As mentioned in our previous blog, one of the most important things you can do in your lawn maintenance program is to fertilize. Most residential turf is seeded or sodded over inadequate soil which offers too few nutrients to sustain a lush carpet of green. Over time, a vibrant lawn can deplete even the best soil base. Adding nutrients on a regular schedule is the one chore, along with mowing, which will result in a healthy patch of grass if done right.
Rescue and Long Haul Applications
If you recently bought your home and the lawn is looking a little peaked, it may need a quick, off schedule boost of fertilizer. Use a spray on variety that you apply with an attachment to your garden hose. If the grass picks up after you douse it with a liquid meal, you can relax knowing that the problem isn’t one of pests, fungi or any number of other ailments that require a different solution.
Once you’ve revived your turf, you should follow up within a couple of weeks with a long-term granular type fertilizer. By choosing a product with a slow-release composition, you avoid having the nutrients leach past the roots before they can avail themselves of the nourishment.
Choose the Right Time
If you only fertilize twice in a year, be sure to apply once in the spring before the full growing season begins. Then, as the cold weather moves in sometime in late fall, hit it again, so your lawn will have the fertilizer waiting for it when it first comes out of its winter dormancy.
Choose the Right Mix
Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K) comprise the most common nutrients for a healthy lawn. All turf builders come in various combinations of these three elements. Nitrogen promotes good color and leaf growth, phosphorus supports better root growth and potassium helps the grass use the nitrogen. Your particular grass type, soil type and desired results will determine which N-P-K mix to use. Most of our lawns contain several types of grass varieties. Each type has its special charms that, when combined with others, creates a thick, even surface when mowed regularly. You can identify your grass plants with this handy chart at Landscape America or this one at the Scotts website.
Don’t Overdo It
When it comes to lawn fertilization, more isn’t necessarily better. Too much fertilizer can burn the lawn and even kill it. Follow the instructions on your product precisely to avoid using too much. Supplemental feedings every eight weeks between the seasonal first and last spreading should be all your lawn needs. Use weed and pest control fertilizer mixes at the recommended times for maximum effectiveness against those enemies of turf vitality.