What If My Plant’s Leaves Have Brown Spots
Sure, a plant with brown spots on its leaves might look like, “oh my gosh, this plant is going to die.” But if you’ve had moisture at night, a lot of rain, and then the temperatures got super cold, that could be a simple explanation for those spots. The plant is going to go dormant and lose its leaves and then come back in the spring.
Basically, if your plants are looking kind of crummy, give them a break. They’re going dormant. Chances are they’re going to start looking crummy.
Mulch helps plants retain warmth and moisture through the winter months.
About Fertilizer Burn In Grass
Chemical fertilizers are made up of mineral salts. When you over fertilize, the salts build up in the soil and cause a drying effect, which can result in the grass turning yellow or brown and. This process is called fertilizer burn.
Fertilizer burn isnt always fatal, and its hard to predict whether or not your lawn will recover. It depends on the amount and type of fertilizer that was applied, the moisture available, and the overall health of the grass. A slightly yellow lawn is likely to recover, while crispy brown grass may not. Recovery of your lawn also depends on how quickly you intervene.
Excessive Nutrients Can Throw Off The Ph Balance Of Your Soil
Too much fertilizer can mess with the PH balance of your soil, which is a measure of its acidity or alkalinity. If your soils PH is greater than 7.3, AKA too alkaline, nitrogen and phosphorus cannot dissolve which are two crucially important macronutrients needed for healthy grass growth. If its too acidic, at say at 4.5 PH, excessive nutrients like aluminum, iron and manganese can become toxic and kill your grass.
A formal soil test can help you to determine what nutrients your turf is lacking and which it has enough of so you can choose the best mix for nourishing your unique property. Ask a fertilization expert to sample your soil and offer recommendations for the best fertilizer, and for suggested application ratios.
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How To Avoid Garden And Lawn Fertilizer Burn
You may have seen it happen in your own yard or a neighbor’s. Shortly after a fertilizer application, lawn grasses or garden plants start to discolor and look scorched from “fertilizer burn.” Depending on the damage, plants may bounce back or not. By taking steps to understand this common, preventable problem, you can fertilize your lawn and garden and avoid fertilizer burn:
Can I Put Too Much Fertilizer On My Lawn
There is the idea of too much of a good thing, and that definitely applies when it comes to fertilizing your lawn! Applying too much fertilizer to your lawn will cause the nitrogen and salt levels in the soil to increase rapidly, which can damage or even kill the grass. When this happens, it is known as fertilizer burn and looks like yellow and brown strips or patches of dead grass. These symptoms can appear as soon as the day after a fertilizer application, making it easy to determine the cause.
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Why Take A Slower More Organic Approach With Your Lawn
I can certainly appreciate a person’s desire for magnificent, non-stop blooms and lushness which can be had with weekly feedings from a sprayer. These fertilizers force plants to maintain top performance which depletes vigor for successive seasons therefore, these water-soluble fertilizers work best with showier annuals in containers. On lawns and in garden beds, a slower, organic approach works best for a number of reasons.
First, we are not only feeding our plants, we are also sustaining the microbial life which supports healthy roots and promotes efficient nutrient uptake. Composting is a recycling process in itself, and it provides food for beneficial decomposers and aerators like pill bugs, ants, and earthworms which break down the carbons in organic matter and render them more readily available to plants. These hard working organisms increase the amount of humus in the soil and leave behind mineral-rich excreta Monthly top dressings of well composted organic materials add structure to the soil, reduce the need for both water and nitrogen fertilizer, and help control weed growth. Organic fertilizers and compost also contain fewer salts which are toxic to plants in high amounts. Excess sodium weakens tissue growth, makes plants more susceptible to insects and disease, and can damage soil structure over the long term. Instead of spraying a commercial fertilizer each week, consider the option of a homemade compost tea.
Prepare The Ground For New Grass
Rake the burned, dead grass from the affected areas of the yard. This will allow water to penetrate easily to the healthy roots of the new grass.
Water the area again for at least a week and wait for a few days before planting to help get rid of excess mineral salts from the soil. Cleaning the soil this way is paramount, as it helps the new roots to establish faster and reach deeply into the soil.
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Can You Over Fertilize Your Lawn
There are many ways to over fertilize your lawn. You might have just dumped fertilizer indiscriminately throughout your lawn.
You may also consulted multiple resources on the right amount of fertilizer but you failed to take into account other factors like the grasses affinity with your fertilizer, the season, and the climate.
You can also blame the soil quality, especially if it cannot drain water well. This allows fertilizer to be deposited and eventually become part of the soil.
There are also instances that you have used a slow-release fertilizer, got impatient with the result, and added more to the soil.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Part of being a weekend warrior DIYer is making mistakes and learning as you go. These mistakes can sometimes be costly or time-consuming, but there is always a valuable lesson in them. Burning your lawn with fertilizer is no exception.
