How Do I Know If My Lawn Needs Fertilizer
You might notice one of these common signs when a lawn is starved of nutrients:
- Slow growth
- Thinning grass
- Overgrowth of weeds
Keep in mind that some of these signs just as easily could be due to other causes, such as plant diseases, overwatering, or underwatering. Rule those out first otherwise, you risk overfertilizing your lawn, which can lead to weed growth, or the discoloration and excessive drying known as fertilizer burn.
The best way to determine if you need fertilizer is to test your soil. Soil testing kits are available at most hardware or lawn and garden stores and can tell you which nutrients your soil needs.
How Often Can I Fertilize My Lawn
High-quality lawns that have good irrigation and drainage systems will benefit from having fertilizer divided over more applications:
- Low-quality lawn: apply the entire treatment in early fall
- Mid-quality lawn: make one application in early fall and one in early spring
- High-quality lawn: make one application in early fall, one in early spring, and one in late fall
Theres a specific term for knowing how much fertilizer to spread across your lawn: the rate of application. For cool-season grasses, the recommended rate of application is 3 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn.
So, what does that mean in terms of the numbers you see on your fertilizer label?
Dont worry. Lawn care specialists have come up with a formula to help you calculate how much fertilizer you need:
If youre splitting your fertilizer treatment over multiple sessions throughout the year, reduce your rate of application to 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn for each session. In fact, some experts recommend the 1 pound rate of fertilization even for one annual application, just to avoid overfertilization.
What Are The Best Numbers For Fertilizer
Three large numbers appear on all fertilizer labels. The first number represents nitrogen , the second number represents phosphate , and the third number represents potash . The primary nutrients , phosphorus, and potassium are represented by these three numbers.
Fertilizer grades are created by combining two or more nutrient sources to make a blend, such as ten percent nitrogen, ten percent phosphate, and ten percent potash in a bag of 10-10-10 fertilizer.
Fertilizers with only one of each of the primary nutrients are also available. Ammonium nitrate , urea nitrogen , sodium nitrate , and liquid nitrogen are all nitrogen sources . Phosphorus is available as 0-46-0, and potash is available as of 0-0-60 or 0-0-50.
Having your soil analyzed to find your soil type is the best approach to choose a fertilizer grade. A fertilizer grade will be recommended for you based on the results of your soil test. The report also includes a management comment with recommendations for nitrogen supplementation for lawn and new plants or crops.
Typical grades for lawns and gardens include:
The high nitrogen and more potassium content of 15-0-15 fertilizer make it perfect for encouraging healthy lawn growth and color. High phosphorus fertilizer is required for new lawns produced from seed or sod because it promotes root growth. A 10-18-10 fertilizer is best for new grass.
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Is There A Standard Amount Of Starter Fertilizer I Should Use
If you didnít get a soil test to determine how much starter fertilizer for the lawn you should use, Landschoot writes, Starter fertilizers should be applied at 0.5 to 1 lb. nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. Amounts in excess of 1.5 lb. nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. can burn the young turf and result in poor establishment. Application of a starter fertilizer is not a substitute for the phosphate and potash recommended on your soil test report.
How Can This Save You Money
Look at the current status of your lawn.
AN ESTABLISHED LAWN:needs primarily nitrogen, since it is not producing any fruit or flowers, so get Big – Small – Small. Nitrogen is the least expensive of the nutrients. Dont buy a formula that has high levels of phosphorous or potassium when you dont need them.
A NEW LAWN:
is special and needs more phosphorous to produce roots. Dont use high nitrogen because the roots are not ready to handle top growth. Go with Small – Big – Big. Phosphorous and potassium are more costly, so you would not use this all the time. Yet, investing in the more expensive list of ingredients for a new or damaged lawn is wise.
NEW SOD:Be safe when you fertilize new sod! It looks like a mature lawn, but the roots have been shaved off and it needs to recover. Save the expense of redoing this huge project. You can kill the young lawn with the wrong blend. Avoid stress and later expensive problems by helping the grass get established properly. Use Small – Big – Big or Zero – Big – Big.
A STRESSED LAWNfrom many conditions, like recovering after insect damage, preparing for winter or extreme heat needs more potassium. Try Big – Small – Medium or Big – Small – BigWhen the grass has stressful conditions to deal with, applying the more expensive potassium can prevent problems from developing or continuing. Pay now and dont pay later.
