How To Tell If Your Lawn Needs Fertilizing
Undernourished Lawns: When Do You Need Fertilizer?
Think about the most appealing grass youve ever seen. It was probably a rich green color, with robust blades and no evident dead or faded patches on either the individual blades or the lawn as a whole. Not all kinds of grass achieve this ideal turf look even at their healthiest, and thats why its important to look for specific signs of undernourishment rather than hold your lawn to an unfair standard of health.
Grass that isnt receiving enough nutrients will look pale and may have a yellow tinge to it. Look for yellow specifically, not dark brown. If your lawn is brown, you may have another problem, such as a fungus. Improperly fertilized grass typically looks uniformly yellow, but it may have some stripes or large patches of discoloration caused by uneven fertilizer application. Whether your lawn is completely yellow or just has a few random spots that are more yellow than they should be, its the color you want to look for rather than a specific pattern.
How to Fix It
Doing It Right
How Often Should You Put Epsom Salt On Your Lawn
Some homeowners like to use Epsom salt as a natural lawn fertilizer in the spring to facilitate lush green growth. Epsom salt contains magnesium, which is key to seed germination, chlorophyll production, and improving the uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur.
To try this method, add 2 tablespoons to each gallon of water used on the lawn. If you have a sprinkler system, lightly sprinkle the salt directly atop the grass and then allow the system to water it into the sod.
Not All Lawn Foods Are The Same
If you’ve shopped for lawn food, you might have noticed a numbers on the label that looks something like this: 32-0-4. Most people ignore it, but this code tells you a lot about the lawn food you’re about to buy. The numbers stand for Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium and they tell you the percentage of those ingredients in the product by weight. But what do these letters and numbers add up to for the look of your lawn?
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Ph Calcium And Magnesium
Calcium and magnesium rarely cause a growth or color response in grass. Their main impact is their effect on soil pH. When added as limestone, they help raise the pH of acid soils and indirectly improve turf fertility.
Turfgrasses will grow in a wide range of soil pH, but most have an optimum range, as noted in Table 2. Soil pH in the optimum range is important because it increases availability and soil retention of many of the nutrients needed for turfgrass growth.
A low soil pH indicates acidic soil. Acidic soils are common in western and coastal Oregon, but are rare in central and eastern Oregon.
If your soil test pH value falls below the optimum range for the grasses in your lawn, a lime application will help raise the pH. It often takes 2 or more years to significantly change turfgrass soil pH with lime, because lime is not very soluble and cant be mixed into the soil in lawns.
There are two common types of limeagricultural limestone and dolomitic limestone. Agricultural lime contains calcium, while dolomitic lime contains both calcium and magnesium.
Soil test values for calcium and magnesium can help you determine which type to apply. If magnesium levels are above 1.5 meq/100 grams of soil, apply agricultural limestone. If Mg is below 1.5 meq/100 grams of soil, apply dolomite. Coastal counties usually are the only areas in Oregon where deficiencies of magnesium are found consequently, they are most likely to benefit from dolomitic limestone.
What Is Lawn Fertilizer
Lawn fertilizer is available in either a granular or liquid form which is what makes up the substrate within which the nutrients are held for release into your soils. Basically, fertilizer is food for your lawn to help add additional nutrients for the plant use that may be missing from the soils, or are not in enough abundance to get the results you want.
Fertilizer can come in slow release and quick release versions, as well as have specific nutrient content for your types of grass. It also can be mixed especially for certain times of year. It may also have weed or insect control added in as well, so its important to know a bit about your lawn before deciding what kind of fertilizer you may need. For example, it doesnt hurt to know:
- What types of grass do you have?
- Is it a cold season or warm season grass?
- What are the watering requirements?
This isnt difficult to figure out as there are many available online identification guides that explain the grasses and what their requirements are. In fact, many fertilizer companies have guides offered online as well to help you choose the best fertilizer for your specific lawn type.
You also may want to take into account what type of soils you have. If you laid turf over caliche , then you will need to be providing the majority of nutrients to your grass to keep it growing until it begins to produce its own. This is also true of sandy soils that often leech, or allow nutrients to pass through quickly.
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Keeping Up With Fertilizing Schedules
You may love your lawn so much that you print out this blog post and hang it on your fridge. You could even set up reminders in your digital calendar to notify you when its time to fertilize for the season. But if you prefer an easier alternative, sign up for our Monthly Lawn Tips emails. Well send you an email each month with tips on fertilizing, mowing and dealing with pest or disease problems in your lawn.
