How To Pick The Right Fertilizer For Your Lawn
Knowing how to pick the right fertilizer for your lawn is the first step towards a lush and green lawn. Youâll need more than just a good lawn mower to keep a well-maintained and attractive lawn outside your business premises, though a good lawn mower and lawn care specialist always helps.
Without proper fertilization, and without overseeding and other specialist lawn care tricks, your turf can quickly become patchy, brown, and unhealthy. And, without a good fertilizer, your lawn also becomes more vulnerable to pests and fungi.
At Earth Development, we provide comprehensive commercial lawn maintenance and landscaping services. We also provide a wealth of information to readers right here on our website, so in this piece, we will explore the best type of fertilizer for lawns, how you can choose the right one, and other steps you can take to ensure your lawn stays healthy.
Why You Should Fertilize Your Lawn
So lets start with the basics: Why is fertilizing your lawn important?
All plants need basic nutrients to thrive. Grass is no different. Making sure your lawn has enough nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous is important. While potassium and phosphorous are relatively stable and can be found in most soils, nitrogen can be washed away easily in rain and groundwater.
Fertilizing your lawn helps you guarantee that you;have enough nitrogen for your grass choice to thrive. Choosing a;high-quality fertilizer;will keep your lawn green and luxurious throughout the warm months.
The Second Number Represents The Percentage Of Phosphorus
Phosphorus is critical in developing and strengthening a healthy root system of turfgrass. If only nitrogen is applied to the lawn, the grass will be nice and green, but as watering or a drought hits the grass will be greatly impacted. Having strong roots in your grass will keep your lawn healthy through the changing weather and stresses of the seasons.
Phosphorus or P is a primary plant nutrient that is involved in the metabolic processes responsible for transferring energy throughout the plant. Its crucial to introduce phosphorus when first establishing turfgrass and continue application as the grass grows. An abundance of phosphorus allows plants to grow more efficiently.
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The First Number Listed Represents The Percentage Of Nitrogen In The Bag
Nitrogen helps your grass to appear green, lush and thick. Nitrogen aids in the creation of chlorophyll, which is responsible for producing the green pigment in the grass and is the compound by which plants use sunlight to produce sugars from carbon dioxide and water.
Nitrogen or N stimulates new root growth. Many early spring fertilizers will have a higher Nitrogen level to give the lawn a kick and get it growing early. It can help turf recover from environmental stresses and injury. An application of nitrogen in the spring, and then timely spreading throughout the growing season will help fortify turf to better withstand environmental stresses such as heat and insects.
Understanding When To Apply Fertilizer
I recommend fertilizing your lawn four times annually with an organic, slow-release lawn fertilizer.
Your first application of fertilizer is best applied early in the season when grass has just started to grow.
This gives your grass a boost of nutrients early to help it take root and green up very quickly. When applied with a good pre-emergent herbicide , you allow your lawn to crowd out annual weeds every single year.
The rule of thumb is to apply your first batch of fertilizer when your soil hits 55-degrees Fahrenheit.
Usually, you can tell when the soil reaches temperature when lilacs bloom and grasses begin to sprout.
For more assurance, you can get a lawn thermometer at your hardware store or garden center, or you can buy one online .
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Ifa 4plus Lawn Care Fertilizer Program
The IFA 4Plus Lawn Care program is locally formulated and specifically designed to help produce the best results in the Intermountain West. With two of our four applications, we also use Omnicote Technology that allows micronutrients such as Zinc, Iron, and Manganese to coat every pellet of fertilizer and thus getting an even nutrient distribution on the lawn. These elements may not require the quantity of the three major elements, but they are just as important.
Understanding The Big : Nitrogen Phosphorus And Potassium
Have you ever been to a Home Depot or Lowes, look at a bag of fertilizer and have no idea which one to get? There are so many different options and not all are created equal. Every fertilizer bag will have three numbers on it: Nitrogen, Phosphorus & Potassium otherwise knows as NPK.;
To summarize the basics, Nitrogen drives the bus and is the leading ingredient for accelerated growth. Without nitrogen, there would be zero growth as the plant absorbs more nitrogen that any other nutrient. However, using too much nitrogen can cause the lawn to burn out, especially in the summer. Dont just buy the bag with highest nitrogen amount, make sure its in the right season and you do your soil tests before throwing down a bag of fertilizer.
Phosphorus is all about root health and root stimulation, its directly linked to the plants ability to store and use energy. Luckily in Alberta, phosphorus is readily available in the soil and usually is not a huge factor when choosing a lawn fertilizer as the lawn is not in need of it.
Potassium is the protector of the lawn. It will protect against diseases, dry summer months, root systems, and temperature variances. Potassium is an important nutrient in fertilizer that cannot be overlooked.
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How Much Liquid Lawn Fertilizer Should You Apply
There are plenty of fertilisation tools to help ensure your lawn gets an even coverage
Using a spray bottle for liquid fertiliser means no section gets more fertilised than another.;
A uniformly fertilised lawn benefits the grass.
