Most lawn owners agree that you must mow and water your lawn to maintain its health. However, some question whether or not their lawn requires fertilizer. They shouldn’t. Fertilizing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to improve a lawn. A balanced diet is important for people and animals to sustain good health. This holds true for your lawn as well. You should fertilizer your lawn at least twice a year and preferably 3 to 5 times a year. This will provide a consistent and healthy diet for your grass. Your grass is competing with weeds, as well as neighboring trees and shrubs, for nutrients and water. Because of the demands that are placed on lawns, they must be fertilized.
Some of the benefits of a properly fertilized lawn include:
- Good color, density and vigor
- Resistance to insects, weeds and diseases
- Handles stress and damage better
Ask anyone who really knows lawns and they will tell you that the three most important parts of proper lawn maintenance is sunlight, proper watering and the right fertilizer. What you may not know is that your choice of fertilizer is just as important as how you use it. Depending on what region of the country you live in, certain varieties of grass grow better than others and you need to make sure you are using the right fertilizer, at the right strength and in the right intervals, for your particular type of grass. Otherwise, you may end up throwing all of that money you spent on fertilizer right down the drain.
There are three main ingredients that make up any good store bought or home made lawn fertilizer: phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium. Pretty much every fertilizer you can find will have some combination of those three ingredients, but it is up to you to make sure you utilize the right combination since too much nitrogen can lead to fungus growth that can kill your lawn dead.
Each of the three major ingredients in lawn fertilizer serves a different purpose. Nitrogen is what gives your lawn that rich, thick, healthy growth and also the deep green color you long for. Phosphorous works where you can’t see it by making the root system of your grass strong and healthy. Finally, Potassium isn’t just good for your body, it is good for your grass, too. It helps to boost your lawn’s immune system by keeping it resistant to wear, tear, disease, and weather related issues. Together, they provide an unbeatable level of protection, but just like with anything, too much of a good thing can turn bad in a hurry.
If you haven’t been to your local garden shop before and you are looking to purchase just the right fertilizer for your lawn, you’ll need to know what “number” your lawn is. When you head to your local garden shop, you’ll notice row after row of fertilizer that lists three numbers in a “10-10-10” pattern. These numbers are the nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium percentage of that fertilizer. Once you know your lawns recommended number, shopping for fertilizer will be easy.
In addition to knowing the type of grass you have, you will also need to take note of a few other major factors that will affect your lawn. The treatment you give your grass will be dependent on how much direct sunlight it has, how much watering you plan on giving it, the type of soil it is being grown in and the type of climate you have. Make sure you take all of these factors into consideration before you start buying bags and bags of fertilizer.
The most popular type of fertilizer in use today is granular fertilizer that you sprinkle over your lawn every few weeks. The crystals slowly break down over time and release the nutrients your lawn needs over time. You can also buy liquid fertilizers that you combine with water and spray on your lawn, as well as organic fertilizers or even fertilizers that you make yourself. You really have many different options depending on how much time you have to dedicate to keeping your lawn rich and beautiful.
This site discusses how and when to fertilize your lawn. Learn how to avoid burning your lawn with nitrogen. We discuss the types of fertilizers you can apply and if you should throw pesticides into the mix. The fertilizer you choose often depends on the type of grass you have, but sometimes lawn soil determines which fertilizer to use.
Tip: To prevent grass from growing fast and causing more mowing, use a slow-release fertilizer to steady the rate at which your grass grows.
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