The Fertilizer Buyer’s Guide
Just like people and animals, grass and plants require nutrients to grow. Most grass and plants do not naturally produce enough of the nutrients they need to thrive, which can result in browning, wilting, and fewer blooms. Fortunately, fertilizers can give foliage a boost of vitamins and minerals through nutrients to increase the health of the plant.
Healthy lawns are better equipped to resist disease, weeds, and pests which is why it is so important to increase the nutrients in turf and soil.
Read this guide to learn everything you need to know before selecting a fertilizer for your lawn including:
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How Soon You Can Fertilize After Seeding Your Lawn
Its not always after seeding that you should apply fertilizerthe best time to fertilize is right before or during the seeding process. Use a starter fertilizer with quick-release nitrogen since that will give the seeds a nutritional boost. When you make fertilizer a part of the seeding process, your grass will grow quicker and is more likely to end up healthy and lush.
When To Apply Fertilizer
When to apply fertilizer largely depends on the type of grass you have. For any type of grass, multiple fertilizer applications throughout the year is the best way to maintain a healthy lawn year-round.
Warm season grasses like centipede, zoysia, and Bermuda should be fertilized 2-4 times per year, including just before the start of spring, when the grass is beginning to grow, and at the end of the summer. Aim for fertilizing every 6-8 weeks through the end of summer.
Cool season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, fescue, and ryegrass should be fertilized just after the lawn comes back from winter dormancy and again at the beginning of fall. Do not fertilize in the warmest summer months.
Fertilizer should be applied in the morning or evening to prevent burning in sweltering sun of the afternoon. Apply fertilizer after the last frost of the spring and before the first frost of the fall. Fertilize your lawn 2-4 times per year, according to the results of your soil analysis.
Check out our lawn care calendars for more information on when to fertilize throughout the year.
Beware of fertilizer burn! Fertilizer burn can occur when fertilizer is applied during hot weather, the wrong type of fertilizer is used, or too much fertilizer is used in one area. The result is scorched leaves and grass that can look like drought. If you do encounter fertilizer burn, heavily water your lawn and plants daily for one week to keep the roots wet.
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When Exactly Should You Fertilize The Lawn
The best time to fertilize your lawn in the fall will vary depending on where you live. Mid-September through mid-October typically works for most places in the country. Grant Zuercher, owner of Turf Team in Springdale, Ark., says you generally want to make sure you fertilize about 2 to 3 weeks before the ground freezes from the first frost of the season.
The further north you are, the earlier youll fertilize. If you plan on putting out a pre-emergent weed killer to fight off cool-season weeds, water your fertilizer to allow it to soak in, then wait a few days before applying the pre-emergent.
Use The Right Spreader
When applying lawn fertilizers, always use a lawn spreader. Never spread product by hand! A broadcast spreader with a side-shield feature like the EdgeGuard® feature is great for most lawns. This makes application along the lawn’s perimeter easy by shutting off half the spreader flow, so product is only applied on the lawn and not on non-lawn areas like the driveway, sidewalk, or landscaping. A drop spreader is another option for small spaces because the application area is much narrower. Learn more about which spreader is right your yard .
Fill the spreader hopper with your lawn fertilizer, then set the spreader to the recommended setting listed on the product package. If the product package does not provide a spreader setting, it is not intended for lawn use.
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Should I Have My Soil Tested Before Fertilizing
In the best of all worlds, everyone would get a soil test before planting a lawn and would repeat the test each year and adjust the fertilizer program according to the results. This approach is common at many golf courses and athletic field complexes with professional turf managers.
Unfortunately, it takes some effort for homeowners to find a testing laboratory and interpret test results. As a result, very few people get their soil tested regularly. If you suspect you have a problem soil, contact a local professional analytical lab or estimate your soil nutrient content by using a soil test kit purchased from a retail nursery center.
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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Why Use Lawn Fertiliser
Most lawns will grow fairly well in the UK without needing the application of a lawn fertiliser. However, if you want to improve the general health and appearance of your lawn, using a fertiliser can be a good way to ensure your grass gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, green and lush. Proper use of lawn fertiliser can keep your lawn in good condition and will encourage strong, dense grass growth. Not only does lawn fertiliser improve the appearance of your lawn but it can also help your turf to recover from wear and tear and the effects of any harsh weather conditions. Keeping your turf well fertilised with a balanced nutrient programme can also stop your lawn from becoming weak, patchy and thin which can make the grass more susceptible to moss and weeds. Lawns in poor conditions are also more likely to be affected by diseases.
