What is the best fertilizer for your lawn?

 In Lawn Care

With springtime finally here—and all the spring showers and the sunshine—it is important to take advantage of this change of season by fertilizing your lawn. This extra step in your lawn care will be sure to give your lawn a vibrant and long-lasting season. Below is some basic information that can work wonders for your lawn this spring.

Fertilizer Components NPK

  • Most fertilizers are made up of three main ingredients: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). These three nutrients can vary in their ratios depending on the needs of the soil or plants that you are fertilizing, but all are helpful.
  • Nitrogen is naturally released from decaying plants and helps new plants grow into a healthy, lush color. Because lawns rarely have much turnover, and thus less decaying plant material, the soil can sometimes be deficient. Adding nitrogen by way of fertilizer can help remedy this.
  • Phosphorous helps aid cell division and promotes energy transformation. By converting available energy from the soil into usable energy in the plant, the grass is able to grow more rapidly and steadily.
  • Potassium aids in the overall health of the grass, making it more durable against difficult conditions. The combination of the three makes your grass especially healthy

Identify Your Grass Type

Not all grass types require the same nutrients or conditions. Instead of breaking down each grass type in existence, which can be exhausting, let’s break it down into two simple categories: seasons.

  • Warm season grasses

Warm season grasses grow a lot more vigorously throughout the year than cool season grasses, thus requiring more attention. Because there are constant growth and renewal of cells, you want to be sure to fertilize it accordingly. For these kinds of grasses, use a fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen and use about 3 to 4 lbs. per 1000 square feet of lawn each year.

  • Cool season grasses

Cool season grasses aren’t continuously growing like the warmer season grasses, so they require about half as much fertilizer. For every 1,000 square feet of lawn, it requires about 1-2 lbs. of fertilizer each year.

How to Fertilize

Fertilization techniques vary depending on the size of your lawn and your own preferences. There are some types of devices that help with larger lawns (greater than 5,000 square feet) such as a rotary spreader, which sprays the fertilizer in a wider radius than you could do by hand.

A drop spreader, however, is excellent for smaller lawns as it works efficiently and is more affordable. Aeration also helps the fertilizer do its job by opening the soil to oxygen and nutrients. This doesn’t need to be costly or even timely, though. You can easily aerate your lawn with a pitchfork once a year prior to fertilization.

Fertilizer Timing and Frequency

As noted above, the type of grass can help determine the frequency of fertilization. Even so, the two best times to fertilize are in early summer and again in early fall. By fertilizing in early summer you are helping to prepare your lawn for the harsher conditions ahead while also taking advantage of the spring conditions that are still present. Then by repeating the process in fall you are helping your lawn recover from summer and also to survive the winter.

Types of Fertilizers

There are lots of different types of fertilizers to choose from, but if you know the basics it can be simple.

  • A liquid fertilizer is a quick and dirty process, absorbing quickly into the soil and working quickly as well.
  • A granular fertilizer works more slowly but is easier to control and lasts longer.
  • Organic fertilizers are perfect for low-maintenance gardeners because they break down slowly and work for longer periods.
  • Weed and Feed can be helpful to prevent weeds while also encouraging growth.
  • Quick greening fertilizers, however, are specifically abundant in nitrogen in order to promote a vibrant color.
  • Fertilizers that control moss and fungus should only be used if moss and fungus are a problem for you. The same goes for if you have an insect infestation, a lawn insect controller will help.
  • Lastly, and on the opposite end, fertilizers that kill weeds and grass can be helpful for the areas that you want to keep bare.

While strolling through the lawn care aisles can be overwhelming initially, this guide can help you decode the lawn care language. If you would like professional lawn care to assist in keeping your lawn in tip top shape, contact us for a free consultation or just for some advice.

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