How To Fertilize Your Lawn
If you are not careful about how you fertilize your lawn, the grass will not respond, and at times it could burn out and die. Many homeowners do not understand that putting down one fertilizer application could mean that your lawn is treated for months. This is why it is important to ensure you use the right fertilizer numbers. Here are some basic steps for fertilizing your lawn.
Choosing Fertilizers For Home Lawns
Burned grass is a drawback of fast release nitrogen fertilizers.
Fertilizing is an important lawn care practice, as it influences grass color, ability to recover from stress, and helps prevent weed invasions and disease. There are important features to consider when choosing lawn fertilizers at the local garden center.
Nitrogen , phosphorus , and potassium are the three major nutrients needed by lawns. Nitrogen is the nutrient required most, although too much nitrogen can cause excessive topgrowth, leading to assorted problems. Percent nitrogen is always the first of three numbers on the fertilizer bag, followed by phosphorus and potassium. For example, a 18-6-12 fertilizer contains 18 percent nitrogen. This number is important because it determines how much fertilizer is needed. In most cases, a rate of one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet is suggested for each fertilizer application to the lawn. If high percentage nitrogen fertilizers are used, then less actual fertilizer product is needed to supply that one pound compared to fertilizers with low percent nitrogen. Recommended ratios of N-P-K for lawn fertilizers include 3:1:2 or 4:1:2.
Other Important Fertilizer Considerations
Soil testing is the most effective way to determine its pH level, any micronutrients that are lacking, and the best fertilizer for the lawn. For vigorous grass growth, make two to four applications of fertilizer, each at a rate of no more than one pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn. Deeply watering the lawn a few days prior to fertilizing, only applying fertilizer when grass blades are dry and then watering the lawn lightly to wash fertilizer off of grass blades and down to the soil minimizes potential injury to grass blades and roots.
Cutting the grass frequently so that no more than one-third of the grass blade’s height is removed with a single mowing and leaving the grass clippings in place — grasscycling — slightly reduces the lawn’s supplemental nutrient requirements.
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Calculating The Nitrogen Content Of Lawn Fertilizer
The N-P-K numbers on the fertilizer bag indicate the percentage of the three macronutrients by weight. For example, the label on a 10-pound bag of 24-0-5 fertilizer contains 24 percent nitrogen, 0 percent phosphorus, and 5 percent potassium. To calculate the amount of nitrogen in the fertilizer, multiply 10 by .24. A 10-pound bag contains 4.4 pounds of nitrogen.
That nitrogen amount comes into play when you apply fertilizer to your lawn. The general recommendation is to use no more than one pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn at once. The higher the percentage of nitrogen in the fertilizer, the less actual fertilizer is needed. For example, a 10-pound bag of 30-0-4 fertilizer contains 3 pounds of nitrogen so you need less of that product than when using a 24-0-5 fertilizer.
What Npk Numbers Are Needed For Lawns
Of the three major nutrients, nitrogen is the one most required for lawns. Thats why in the N-P-K numbers of fertilizers , the first number, for N is always higher than P and K, for example 21-0-7, 24-0-5, or 30-0-4.
The phosphorous and potassium content is lower or zero because the soil usually contains enough phosphorus and potassium for healthy lawn growth. However, the only safe way to know what your lawn needs is to do a soil test that exactly determines the nutrient content and requirements. Otherwise, you risk damaging your lawn by overfertilizing it. Its better to under fertilize than to over fertilize a lawn.
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What Does Npk Mean
The NPK expands for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, where N stands for Nitrogen, P for Phosphorus, and K for Potassium as these abbreviations are the chemical notations of these elements.
- Nitrogen Nitrogen is a really important nutrient for the lawn as it provides the grass with the food to grow. Nitrogen is the main nutrient behind the green color of the leaves as it helps in making chlorophyll. This is the main reason you will find all the fertilizer with a high percentage of nitrogen to give the lawn a boost and healthy growth throughout the year.
- Phosphorus Phosphorus is another nutrient that is really important for the lawn as it helps the plants to establish themselves in the soil by promoting root growth. This makes the grass hardy and faces the long and hot days of summer and sometimes drought because of the deep root system.
- Potassium Potassium is a nutrient that helps the plant fight diseases and keeps the lawn healthy and thick. Potassium also helps the grass in boosting the process of food making and helps in absorbing water which makes it easy for the grass to grow.
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.
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What Are The Best Numbers For Tree And Shrub Fertilizers In Spring
The growing period for trees and shrubs in spring and early summer is an excellent time to apply quick-release fertilizers. These fertilizers are soluble, making it easy for the plants to take up the nutrients and use them for growth.
