Allow the lawn to become green if you know how to have a green lawn. Mow it a couple of times. Then apply the food formula on the lawn in spring. Go for organic grass fertilizers that are suitable for your kind of grass. Any organic lawn service centre will provide you with such kinds of lawn products as per the types of grass. Such lawn services also offer products for weed control for getting rid of crabgrass or any other weed. They provide the best products for grass care.
When buying a lawn fertilizer, make sure and read the label to see if it lists the grass that you’re growing. Also make sure of the frequency of use. Use “starter” or “new lawn” formulas for the seeds, sods and sprigged lawns that are less than 2 years of age as they will deliver thickening effect in the initial seasons.
For older lawns, use granular, slow release complete fertilizers as they are known to supply nutrients consistently during the fastest growth periods of the lawn.
Do not go for fertilizers that only have a single ingredient like potassium or nitrogen unless you have tested the soil and the ingredients are needed. Buy or borrow a fertilizer spreader. Make sure that you know how it is calibrated for the preferred granular food of the lawn. Walk a little away from the spreader. Do not run. Cover each and every part of the lawn just once. Water soluble food for the lawn will not last for a long time in the soil.
Follow the directions on the label regarding re-application. Spray it cautiously. Do not overfeed. During the course of the growing season, fertilize once at least. During early fall, apply winter formulas in case it has been recommended for the lawn. You do not have worry in case you forget as experts say that once in a year, as and when you remember, is enough for an established lawn.
You have to keep the following points in mind while fertilizing a lawn.
· Do not fertilize an extremely dry lawn as it will burn out the stressed lawn.
· Do not use agricultural products on true lawn grasses. Apply products of weed control
· Do not use them in combination.
· Wear gloves whenever you handle pesticides and fertilizers.
· Wear a dust mask so that you do not inhale the dust.
Advantages of Using Organic Lawn Fertilizers
For gardeners who have been using synthetic lawn fertilizers since they first began to care for their lawn, the concept of taking care of their lawn in a different way may seem foreign. But as more and more homeowners learn more about the types of chemicals used in their everyday lawn products, many are choosing to take a different path. They’re choosing to go organic.
There are many reasons why you might think about using organic lawn fertilizers. Number one is that they are often cheaper than the synthetic store bought fertilizers. In fact, if you have the yard space, you can easily make your own. Once you make the initial investment of composting tools, you rarely have to purchase anything else for your fertilizer needs.
Secondly, to grow, your lawn needs good food. Many people believe that since synthetic fertilizers have been tested in a lab that they are necessarily the best. But, in reality, some of the best food sources for your lawn come from organic foods such as manure, blood meal, and other completely natural sources. These foods are loaded with nitrogen that can be easily digested by your grass. Organic fertilizers release nitrogen at a slow, steady pace and over a longer period of time. On the other hand, many of the water soluble synthetic fertilizers, although they will reach the plant roots immediately, tend to dissipate quicker into the lower soil layers, meaning that you will have to feed them more often.
Third, many people are genuine concerned about their effects on the land. They believe that they are responsible for leaving the land to their offspring as well or better than they found it. They believe that the use of chemicals has a negative effect on the land itself, possibly poisoning it for both current and future generations. They take their stewardship of the land seriously and feel that using synthetic chemicals violates their responsibility to the land.
And lastly, there’s the whole safety issue. Many people believe, with some justification, that the synthetic foods that we so blithely put on our lawns are poisons. The reasoning goes, if they aren’t poisons, then how can they kill all of the “bad” insects that they are so efficient at eliminating. And, if they are poisons, how can they possibly not affect us as well? For these people – using synthetic fertilizers is a risk that they’re not willing to take with the health of their children or their pets.
For most people, the biggest drawback to using organic fertilizers is usually the smell. However, even that’s not a problem if you use one of the many dehydrated organic fertilizers that are on the market today. It’s true that no matter how many benefits one may give for using organic fertilizers, some people have very strong opinions and will never change their ways. If, however, you are on the fence, do something different this summer and try organics. You may decide that it’s not as bad as you thought.
Different Types of Lawn Fertilizers
Your lawn is made up of thousands and thousands of tiny little plants that group together closely to shape patches of grass. Plants need fertilizer to grow healthy and balanced. We know we must fertilize our garden and house plants, but often, the lawn is not considered.
A green lawn requires food to grow and thrive. Fertilizer is any substance providing one of these vital plant nutrients. Most basic turf grass fertilizers consist of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, yet they may at the same time contain other essential mineral elements for turf grass growth. Fertilizers do far more than help make your lawn green, they also help the grass grow at the same time, but there’s a little more that’s involved. Fertilizer should help grass seed emerge a lot quicker and rise out of the earth. As soon as the plants have established themselves, fertilizer will make the grass plumper and much healthier.
The most common questions asked by home-owners regarding fertilizers is how much they should apply, and when. Generally speaking, most lawns will want four applications of fertilizer per year. Disperse fertilizing out sixty days apart beginning in spring approximately one month before the growing season will begin in your region. Continue fertilization through the growing season until mid-fall. Spring fertilizing gets the grass off to a fast start giving you that rich green color everyone wants. As in watering, it is best to steer clear of using excessive fertilizer. General pointers should be included on the bag. Too much fertilizer will result in excess growth, lead to fungus growth and damage, and weaken the grass.