How Often To Fertilize A Lawn
The recommended frequency for fertilizing your lawn can be anywhere between 5-6 times per year. It would be better to fertilize your grass when its growth rate is at its peak.
However, it would help consider other factors such as the prevailing climatic conditions and the season for better results.
Kind Of Fertilizer To Use
A complete fertilizer, such as 16-4-8, 12-6-6 or 12-4-8, is generally recommended, unless the soil test reveals that phosphorus and potassium are adequate.
Two kinds of fertilizers are available: fast-release and slow-release. Fast-release or water-soluble fertilizers are less expensive than slow-release products, which release nitrogen over an extended period however, the nutrients in a fast-release fertilizer may leach quickly through the soil. In sandy, well-drained soils, the soluble fertilizer may move past the root system after only a few inches of rainfall or irrigation. In fine-textured clay soils, leaching will be slower, but runoff may be greater.
Slow- or controlled-release fertilizers have extended release periods compared to fast-release fertilizers whose nitrogen is water-soluble and readily available to the plants. The nitrogen in slow-release fertilizers may be sulfur-coated or a form such as IBDU or urea-formaldehyde. One-half or more of the total amount of nitrogen in controlled-release fertilizers should be water insoluble or slow-release nitrogen. For newly planted shrubs and trees, or in areas where the potential for runoff is very high, such as slopes or compacted soil, slow-release fertilizers are a good choice. Since the nutrients are released slowly, the potential for fertilizer damage and water contamination is less.
Calibrate Your Fertilizer Equipment
Calibrate or test your spreader equipment each spring to ensure it is operating properly. Dont rely only on the manufacturer settings provided on the fertilizer bag. How fast you walk affects the amount of fertilizer applied from a push spreader.
1. Spread out the sheet of plastic on a flat surface outdoors, perhaps your driveway.2. Use the tape measure to measure the length and width of the plastic surface.3. Determine the square footage of this surface by multiplying the length times the width. Example: 20 x 30 sheet = 600 square feet.4. Fill the spreaders hopper with fertilizer.5. Many fertilizer bags will indicate what setting to use for a particular brand of spreader. Use this as the starting setting. If unknown, select a setting near the middle of its range.6. Weigh the empty container. This will be the tare weight. Example: 2oz.7. Begin applying the fertilizer over the plastic sheet walking at your normal rate.8. When the entire area of the plastic has been covered, stop, carefully gather all the fertilizer from the sheet and place it in the empty container.9. Weigh this container. Record the weight and subtract the tare weight from this figure. The net result is the amount of fertilizer applied to that square footage. Is the amount of fertilizer collected the correct amount for this size area? If not, change the setting and redo the steps.
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Your Lawn Should Be Fertilized Multiple Times During The Year
Just like you, your lawn needs regular helpings of nutritious fertilizer to stay strong and perform its best. Well-timed fertilizer applications not only feed your grass to help it grow thick and lush, but also give weeds less room to grow. Ideally, you should fertilize your lawn with the right Scotts® Turf Builder® lawn food for your grass type 4 times a year: in early spring, late spring, summer, and fall. Feedings should be spaced 6 to 8 weeks apart.
To save you time, you can choose products that conquer all of your lawn issues in one fell swoop. Choose a Scotts® Turf Builder® weed-and-feed formula, for example, if weeds are a problem in your lawn. If you have thin, weak grass, Scotts® Turf Builder® ThickR Lawn, a seed-and-feed product, can be applied easily with a spreader to thicken existing turf and fill in gaps with new grass, all while it fertilizes. The best way to conquer obvious bare patches in your lawn, though, is with a more targeted seed-and-feed product: Scotts® EZ Seed® Patch & Repair, which combines high-performance seed with absorbent growing material and continuous-release lawn fertilizer.
With any fertilizer, its important to read the entire label and follow all directions.
Wait A Few Hours To Water
Dont water your lawn immediately after spraying liquid fertilizer. The water will wash the fertilizer off your grass before it has a chance to soak into the soil.
Give the fertilizer time to dry, which should take about two to four hours. Once the lawn seems mostly dry, water thoroughly to help your grass absorb the nutrients in the fertilizer.
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Not All N’s Are The Same
Nitrogen is nitrogen, but where it comes from and how it gets on your lawn can make a big difference. That difference is all about how it’s distributed and how quickly it’s released. Bargain and low-cost lawn fertilizers contain mostly fast-release nitrogen, which green up your lawn for about 7-14 days, and then the color fades away. Scotts® lawn fertilizers use a mix of fast- and slow-release nitrogen to help your lawn stay consistently green for 6-8 weeks.
How To Calculate The Amount Of Fertilizer Needed For Your Lawn
- Joseph Heckman, Extension Specialist in Soil Fertility
Fertilizer recommendations for lawns are usually given in pounds of nitrogen to be applied per 1,000 square feet. Home gardeners sometimes have difficulty converting these recommendations to the amounts needed for their selected grade of nitrogen fertilizer and their lawn size. This fact sheet provides conversion tables and examples showing you how to calculate the amount of fertilizer needed for your lawn.
