It’s lawn season, and that means it’s time to bust out the fertilizer. Almost certainly your lawn could use a hand to help it grow healthy and strong, at least that’s what you think with all the fertilizer tips, products and advertisements appearing around this time of year. If you want to give your lawn the best chance, it’s helpful to know more about what fertilizer is and how it works.
A healthy lawn needs trace amounts of nutrients in order to thrive, such as calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are needed in larger amounts to give your lawn food to grow. Nitrogen is the most important, promoting growth and giving your lawn a lush green color. But that doesn’t mean just go all out with the nitrogen, instead all of these tips:
A soil test will show you what your lawn really needs. The results will yield important indicators relevant to your lawn’s health, such as the pH of your soil. Fertilizer recommendations can help you steer clear of applying products that you don’t really need. Most importantly if a soil test indicates your lawn is low in phosphorus, then you should be applying some fertilizer.
Cool season grasses do best when fertilizer is applied in the fall months. The extra nutrition helps these types of grasses to further develop their root system. If fertilizer was applied in the spring you’ll find yourself mowing more often with a less healthy turf. For warmer season grasses fertilizer should be applied in the spring, just make sure the temperature of the soil has warmed up about 20 degrees above freezing.
Slow and steady
Apply slowly releasing fertilizer to prevent your lawn from being overloaded with nutrients and ensure that your fertilizer will contribute to a healthy root growth. Be sure that at least one-third of the nitrogen content in your fertilizer of choice is of a slow-release variety.
Apply on a sunny day
Spreading your fertilizer around the day before a big rainstorm is not your best bet. Not only will this contribute to chemical runoff, allowing fertilizer to accumulate in nearby lakes and streams, but it will also wash away all those valuable nutrients that could be doing work for you and your and lawn. It’s just like washing money down the drain!