Rapid growth isnt ideal in trees and shrubs as the foliage will grow at the expense of the root system, resulting in a large tree with a relatively small root system. However, fertilizing trees and shrubs in early spring with the right kind of fertilizer can help the growth of your trees and shrubs in a balanced way.
The best number for tree and shrub fertilizers in spring is 10-10-10 for overall fertilization. If you suspect a nitrogen deficiency or simply want to support growth and yields, you could consider a 16-6-12, 16-8-8, 20-10-5. Also, 8-3-9 is a good set of fertilizer numbers for fruit trees.
For younger trees and shrubs that need support with root development and growth, you can consider using a 12-24-12, which will encourage root growth with a higher percentage of phosphorus.
What Are The Best Numbers For Lawn Fertilizers In Spring
You can fertilize both warm and cool-season grass in the spring.
Cool-season grasses grow when the weather is chilly, as the name suggests. You should fertilize them in early spring after the winter thaws when the weather is between 60º F and 75º F .
Warm-season grasses grow best as the weather grows warmer, so you should fertilize them in the latter half of spring as the weather goes warmer and leads into summer. The ideal temperature for fertilizing warm-season grasses is 80º to 95º F .
Most lawns need fertilizers with a higher percentage of nitrogen than any other nutrient. While excess nitrogen can have harmful effects on your grass, applying a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen percentage in the growing season can support your lawns growth and resilience.
Typically, lawn fertilizers will have little or no phosphorus.
The best numbers for lawn fertilizers in spring would be about 15-0-6, 20-0-5, 30-0-3, or 35-0-5 all of which have a higher percentage of nitrogen, some potassium, and no phosphorus.
If you suspect that your lawn needs phosphorus, getting a soil test done would be advisable before buying specialty fertilizers that contain phosphorus for your grass.
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Main Types Of Fertilizers
|Synthetic – Lawn Fertilizers|
|Available in various time-release formulas. Gives you more control over your lawn feeding schedule.||Quick-release designed for quick growth and color. Available with synthetic or organic materials. Many liquid fertilizers are available in a bottle that attaches directly to the end of a hose for convenient and quick-acting distribution.||All-natural can be purchased or made at home.Feeds lawn as organic materials break down and release nutrients back into the soil.||Tends to be less expensive than organic lawn fertilizers.Fast-acting, water soluble and quickly absorbed by plants for rapid greening.|
What Fertilizer Numbers To Use In Summer A Complete Guide
Summer is a very stressful and difficult season for a lawn. The heat of the sun and sometimes even no moisture in the soil can damage the lawn and even the lawn can die. So the best thing to do for the lawn for this season is to prepare the lawn for it. And to prepare you to need to make the lawn healthy and strong by fertilizing. But everybody has a question: what fertilizer number to choose for summer?
The best fertilizer number for the summer season is 34-0-4. This is the perfect mix of all the nutrients for the lawn in summer when it is facing the heat of the sun and sometimes drought and can go into stress. The high percentage of nitrogen will help the grass and give enough food and a little bit of potassium to boost the process.
Now you know what fertilizer number to use in summer, but its not that simple. So lets understand why this number is used and what is the best way to fertilize your lawn.
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What Fertilizer Number To Use In Summer
The best fertilizer number for summer is where nitrogen is in high quantity to give food for the grass to grow and stay green throughout the season with a little bit of potassium to boost the processes like photosynthesis, etc.
So the best fertilizer number will be 34-0-4 to fertilize your lawn in the summer. I use Pennington Ultragreen Southern Weed And Feed 34-0-4 for summer fertilization as it comes with all the things your lawn needs in the summer.
This is an idol fertilizer for summer, but sometimes the condition of the lawn is not as we expected so different lawn needs different fertilizer numbers. Lets have a look at it in detail:
- New lawn if you are going to start a new lawn in summer then it is better to use a fertilizer that can help the grass grow as well as to establish its roots properly so that it can withstand the heat or drought of the summer season. The best fertilizer number for this would be where nitrogen and phosphorus are in good amounts with a little bit of potassium. The Pennington Ultragreen Starter Fertilizer 22-23-4 would be perfect for use and can make your lawn healthy and beautiful.
We also have a detailed guide on what fertilizer number to choose in spring. Do check it out.
Best Fertilizer Number To Use On Your Lawn In The Fall
If you remember correctly, we recommend that you do not fertilize your cool season grasses in the summer as they wont handle it all that well. The fall is when you should leave your warm-season grasses alone.
The key here is to use a lower Nitrogen ratio the last thing you want is to have Nitrogen trying to work when temperatures get too cold for the grass to grow. This will stress the lawn and can create bare spots on your turf.