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The Roles Of N P And K
Nitrogen greens up your lawn and helps it grow. Phosphorus stimulates root growth and helps seeds sprout. Potassium helps grass withstand stresses like disease and drought. That’s why Scotts® Turf Builder® Starter® Food for New Grass contains phosphorus: It helps small seedlings establish a good root system. Once these roots are developed, though, they can access the phosphorus found naturally in most soils, which is why you wont find it added to Scotts® Turf Builder® products that arent for new grass.
Safety Considerations When Applying Weed And Feed
Before applying weed and feed, there are some safety considerations to consider. Some weed and feed products can be dangerous, and we need to take the right kind of safety precautions to keep our family and pets safe.
- Make sure that you wear long-sleeve gloves and long pants when you are applying the weed and feed. Some weed and feed products have herbicides like 2, 4-D, MCCP, and Dicamba, which can cause severe skin irritation and inflammation.
- Ensure to wear goggles when applying the weed and feed, as dust particles that come into contact with your eyes can lead to eye irritation. If this happens, flush your eye out with water for 15 minutes and seek medical advice.
- Always lock up the weed and feed when youre not using it. It is vital not to leave it open or anywhere near pets or small children. Ingesting weed and feed can lead to death if its not treated immediately. If it does get accidentally ingested, please call the nearest medical center, 911, or poison control center.
- Keep pets and small children off the lawn until the first heavy rainfall after applying weed and feed. Before allowing them back onto the lawn, please inspect it to ensure that all product granules are fully dissolved and no one can come into direct contact with the weed and feed.
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How Much Fertilizer Do I Need For My Lawn
Lawn needs are usually based on nitrogen needs and vary from 1 to 6 pounds needed per 1,000 square feet per year. Specific amounts depend on the type of grass. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn usually reduces this number by 1 pound.
Fertilizer recommendations for lawns are usually given in pounds of nitrogen to be applied per 1,000 square feet.Example 1.
|% Nitrogen Listed on Fertilizer Bag||Pounds of Fertilizer to Apply to 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn to Achieve 1 lb.of nitrogen per 1,000 sq.ft.|
How To Apply Lawn Fertilizer
There are several ways to apply lawn fertilizer. Using a spreader provides more even coverage than fertilizing by hand. Hand fertilizing often results in burns where the fertilizer is concentrated and pale areas that dont get as much fertilizer as they should.
Broadcast or rotary spreaders are easy to use and dont cause striping like drop spreaders. The advantage to drop spreaders is that there is no chance of overthrow getting fertilizer on streets, sidewalks, or driveways. With a drop spreader, you have to make two trips over the lawn at right angles. For example, if you make your first trip over the lawn in a north-south direction, the second trip should run east to west.
After applying the fertilizer, water the lawn thoroughly. Watering rinses the fertilizer off the grass blades so that they wont burn, and it allows the fertilizer to sink down into the soil so it can get to work. Keep kids and pets off the lawn for the amount of time recommended on the label, which is usually 24 to 48 hours.
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Fertilizing At The Wrong Time
“Many homeowners don’t follow a lawn fertilizer schedule. They fertilize when they think their lawn needs it, when they have time or when the stuff is on sale.
Here’s when to fertilize lawn: If your lawn fertilizer schedule is once per year, apply it around Labor Day. Thats when your lawn is the hungriest and when it will respond best to the nutrients it receives. Fertilizing at this time will help replenish food reserves after a long, stressful year of growing and before the harshness of winter sets in.
If your lawn fertilizer schedule is twice per year, apply the second application about the middle of October. This acts like a second helping of much-needed food going into winter. A third application can be added in mid to late spring and can be combined with your crabgrass preventer. A fourth application, if you feel the need, can be added mid-summer. Watch the weather when applying midsummer fertilizers. Fertilizing during hot, humid weather can harm your lawn. An exception would be using an organic fertilizer. They are much more lawn friendly during the dog days of summer.
In the spring, apply just enough fertilizer to help green up your lawn. About half the normal amount will do. Even without fertilizer, your lawn naturally grows quickly as soon as temperatures become consistently higher. Have you ever noticed that grass grows fastest in the late spring and early summer? Why promote even more growth at this time by fertilizing?
How Often Should You Apply Fertilizer To Your Lawn
Like anything, moderation is key when applying fertilizer to your lawn.
You want to achieve the recommended amount of nitrogen per square feet yet over the course of the year. That could be once a year in a reduced amount to keep it in good condition, or four times a year to create a lush, healthier lawn.
The timing is also crucial as you want to fertilize your lawn during the period it needs to be fed the most.