Applying too much fertiliser and too little fertilizer in one section will lead to a patchy lawn.
Instead of a luscious green lawn, you will have brown patches from over fertilisation, these patches will be contrasted by emerald green patches where the grass has been treated properly.
How much fertiliser to put in the spray bottle is another question and depends on a number of things.
The condition of the lawn, the type of grass laid, and the manufacturers instructions.
Before either application, in spring or fall, you have to measure the fertiliser concentration precisely.
What Type Of Fertilizer To Choose For Your Lawn
There are several varieties of fertilizer to choose from. The biggest variable is organic versus synthetic fertilizer.
That said, youll also hear fertilizer described as either quick-release or slow-release, but theres significant overlap between the two.
Organic fertilizers are natural and come from plant or animal sources.
Synthetic fertilizers are derived of components made in a lab.
Organic fertilizers are primarily slow release. In practical terms, slow-release fertilizers help develop your soil to grow your grass strong using its own capacities. Synthetic fertilizers are more potent, and they help your grass green up faster, but they dont help your soil.
In my experience, relying too much on synthetic fertilizers can weaken the soil so much your grass cant sustain itself without applications of synthetic fertilizer.
For me, thats a problem.
Its not sustainable, and its why I use organic, slow release fertilizers on my lawn.
That said, synthetic fertilizers have almost immediate results. If you want your grass green quick, its the option to go with, and I do recommend a quick-release starter fertilizer when starting a lawn from seed.
If you want long-term sustainability for your existing lawn, an organic slow release is a better choice, and my recommendation.
Theres also the option to apply a synthetic fertilizer as your first application, then apply organic fertilizer to strengthen your yard later in the season.
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Tip #: Check The Time Of Year
Not all of us are lawn professionals but a lot of us have lawns. And lawn feed manufacturers know that. So they stock supermarket shelves with user-friendly wysiwig spray bottles and dry bags. These lawn feed products are dumbed down to the max so that laymen can use them. Part of this tailoring is in the labels youll see the lawn feed labelled by season.
Some lawn feed packs can be used at any time of year. Some cover a single season while some cut across two. So if youre completely lost, get the Autumn Pack for October or the Summer Pack for July. As a general guide, mixed-release fertilisers are ideal and provides holistic results. Theyll give you both instant gratification and long-term lawn protection.
Tip #1: Focus On Your End Goal
Why exactly are you applying lawn fertiliser? Are you reviving the garden after winter? Or repairing the neglected lawn after being away for the summer? Maybe youve spotted bald patches that need some TLC. Or youve noticed your grass is yellowing or purpling and you want it back to green? Or it could be that youve dethatched and de-mossed in recent times.
So now your lawn is dark and raw so it needs some first aid. Each of these scenarios calls for a different kind of fertiliser. Moss is killed off using iron and seaweed. The iron will green the grass, and nitrates will help as well. Buy a product seed and feed combo like Evergreen Miracle-Gro Lawn Repair Kit. The package mixes grass seeds and fertiliser.
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How To Match Fertilizers And Goals
Fertilizers come in many different formulations to feed lawns and meet other goals. Pennington UltraGreen lawn fertilizers provide lawn grasses with an ideal blend of plant nutrients in superior forms.
These premium lawn fertilizers deliver quick greening and extended feeding. Half of the nitrogen in this line* is stabilized, which means less nitrogen is lost to the environment and your grass can use more of the fertilizer you feed. The other half releases slowly to continue feeding your lawn for up to three months.
- Pennington UltraGreen Lawn Fertilizer 30-0-4;promotes thick, green grass in all types of established lawns. It’s also phosphorus-free to protect water sources from unnecessary excess lawn phosphorus.
- Pennington UltraGreen Crabgrass Preventer Plus Fertilizer;III;30-0-4;feeds grass with phosphorus-free fertilizer and prevents crabgrass seeds from germinating and establishing.
- Pennington UltraGreen Starter Fertilizer 22-23-4, designed specifically to help new lawn grass establish, contains plentiful phosphorus and a higher percentage of potassium. These two nutrients support the development of strong, vigorous new roots and vigorous overall growth.
Weed & feed products handle active weeds in established lawns.
Why Fertilize Your Lawn
Fertilizing your lawn gives it the chance to maintain density, enhances its green color, and encourages growth. Fertilizer can also encourage recovery from turf damage and seasonal turf stresses .;
Unfertilized lawns will gradually lose density. When that happens, undesirable grasses and broadleaf weeds start to grow. The risk for soil erosion also increases.;
And malnourished turfgrasses are more prone to damage from diseases and insects the damage is more noticeable and recovery takes longer.;
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Easy Application Of Liquid Fertilizer
As previously mentioned, liquid plant fertilizers are faster than granular and can seep into the soil rapidly. When applying granular fertilizer, you might drop them in uneven patterns rather than uniform. However, liquid fertilizers for gardens give plants consistent coating so nutrients will soak into the soil.