Can I Fertilize My Lawn Every 2 Weeks
To avoid over-fertilizing, applying a fertilizer every two weeks is not recommended. Fertilizing as often as every two weeks will likely lead to problems such as lawn burn, excessive grass growth, as well as polluted water that can lead to toxic algae growth. A natural, healthier way of feeding your lawn every two weeks would be to simply leave the grass clippings on the lawn surface after mowing your grass.
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Is Lawn Fertilizer Harmful
We are talking about safety in terms of your kids, pets like dogs and cats who roam the lawn and of course the environment. Since your lawn is truly an extension of your living area, the safety concerns surrounding the applications of certain fertilizers should be taken into consideration. If you have a company applying your fertilizers, then they most likely have some pretty strong disclaimers surrounding how they use their products for your own safety. Make sure to ask for written follow up instructions and for them to place signs on your lawn if it isnt safe to be on for any amount of time after application to let your neighbors know as well.
Most fertilizers found in your local garden centers are marked as pet and kid safe after application and watering. This is a big difference compared to a decade ago when most fertilizer applications requires at least 48 hours or a watering of at least a quarter inch before lawn could be safety walked upon again. Fertilizer companies do mark their bags with occupational hazards of applying and use, so be sure to look over this in advance to make sure you have the safest product available for your family.
Best Fall Lawn Fertilizer
A fertilizer with a formula of 20-8-8 will get it growing again. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommended rate of application. Some people treat weeds and insects at this time, but I think that unless there are signs of trouble or a history of problems, don’t apply anything but fertilizer.
While this fall lawn fertilizer dose is important, an application at the end of October or early November is essential. At that time, apply a fertilizer with a formula of 13-25-12. The push of phosphorus will stimulate root growth through November and even into early December. By helping roots grow before winter sets in, you are insuring that the lawn will green-up quicker in the spring and become more resistant to disease and draught.
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Characteristics Of Nitrogen Fertilizers For Home LawnsNitrogen Type
|1. More uniform grass growth
2. Not likely to burn grass
3. Losses through soil or air less likely
| 1. May not work on cold soil
2. Most are expensive
3. May not see quick color change in grass
In addition, a variety of special lawn fertilizers may be found. Winterizer fertilizers are typically high in potassium, and although advertised for fall application can be applied in spring as well. Potassium is used all year by grasses, and is involved in heat and cold tolerance, disease resistance, and other stress tolerances. Weed and feed products contain a broadleaf weed killer for weeds such as dandelions others contain a preemergence herbicide to control crabgrass . Lawn starter products, typically high in phosphorus, are intended for newly seeded lawns and freshly laid sod.
There are a variety of organic sources of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium available to the homeowner. As mentioned earlier most organic fertilizers are derived from plant or animal sources. Plant sources would include alafalfa and cottonseed meal and seaweed. Examples of animal sources would include bone meal and the manures from chickens, cows and horses. Yet another source comes directly from mother nature in the form of rock phosphate for a source of phosphorus and green sand for a source of potassium. Find and use products that are locally available whenever possible to keep the input costs down.
In this section : Planting and Maintenance
When To Put Fertilizer On Lawns
All lawns need fertilizer in early spring when the grass begins to green up. Your fertilization schedule for the rest of the season depends on the type of grass in your lawn, the type of fertilizer you use, and your climate. Most lawn seed is a mixture of several different types of grasses, and both spring and fall fertilization are appropriate.
The label on a bag of lawn fertilizer will recommend a schedule based on the type of fertilizer it contains. The label is your best guide to how often to apply the product and how much to use. As long as you dont overdo it and avoid fertilizing in the hottest part of summer, your lawn should thrive.
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Espoma Eofw30 Organic Fall Fertilizer
If youre looking for organic fertilizers, Espoma is a brand that avoids using harsh chemicals or byproducts within their fertilizer. This fall fertilizer is made of feather meal poultry manure as its main component. Sulfate of potash is another key ingredient that allows Espoma to stand out amongst the rest. This ingredient introduces natural potassium and sulfur to your lawn to encourage the production of healthy soil nutrients.
Whats most impressive about this fertilizer is that the components are water-soluble and all-natural. There is no reason to worry about harsh chemicals being drained into nearby water systems as the materials are all non-toxic and organic.