Fortunately, you can bring your lawn back to life through nursing it back to health or replacing it. And using the lessons you learned from overfertilizing it last time, you now know what to avoid to ensure your fertilizers helping, not hurting, your lawn.
Need more tips? Check out our beginners guide to fertilization. It provides all the tips any beginner needs to fertilize their lawn like a pro.
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Don’t Worry If You’ve Already Pruned Your Hydrangeas
If you’ve already pruned back your Endless Summer this time of year, don’t panic. Endless Summer are great because they have two batches of blooms. One batch comes in on old wood, but the second comes in on what’s known as new growth later on in the summer. So not to worry if you made a mistake, you’ll just know not to do that next fall.
Fill And Prepare A Lawn Spreader
- Next, check the instructions on your fertilizer bag for the recommended setting to use on your lawn spreader. This determines the amount of fertilizer that will be distributed. The higher the setting, the larger the hole size in the hopper and thus, the more fertilizer spread on the lawn. Adjust the setting on the spreader accordingly.
- Before you fill the spreader with fertilizer, make sure the hopper hole is closed. Fill the hopper on a hard surface, such as a driveway or sidewalk. This will prevent a potential spill from damaging or saturating a spot on your lawn.
- Be careful not to overfill the hopper or the lawn spreader may become hard to maneuver. Your lawn spreader may come with an edging feature to help you avoid dispensing fertilizer onto your driveway, sidewalk or walkway. If so, turn it on before you begin fertilizing that area. Follow all other instructions provided by your manufacturer for operating your lawn spreader.
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Don’t Prune Your Hydrangeas
However, make sure that you’re careful with pruning your hydrangeas. Personally, I don’t prune back my hydrangeas. And one of the main reasons people don’t get blooms from their hydrangeas is because they prune them back at the wrong time of year.
A lot of hydrangeas come in on what’s known as old wood, like Nikko hydrangeas and Endless Summer hydrangeas, and those blooms are being put in place right now in fall. So next year’s flowers that should be coming out in summer are actually being formed now. So if I were to go out into my garden and prune back my Nikkos and my Endless Summer, chances are I’d be pruning off a load of the blooms that should be coming in next summer.
So be careful with pruning this time of year. It’s usually not a good idea to prune back your hydrangeas in fall or early winter.
Don’t Fertilize For New Growth
Be careful with the fertilizers, this time of year. There are some plants that do not want to be fertilized in fall because some fertilizers promote new growth. And you don’t want to have a lot of new growth this time of year because any kind of tender new buds or new growth that’s coming in could get zapped by cold winter winds and winter temperatures.
Long story short, you don’t want to encourage new growth during a period when the plant should be going dormant.
Fertilizing your lawn in fall can help promote root development through the winter.
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What Causes Over Fertilization
Fertilizers contain a lot of salt. When you add salt to your lawn, it draws water out of the soil. If you add too much salt, then therell be no water left for the grass, causing it to dry out.
This is called fertilizer burn.
Fertilizer burn most commonly results from spillages, uneven spreading of fertilizer, or overuse of fertilizer. Dog urine can also be the culprit. It contains lots of nitrogen which is known to harm grass in high concentrations.
Stressed grass is more susceptible to over-fertilization because its less able to absorb the minerals from the fertilizer. This leads to a build-up of those minerals in the soil and eventually fertilizer burn.
How To Avoid Over
Over-fertilizing your grass once is already bad enough doing it again would be an awful experience. Here are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening:
- Use Granular Fertilizers Instead of Liquids
When working with granulated fertilizer, it is much easier to see where you have applied the granules in excess and pick them up before they seep into the soil and damage the lawn. This can be quite difficult to do with liquid fertilizers.
- Go Organic
Whenever possible, use organic fertilizers. These have very little mineral content, meaning, the possibility of salt building up and causing over-fertilization is close to nil.
An excellent example of organic fertilizers is compost. Not only does it contain low salt content but is also way cheaper than its organic counterparts.
- Consider Slow-Release Fertilizers
If you cant find compost, then consider slow-release fertilizers. Since the minerals are released slowly over time, you are less likely to over-fertilize your lawn.
- Follow Application Instructions
Different fertilizers come with different application guidelines based on their strength. Whether you are using organic or inorganic, always read and follow the instructions on the package. Do not use more than specified.
- Water Your Lawn Regularly
We cant emphasize enough the importance of watering your grass constantly. Keeping the soil moist at all times will help the chemical nutrients dissolve quickly and promote growth instead of building up and killing the roots.