Since you can spray liquid plant fertilizer right onto your lawn or garden, it will make the plant maintenance process much easier and more time-efficient. Fluid distribution will provide maximum protection to the entire space you feed.
Physical Properties Of Soil Textures
The particles that make up soil are categorized into three parts: sand, silt and clay. The relative percentage of these three parts is what determines the soil type. See the figure below to see the twelve different types of soils. Knowing the type of texture will help us know what soil is best used to grow a healthy lawn. The three best soil types for homeowners lawns are circled in green below.
While the professionals use a hydrometer to measure soil structure. For us homeowners, there are some DIY ways of accurately predicting your soil structure. Here are the three best tips to help determine the soil structure of your lawn:
1. Watch what happens after a heavy rainfall!
Does the water drain internally through your lawn and there is hardly any water on the surface of the turf? Then you have a sandy soil and not much clay content. If the water rests on the surface of the lawn, then the soil has a lot of clay content.
The study done by Thriving Yard states that for any puddles of water that form on your lawn , the best solution is to aerate and to follow is concept of deep soil integration that he mentions.
2. Get that garden shovel out!
3. Leave it to the experts!
Sometimes its best to just have the experts tell you what you have. There are some soil tests that you can buy on . The other option is to take a soil sample, and send it off to a lab and have them do it for you. They typically cost anywhere between $50-$100 depending on the level of detail you want.;
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How To Fertilize The Lawn
Discover how easy it is to feed your turf with fertilizer. For best results, start with an easy and inexpensive soil test, which tells you how much fertilizer to apply and what formulation to use.
Follow the directions on the fertilizer bag; most fertilizers are formulated to supply about 1/2 to one pound of nitrogen per feeding.
Step 1Step 1Determining Fertilizer Type
Lawn fertilizers are distinguished by the N-P-K numbers on the front of the bag. These letters stand for Nitrogen , Phosphorus and Potassium and represent the percentage by weight of each of those nutrients in the fertilizer. Nitrogen helps plants grow and green up, Phosphorus stimulates deep root development and Potassium provides all around health and disease/drought resistance. Choosing the right combination depends on a number of variables including sunlight exposure and climate.
Step 2Step 2Measure Out Fertilizer
Follow the directions on the bag carefully. Determine the size of your yard then measure out the right amount of fertilizer. Depending on the measurement, using the whole bag may mean you’re applying too much or too little. Never apply more fertilizer than the soil test or fertilizer label instructs. Even distribution is key. A great way to do this is to use a quality spreader, which ensures that the nutrient particles are evenly over the lawn, which will keep the health and colour consistent throughout.
Things To Understand When Choosing A Liquid Fertilizer
The most important thing to keep in mind about fertilizers is that theyre not one size fits all. Depending on your lawn, you will need grass fertilizers with different ingredients or levels of nutrients. Therefore, its essential to know what to look for in your yard and a quality liquid fertilizer.
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Tip #: Consider The Location Of Your Lawn
This isnt just about geographical information. Were thinking about more practical factors. Is the lawn in your front garden or back yard? Does it flank any flowers or vegetables? Are there walkways through it or paving around it? These may not seem like key things but they are, and heres why. If you have lots of pavers, a lot of fertiliser that falls on the concrete.
Thats waste. And if your lawn feed has ferrous supplements, they will stain your edging. So you need a drop spreader, top dressing, or side dressing to ensure all the lawn feed gets used up. You can also use fertiliser spikes and fertiliser sticks. These are convenient for hard-to-reach sections of your lawn. Theyre good for spot treatment too but only if you trust them.
Tip #1: Mix Your Macros And Your Micros
The primary ingredients of lawn fertilisers are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium theyre macronutrients. Your lawn also needs micronutrients like iron, manganese, and magnesium. When using weeds as soil gauges, consider the underground elements.
Lawns rich in iron and sulphur may sprout burdock. Buckhorn and chickweed prefer sodium. Starter pack fertilisers are all about the phosphorous so the middle number in their NPK is probably the largest. Late spring fertilisers should focus on water retention and weed control, so nitrates work best. Theyll have a big number at the front to show high nitrogen.
Winter fertilisers are generally potassium-heavy so theyll have a high 3rd number in their NPK ratio. Pick a product with the right NPK plus a good dose of micronutrients. You can even get feather food, blood meal and liquid seaweed! Theyre all quirky, safe, and organic.
What kind of fertiliser have you put on your lawn? And did it work? Tell us in the comments!
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Is The Liquid Plant Fertilizer Working
Youve researched, invested in an excellent liquid fertilizer for the garden, and sprayed; its time to reap the benefits of your hard work! So, how do you know if the liquid plant fertilizer is acting and nurturing the plants? First and foremost, assess the state of your garden pre-fertilization.
If your plants were dull and dry before, keep an eye on them to watch their progress. You should start to notice healthier vegetation even within the first twenty-four hours. In a couple of weeks, the garden will be flourishing and vibrant.
Whether youre just discovering your green thumb or are an expert gardener, you need to consider investing in liquid fertilizer for the garden. Your plants will indeed thank you later.