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How To Use Fertilizer In Your Garden
How to Use Fertilizer in Your Garden
Sprinkle, spray, dig in to the soil youve probably caught on that theres more than one way to feed your plants.When moisture is added it breaks the particles down so the plant can absorb the nutrients.So whether your plant needs granulated fertilizer, water-soluble fertlizer or compost, each type of feeding has options when it comes to how its applied.Some kinds release quickly if your plants need a fast fix others are slow-release for a gentle, long-term feeding.A granulated fertilizer always needs moisture to break it down before plants can use the nutrients.In flower beds and borders, broadcast granulated fertilizer by hand and then scratch it into the soil.Liquid or water-soluble fertilizer can be diluted to adjust the strength as you mix it.Both give a gentle, steady feeding that wont burn your plants.Its hard to produce enough to do a large garden so you may need to purchase larger quantities. .
Determine How Much Nitrogen Is In The Fertilizer
After determining the lawn area, you should ascertain the Nitrogen composition in your fertilizer and the amount needed for every 1000 sq. feet.
This step should not be difficult because you can quickly point out the percentage composition of Nitrogen in a given bag by checking the Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium formulation formulation on the bag containing the fertilizer.
Note that most lawn fertilizers have a high composition of Nitrogen. A label reading as 20-5-10 has 20 percent N, so 100 lb. of that fertilizer contains 20 lb. of N.
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How Much Nitrogen Does My Lawn Need
Before applying more fertilizer on your soil, be sure to do a soil test. A soil test will reveal the elements that are deficient and hence, the right quantity required to remedy it. That being said, the amount of nitrogen that your lawn needs depend first on the results of your soil test.
Then, its also necessary to point out that your lawn size also determines the overall quantity of what will be needed. But as a rule of thumb, your lawn needs no more than one pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet.
What this means is that if you have a 20-04-10 bag of fertilizer, you should apply no more than five pounds over every 1000 square feet. To promote vigorous growth, you could make it as much as two to four applications. Just make sure it doesnt exceed the one pound of nitrogen rule per 1000 square feet.
Can You Over Fertilise Your Lawn
There are some out there who wouldnt dream of fertilising their lawn very often or even at all, because it could lead to more mowing! But can you over fertilise your lawn?
For others theres no such thing as too much of a good thing, right? Well when it comes to our lawns some of us can get a bit carried away with more is more and it can come at the detriment of your lawns health.
Fertilising your lawn is an important part of lawn care though and shouldnt be avoided.
Why should you fertilise your lawns?
We need to fertilise our lawns because there is usually a lack of the required nutrients it needs within the soil. We need to supplement the existing nutrient levels, so we can achieve a balance of all the nutrients your lawn needs to stay in top shape.
What happens when you over fertilise your lawn?
Over fertilising your lawn will cause sudden plant growth, particularly leaf growth and thatch. The problem with this is that the roots wont experience the same amount of rapid growth and will then be unable to supply the amount of water and nutrient that your grass needs. As fertiliser is primarily made up of mineral salts, excessive fertilising will cause salts to build up in the soil making it difficult for water to be absorbed, which dries out your grass causing discolouration and possibly even plant death if bad enough.
Signs you may have over fertilised your lawn
How to fix an over fertilised lawn
How to not over fertilise your lawn
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Is Triple 16 Good For Lawns
Triple 16 fertilizer is a general purpose fertilizer for use on most shrubs, trees, lawns, flowers and vegetables. It contains a fast acting form of nitrogen which plants use, even in cool weather, to help develop a rich green color. This triple 16 fertilizer is especially effective on clay, sand and peat.
What Is A Good Starter Fertilizer For Grass Seed And Sod
Starter fertilizers for lawns come in different compositions of the primary nutrients nitrogen , phosphorous and potassium , or the three numbers listed on the package . The numbers list the percentage of each nutrient contained in the starter fertilizer for grass. For example, a fertilizer ratio of 10-10-10 contains 10 percent of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.
When it comes to the specific job of each of these primary nutrients in regards to the health of your turf:
- Nitrogen: Is required for satisfactory growth and green coloration.
- Phosphorous: Plays an important role in various growth processes including good root development.
- Potassium: Promotes good disease resistance, tolerance of drought and winter hardiness in turfgrass.
Some examples of the formulations of common starter fertilizers for lawns are 10-10-10, 20-10-10 and 16-8-8. Penn State Extension notes that analyses of 15-10-10 or 10-6-4 are also acceptable used as starter fertilizers for grass, as they also promote good early growth and grass development.
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Why Apply Liquid Fertilizer
The choice between a granular and liquid fertilizer tends to come down to the type of nutrients being delivered to your lawn. When you select a liquid fertilizer, its usually made to be absorbed by the plants leaves, like nitrogen and iron, to help with chlorophyll production and blade growth. In liquid form, the nutrients are immediately available for use by the plant.
Granular and other solid fertilizers, like compost, will take weeks or months to break down and be fully released. This means you can generally apply fertilizer only once per season, whereas liquid fertilizer can be applied more frequently. However, it cant be applied in too large of amounts at once. Too much liquid fertilizer can burn the grass since the plant absorbs too much and becomes dehydrated from the salt-based nutrients.