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Best Fertilizer For Crabgrass Prevention
What I like about Greenview Fairway Formula Spring Fertilizer + Crabgrass Preventer is the quality of the fertilizer in the bag and the active ingredient of the crabgrass herbicide. It boasts a high-quality, professional grade slow-release nitrogen source called methylene-urea. This is a popular choice among professionals.
The fertilizer releases evenly over an eight- to 10-week period without that flush of growth that can have you mowing more than you want. The crabgrass killer is Dimension. And its extra strength dose means it will keep your lawn crabgrass-free longer than other pre-emergents. Dimension kills crabgrass for a short period of time even after it sprouts. Other pre-emergent herbicides wont do that.
The Numbers On Fertilizer Labels What They Mean
Please follow the label, more is not better
Whenever you see a fertilizer product, it will have three numbers prominently listed on the package, usually on the front. These numbers are very important and tell a great deal about what this fertilizer will do.
Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium are what the numbers refer to. They are always listed in this order. It is the percentage within that package of each component.
For example, a common type of all-purpose fertilizer is referred to as 10-10-10. This is a balanced blend of equal portions of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. If you purchased a 50-pound bag, five pounds would be Nitrogen, five pounds would be phosphorus, and five pounds would be potassium. The remaining 70% is simply filler, or inert ingredients, which are there mostly to help disperse the chemicals.
Up, Down, and all Around
A common way of describing the purpose behind each chemical is to think up, down, and all around. Applying this simple phrase will help you remember that Nitrogen , the first chemical listed, helps with plant growth above ground. Nitrogen does a great job of promoting the green leafy growth of foliage, and provides the necessary ingredients to produce lush green lawns. Lawn fertilizers will frequently have a high first number for this purpose.
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What Month Should I Fertilize My Lawn
Most lawn care companies recommend that you apply lawn fertilizer in the spring, between February and April. This is when your grass will start to green up as it begins to actively grow. Basically, if it looks like your grass is ready for its first mowing of the season, then it should also be ready for lawn fertilizer.
While most people know to fertilize their lawns in the spring, it is important to remember that fall feeding is critical, too. In the fall, grass roots are going down into the soil and need fertilizer to stay healthy. This is the most important application of fertilizer for the whole year since it will protect your lawn as it goes dormant over winter. However, if the fall you should use a specific fall fertilizer that is slightly higher in phosphorous and potassium, as it will promote better root growth. To ensure optimal lawn health, fertilize heavily in the fall and lightly in early spring.
Best Fertilizer To Feed Your New Grass Seed And Protect It From Weeds
Planting grass seed in the spring can be a challenge for several reasons. Your biggest headache will be battling all those weeds that are trying to germinate at the same time as your grass seed. Weed growth is severe in the spring and it will choke out those tiny seedlings as they try to grow.
The perfect way to combat this is to use Scotts Turf Builder Starter Food For New Grass + Weed Preventer, a starter fertilizer containing mesotrione. Its one of the few pre-emergent herbicides that will prevent weed growth, including crabgrass, but still allow the new seedlings to grow unharmed.
If you need to seed your lawn in the spring, dont use a conventional fertilizer with pre-emergent herbicide. It will kill your new grass. Fertilizers containing mesotrione are the only way to go.
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When Should Starter Fertilizers Be Applied
When applying a starter fertilizer, itís best to apply before seeding or before laying sod, or after you plant your grass seed. You donít want to apply it directly to newly planted sod or burning can occur. In fact, you should wait six to eight weeks before applying another dose of balanced fertilizer to your grass after planting so it doesnít incur burning.
When it comes to knowing how much starter fertilizer for the grass youíll need, Penn State Extension suggests taking a soil test. The test will note just what nutrients require beefing up in the soil to benefit your turfís growth and how much is required. The three most important nutrients required for good growth and health of your turfgrass are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, which a starter fertilizer contains.
There are benefits to incorporating the starter fertilizer into the soil before planting. When phosphorous and potassium are applied only to the surface of the soil they cannot move down into the soil fast enough. In addition, nitrogen can easily be leached from the soil before the grass even has a chance to uptake its nutrients. Therefore, itís best to till into the soil 4 to 6 inches with any additional amendments you are adding. However, if you desire, you can spread the starter fertilizer over the site immediately after spreading your grass seed.
Why Is Nitrogen Important For Your Lawn
Knowing what each nutrient does for your grass is important, and will help guide you to the best lawn fertilizer ratio for your yard.
Nitrogen is essential for your grass to produce chlorophyll, a substance necessary for photosynthesis. This is necessary for leaf growth.
