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If you want a rich and lustrous lawn, you’ll need to do more than give it the occasional once-over with the mower.
Proper fertilization is part and parcel of any worthwhile lawn maintenance routine so how do you go about it?
In today’s short article, we’ll give you some handy hints to feed your grass the right way so you can grab a glass of wine from the cooler and enjoy your garden party on a lush green lawn.
What Do You Need To Fertilize Your Lawn?
Luckily, the list of equipment required is short and sweet…
Think About The Type of Grass
Not all grasses are created equal.
Different grass calls out for different levels of nitrogen. While blue gramma or centipede grasses need 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn, Bermuda or tall fescue require between 3 and 6 pounds for the same area.
An easy way to sidestep any uncertainty is to take a soil sample to your local gardening center. They should be able to advise you accurately on the type or nutrient mix that will work best.
If there’s a range of suggested poundage, aim high if you live somewhere warm with a prolonged growing season. Go for the lower end if the climate is cooler and the growing season shorter.
What Does NPK Mean?
You won’t be able to escape the letters NPK on bags of fertilizer.
What do they stand for?
- Nitrogen (N) – Vital for growth and central to the chlorophyll plants need for photosynthesis, nitrogen also helps plants optimize storage and energy
- Phosphorus (P) – This helps with the structural growth of plants. Phosphorus also encourages roots to grow and promotes blooming
- Potassium (K) – Potassium is crucial for growth and development while also impacting upon the health and color of plants or grass
So, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the primary macronutrients needed for healthy overall plant growth.
A 15-15-15 mix would contain equal parts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The remaining 55% of the mix would be made up of inert filler.
Choose Your Spreader
You can spread fertilizer by hand but it’s time consuming and tends to result in more burning in spots where you use too much or brown spots where you miss a patch.
Liquid fertilizer spreaders can work but they are relatively inaccurate.
You’ve got 2 main choices when it comes to the most effective mechanical fertilizer spreader:
- Broadcast/Rotary Spreader: For large lawns, a broadcast or rotary spreader makes perfect sense. They work best with evenly sized granular fertilizers. The fertilizer is released onto a disc then thrown ahead in a semi-circular pattern. These spreaders come as small handheld models or more substantial push-along models. As long as you can walk at a brisk, steady pace, these bigger models throw out the fertilizer in an impressive 3 foot arc so you can get more done in less time
- Drop Spreader: Whether you opt for a granular fertilizer or you prefer to use compost, drop spreaders work best in open areas. You’ll need to work in straight lines overlapping each time for superior results. The fertilizer is pushed through a gap in the bottom of the hopper and hits the ground right below. You can get a push-along drop spreader or one you hook up to a riding mower and pull behind you. If you have a smaller garden, the push-along drop spreader is a wise choice
When Should You Fertilize Your Lawn?
The ideal time to fertilize your lawn is in early spring. Watch for the grass started to get greener then it’s time to strike.
The schedule depends on many variables including the type of fertilizer you’ll use, the type of grass and the climate.
Each bag of fertilizer will come with a recommended schedule so use this as a general guideline.
What Kind of Fertilizer Should You Use?
You’ve got multiple avenues of attack here with no right or wrong answer.
- Slow-Release Fertilizer: These are normally a little pricier but, on the plus side, you won’t need to apply them as frequently.
- Fast-Release Fertilizer: If you want results in a hurry, there’s no substitute for a quick-release feed. Remember, though, you’ll need to apply these on a regular basis in smaller doses. If you use too much fast-release fertilizer, you’ll end up scorching your lawn.
- Liquid Fertilizer: These are awkward to apply evenly and demand very regular application so, as we mentioned above, liquid fertilizers are not your best option.
- Compost: If you choose to use organic material like compost or manure, you’ll get a far lower concentration of nutrients. This means you’ll need to use much more to feed your lawn properly. The principal advantage of compost is the fact it’s natural with the added bonus of being free!
Extra Fertilizing Tips
Using the different types of fertilizer spreader is outside the scope of this brief article so we’ll assume that you’re confident in applying whatever fertilizer you’ve selected using your preferred delivery method.
We’ll round out with some general tips to maximize results without requiring any more effort…
- Watering: Give your lawn a thorough watering a few days before you apply fertilizer
- Drying: Ensure that the grass has dried out completely so you stand less chance of burning it
- Filling the Spreader: Don’t fill up your spreader on the grass. Use a cemented area like the driveway or path and you’ll be able to clean it up much more easily and you’ll also keep your grass safe from being unwittingly scorched before you even get started!
A Final Word
We very much this glimpse at fertilizing your lawn the right way has given you a sound overview of how and when to feed your grass.
We’re here to help in any way we can so don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you have any feedback or queries at all. We’ll always get back to you promptly and we’re delighted to help in any way we can.
Come back soon!