The best fertilizer number to use on your lawn in the early Fall include:
The 20-0-5 is very commonly sold in stores for fall fertilizer, but you should test your soil before applying this much nitrogen in the late fall. Fall fertilization aims to ensure your grass is healthy enough to make it through the winter.
Best Fertilizer for Garden in the Fall
The best fertilizer for your garden in the Fall is a 24-4-12. This is a much higher Nitrogen percentage than earlier in the year, and it ensures that your plants will stay alive throughout the winter months. At this time of year, make sure that you are not giving garden plants too much fertilizer. Forcing them to grow faster when the temperatures are not conducive to growth can strain the plant.
Best Fertilizer for Trees and Shrubs in the Fall
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Why You Need To Do A Soil Test
As I previously mentioned, you should do a soil test on your lawn every spring. This will give you a baseline for your soil and make it easier for you to understand what your lawn does and doesnt need.
Get a soil test report in order to find out the characteristics of your soil and the best kind of fertilizer for you.
The best tests will provide a recommended fertilizer grade with specific numbers included in the report. Check this carefully to make sure that you look for the correct fertilizer when you go shopping.
There should also be a management note that gives you information on supplementing nitrogen for your lawn.
In general, the most common grades of fertilizer recommended for lawns include numbers:
And if youre interested in taking the guesswork out of what to do next after you get your soil test results, consider subscribing to one of LawnServs subscription boxes. Theyll test your soil and curate the products your lawn needs, mailing them to you with everything you need . Its pretty fool-proof .
What Fertilizer Numbers To Use In Spring A Complete Guide
Fertilizing the lawn is one of the most crucial parts of lawn maintenance and also one of the crucial parts in spring when the lawn is coming out of the dormancy and stress of the winter frost. So what fertilizer number to use in spring to get a healthy and thick lawn?
The best fertilizer number to use in spring for your lawn will be 30-0-4. This is the perfect mix of all the nutrients the lawn needs when it is recovering from dormancy and trying to go from brown to green, keeping the nitrogen higher and a little bit of potassium to boost the process.
Now you know what fertilizer number to use but its not that simple. So lets understand why this number is used and what is the best way to fertilize your lawn.
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Best Fertilizer Number To Use On Your Lawn In The Spring
The best fertilizer to use on your lawn in the spring is typically going to be something with a higher percentage of nitrogen. A nitrogen fertilizer will help your turf grow stronger when it is spreading in the early spring. Using a fertilizer with too many pounds of nitrogen can end up hurting your lawn and causing long-term issues.
A few of the different fertilizers that would be best for spring turf will be:
We typically recommend starting with the 20-0-5 because the 20 percent nitrogen generally is a safe amount for most turf. For those who want a lawn that is not going to damage on the first warm day, or can make it through a fungus issue, keeping that first number a bit higher is an excellent idea.
The reason that you will see the zero as the middle number for the phosphate is that lawn fertilizers typically have a 0 in the middle. If your lawn needed phosphorus, the best way to tell would be a soil test.
Best Fertilizer for Garden in the Spring
The best thing you can do for your spring garden is to plant it at the right time. Unlike cool season grasses or warm season grasses that can survive all year, if you plant the garden at the wrong time, no fertilizer will help bring the plants back. The best option for gardens in the spring you will look for a high phosphorous rate. Something like 12-55-6, 16-20-0, or even a very standard 20-20-20. Some organic fertilizers with much lower numbers may be best for a brand new garden.
Fertilizer For Spring Summer And Fall: What To Apply And When
The proud owners of lush, thick, green grass understand what it takes to get and keep an enviable lawn and fertilizer is their superpower. Knowing all there is to know about how and when to fertilize is their advantage. If you have just had your lawn replaced with thick lush new sod then you want to keep it that way.
Fertilizing your grass isn’t as elementary as sprinkling whatever you have in the shed on your lawn. Fertilizers all present with three numbers that tell us a lot about what’s in the bag. The first number indicates how much nitrogen can be found in a particular fertilizer. The second number represents levels of phosphorus and the third, potassium. Follow this schedule and treat your lawn on a seasonal basis.
Keep in mind that there are other things you can do before it’s time to fertilize. In late May or early June, before the heat of the summer arrives, apply some slow release nitrogen. This will encourage the grass to rebuild.
A good dose of nitrogen rich fertilizer will also arm your lawn. Fighting off the stresses of summer, traffic, disease, heat, and drought. Fertilizer is its defense. If you can’t stand to sit around and do nothing when the snow melts and the grass that emerges looks like its dead, consider an herbicide. However, herbicides can be harsh on grass, so ensure your herbicide contains a little fertilizer to help your lawn fight the negative effects herbicides can have on grass.
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