The Facts of Fertilization

To keep a healthy, lush lawn, it’s important to fertilize regularly.

But you can get too much of a good thing, so know the facts of fertilization.

Because a lawn is a living, breathing organism requiring food, air and water, fertilizer should be regarded as a “vitamin supplement”, satisfying varying nutritional needs of the grass plant.

Choose The Right Fertilizer for the Right Season

bigstock-Tree-concept-set-113805587-[Converted]Proper and timely application of fertilizer, balanced to the seasonal conditions of your yard, is an important step in ensuring a healthy, thriving lawn environment.

Every 5 to 6 weeks during the growing season fertilizer application is recommended, but the type of fertilizer and frequency of application is dependent on a number of factors, such as watering schedule, maintenance practices, nutrient availability in the root zone and seasonality.

For example, in spring you’ll want to choose a high nitrogen blend to awaken and “green up” your yard.  During the summer, switch to a blend lower in nitrogen, but higher in phosphorus and potassium to maintain healthy nutrient supply to plant roots.  And in the fall, prepare for winter dormancy by with a blend that sustains root preservation.

Know Your Fertilizer Blends

Credit: Cornell Cooperative Extension

The 3 bold numbers normally shown on the front of a fertilizer bag depict the fertilizer grade, indicating the percentage of 3 primary ingredients that each bag contains Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). 

Each one serves its own special function to promote lawn health. 

To remember the benefits of each of these 3 ingredients, simply think Up, Down and All Around


Practice Good Application Skills

Occasionally you’ll see a lawn that appears to have different color stripes which can be attributed to improper application of fertilizer.  To be sure that your lawn color is uniform, fertilizer should be spread evenly.

Here’s an effective way to achieve that goal:

Overlap your fertilizer by applying half in one direction, and the other half in the opposite direction.  This will help insure even distribution and consistent color and growth.

Make sure to break up any clumps that might clog your spreader and disrupt even distribution.

And Never Fertilize on a Windy Day!

bigstock--124533374-[Converted]Track Your Progress

It’s a good practice to document fertilizer applications on a calendar posted in your garage or tool shed, noting blend description, climate conditions and dates applied.

This will prove to be a valuable tool as seasons, and years, progress.

And you might even want to snap a few photos as you progress to see the fruits of your fertilization!

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