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Best Fertilizers To Use
The best fertilizers to use are slow release. When you use slow release fertilizers, the grass will get green without growing too quickly. In the spring, mixtures of 20-5-10 are suitable to use. You can also perform a soil pH test before you start the process. Then, you can base the mixture off of your results. For example, if your pH tests come back with high potassium results, you can look for a combination that is lower in that category.
To keep your grass healthy, its best to have a set plan in place for fertilization. The experts at Moyer Indoor | Outdoor are happy to fertilize your lawn this spring so that you can enjoy the outdoors all season long.
Maintain And Observe Your New Grass
Whether you are re-soding or reseeding your lawn, constantly care for it to help the grass adapt quickly to the new environment.
The first thing you need to do after planting is watering adequately. Do it daily until the roots have been established properly. After that, you can aim at watering twice or thrice a week.
Dont forget to apply fertilizer, but make sure to do it right this time round to avoid over-fertilizing. The baby grass will need starter fertilizer 2 to 3 weeks after planting.
One more thing! Wait for the grass to reach at least 3 inches high before mowing. Trimming your new grass will help it grow quickly, but doing it before the grass gets to a proper height may easily kill it.
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Reconsider The Burnt Grass
After a week of regular watering, reconsider your grassroots again to ensure that youre not wasting time.
Observe the changes in your grassroots thoroughly after one watering week: Are there any recovery signs or not? Are they be verdant again?
If there are no positive signs of grassroots revival, you have to accept that your lawn is incurable, and what you should do is have a growing vegetation again.
Understanding Fertilizer Burn In Lawn Grass
When your usual green foliage suddenly turns yellow or brown, you diagnose the problem to know the cause. You notice that the discoloration is only isolated in a patch of your lawn.
There are no weeds and insects in your vicinity. Your lawn is evenly watered every day so dehydration cannot be the cause. You should water your lawn especially when the weather is hot outside.
Then you remembered that you fertilized recently. Your lawn may be suffering from fertilizer burns.
Fertilizer burn is a condition where plant foliage looks burnt. The common cause of fertilizer burns is due to dumping huge amounts of fertilizer on your lawn.
Another cause of fertilizer burn is applying fertilizer is directly through the foliage, though this is more of an uncommon occurrence.
Fertilizer crusts also appear within the affected patch, indicating that you have used too much fertilizer.
Symptoms of fertilizer burns appears as fast as one day, if you used inorganic fertilizers, or it may take a week, if you used slow-release fertilizers.
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Can You Put Too Much Nitrogen On Your Lawn
There is the possibility that you could put too much nitrogen on your lawn when fertilizing. If you accidentally spill fertilizer on your lawn or spread too much in one specific area, you run the risk of burning out your grass due to too much nitrogen in the soil. If you notice yellow or brown patches of grass that grow slowly or not at all after fertilizing, then youve likely overdone it!
Slow-release fertilizers help reduce the risk of nitrogen burn out. They provide for better growth overall with a more uniform appearance. They also remain in the soil for six to eight weeks , so you dont need to use them as often as quick release fertilizers which can not only burn out your lawn if over-applied but also destroy surrounding plants.
How To Treat Fertilizer Injury
If you suspect you may have over fertilized your plants, treat the area as soon as possible. Treat spillage by scooping up as much of the fertilizer as possible. The only thing you can do for over fertilized soil is flush the soil with as much water as it will hold over the next few days.
Dont allow the water to run off. Toxic runoff can contaminate nearby areas and may get into waterways where it causes substantial damage to the environment. Water slowly to allow the water to sink in rather than run off.
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What To Do About An Overfertilized Lawn
Lush lawns are not achieved without a lot of hard work. That hard work often involves some trial and error, and one of the simplest errors a person can make is overfertilizing a lawn.
Overfertilization is an easy mistake to make, but its a mistake that can have long-lasting consequences. According to the lawn care experts at Scotts¨, overfertilizing a lawn can damage grass. Overfertilized lawns are subject to excessive leaf growth, which may require more maintenance, like extra mowing, in the interim. Over time, an overfertilized lawn can develop a sponge-like feel and may be increasingly vulnerable to fungal disease.
Of course, homeowners can only address an overfertilized lawn after they learn to spot signs that the lawn has been fed too much fertilizer. Brown and patchy grass is one of the telltale signs that a lawn has been overfertilized. This can occur because too much nitrogen has made its way onto the lawn. Scotts¨ notes that nitrogen greens up grass and helps it grow, but too much nitrogen can scorch the lawn, making it brown and patchy.
Minimal growth after fertilization is another indicator of overfertilization. Some lawns that have been overfertilized may not grow at all afterward.
Blackened or limp grass and crusting of fertilizer on the top of the soil are other symptoms of overfertilization.