Some signs of nitrogen deficiency in your lawn may include:
- Pale color
- Yellow patches
- You notice fewer clippings when you mow the lawn
Nitrogen helps make your lawn green and promotes strong growth. If there isnt enough nitrogen in your lawn, the grass will probably be thin and pale in color.
It will also probably have slow growth and be more vulnerable to disease.
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Is Triple 19 Fertilizer Good For Lawns
. People also ask, is triple 12 fertilizer good for lawns?
Therefore a bag of 20-10-10 contains 20% N, 10% P, and 10% K. These three nutrients are the most essential nutrients for turfgrass health. The above label is for a 12-12-12, or triple twelvefertilizer. This is a balanced fertilizer, providing equal amounts of N, P, and K.
One may also ask, is all purpose fertilizer good for lawns? Fertilizing a lawn with an all–purpose 10-10-10 nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium fertilizer Although this all–purpose fertilizer formulation comes in both water-soluble and slow-release forms, the slow-release form is more beneficial.
Also asked, is triple 10 fertilizer good for lawns?
Lawns given 10-10-10 fertilizer will still benefit from the addition of nutrients to the soil. Turf grass is grown for its lush green leaf blades, so nitrogen nutrients are often more important to creating a dense, fast-growing lawn.
Is triple 15 fertilizer good for grass?
Triple 15 has equal amounts of each of these nutrients, or 15% of each. This is how fertilizer ratios work. Instead, use this simple trick that will help you identify the proper blend each time you need to buy lawn fertilizer.
38 Related Question Answers Found
What Else Should You Know About 15
More is not always better. Keep in mind that the Arizona climate can sometimes result in your grass being burnt if you’re not careful. Too much fertilizer, or fertilizer with a high nitrogen content, can result in scorching or blemishing your lawn. This can be expensive to repair. Salt is often in fertilizers too. Salt can contribute to burning your lawn once the sun and heat go to work, if you’re not applying the proper amount of fertilizer.
It’s also very important to be mindful of the way in which you’re spreading your fertilizer. It is incredibly essential that you spread your fertilizer evenly throughout your lawn. Uneven distribution can cause patches of green and yellow on your lawn. As a final tip, be sure to water your lawn regularly for best results.
To summarize, here are some of the top benefits of 15-15-15 fertilizer:
- Gives your grass beautiful green blades
- Formulated for use on lawns
- Specialized for Western soils
- Highly efficient source of N, P and K
- Provides accurate and balanced uptake of these major nutrients into the lawn
- Ensures good root development, thanks to the nitrogen
- Can be easily found at any home improvement / lawn supply store
- Great value
Now hopefully you have a better understanding of fertilizer and how it can help your lawn. For more, check out the article about the numbers on fertilizer labels on Growing a Greener World: The Numbers on Fertilizer Labels, What They Mean.
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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 Fertilize New Grass
Whether you’re planting grass seed or laying sod, you should fertilize the soil before you start the growing process as part of prep.
For new grass seed, wait at least 6-8 weeks for the plant to germinate before applying any more fertilizer. If you installed sod, it will take about 6 weeks to establish deep roots, after which you can apply more fertilizer if you wish.
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Fertilizer : The Why What How And When To Fertilize Your Lawn
Few words strike fear into the heart of the average homeowner more than fertilizer. With complex terminology and numerous options, it is easy to see how someone can get overwhelmed. Learning the answers to some of the most common fertilizer questions will arm you with the knowledge you need to fertilize your lawn like a pro.
Why should I fertilize my lawn?There are several reasons why you would need to fertilize your lawn. Over time, many lawns will leech nutrients out of their soil. Most nutrients for your lawn are water-soluble. Over time, whether through rain or irrigation, the water will carry these nutrients out of your lawn. This will leave your lawn nutrient deficient, which will leave you with an unhealthy lawn susceptible to disease. In some instances, the soil that the grass is growing in does not have the naturally occurring nutrients that turf needs to grow. If this is the case, fertilizer will be needed in order to maintain a healthy lawn. To determine whether or not your soil is nutrient deficient, you can purchase a soil test kit to learn more about the soil composition. The results of this test will help you determine exactly what type of fertilizer that your lawn needs.
Nitrogen promotes healthy leaf growth by encouraging the production of chlorophyll, which is a chemical vital to photosynthesis.
Phosphorus helps your lawn develop healthy roots and stems.
Potassium gives your lawn strength, helping it to resist drought and disease.