If you’re a new homeowner or you’re new to DIY lawn care, then it can be helpful to understand some basics about why lawn fertilization is essential.
Many well established lawns don’t have weed worries or some homeowners simply don’t want lawn fertilizers with pesticides. Lawns that are already thick and lush, have density that likely chokes most weeds out or prevents them from invading. But, a good lawn feeding regimen is critical to the success and upkeep of a vigorous green lawn - and that’s where lawn fertilizer (lawn food) comes into play.
Here are seven tips to help you give your lawn the nutrients it needs:
- A good lawn feeding regimen is critical to upkeep a green lawn
Contrary to popular belief, a lawn only needs to be fertilized once or twice a year. When this fertilization takes place depends on the type of grass in your lawn.
Cool season grasses, characteristic of the northern US, can be fertilized in spring or fall, but the best time to fertilize is in fall as grass roots will do most of their growing in the months prior to winter.
Warm season grasses which do most of their growing in warmer months and go dormant in the wintertime, can be fertilized in early or late summer.
In addition to following the appropriate schedule of fertilization for your grass type, mowing and watering regularly will promote a thick and lush lawn.
- Choose a lawn fertilizer with a high percentage of slow release nitrogen
Slow-release nitrogen is a nitrogen component in fertilizer which is in a form that delays its availability for grass plant uptake or which extends its availability to the grass plant significantly longer than a quick release nitrogen fertilizer. In short, this means it greens the lawn for a longer period.
Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient that lawns need to promote healthy, thick, lush green growth. It is also the main nutrient component in lawn fertilizers. When using slow release nitrogen fertilizer, it is important to feed evenly over an extended period of time. If the grass is fed too much nitrogen in a short period of time it can cause excessive top growth, placing the grass under stress, requiring frequent mowing.
- When it comes to lawn fertilizer - more is not always better
Instead of helping a lawn, too much fertilizer can have reverse effects, as it increases the nitrogen and salt levels of the lawn. This is a key contributor to fertilizer burn, a phenomenon characterized by patches of dead grass.
Although it may seem to help at the beginning, causing quick growth of your lawn, excess fertilizer can also create hydration problems as the grass blades grow too fast for their roots. The roots of your lawn can only absorb so many nutrients, and if the blades grow too fast, these nutrients will not be enough.
When applying fertilizer, make sure you pass over each area of your lawn only once, according to application diagrams on the product package. This requires paying special attention to sections where you make turns while spreading to ensure that you are not overapplying in these areas. Spreading fertilizer over the same area more than once may cause overapplication and potential fertilizer burn.
- Choose a no-phosphate lawn fertilizer formulation
Shop for a fertilizer formula that contains zero phosphate. The zero phosphate formula helps protect our waterways, as an excess of phosphate is what causes potential algae blooms. For example, a lawn food showing 27-0-5 NPK - the zero represents the product’s phosphorus "P" content.
- Lawn prep before fertilizing
Watering a day or two before applying grass fertilizer or timing your fertilizer application a few days after a soaking rain will provide the best result in your lawn. After the fertilizer is applied, be sure to water the lawn again if rain is not expected in the coming days. This allows the fertilizer to begin to absorb into the roots of the grass.
- Don’t put down lawn fertilizer during a drought
While it may seem that a fertilizer application will help bring your lawn back to life, applying fertilizer in the middle of a drought is a surefire way to kill your yard grass. A lawn damaged by drought is too dry to absorb fertilizer and the fertilizer will instead burn the grass.
- Grasscycling is always an option
You can leave grass clippings on your lawn when you mow. Grasscycling doesn’t cause excess thatch, nor does it encourage weeds to grow. Instead, grasscycling puts up to 25% of nitrogen back into the soil in a more natural way than using lawn treatments. Consider changing your mower blades to mulching blades that cut up the grass clippings into smaller pieces for faster absorption.
Another important thing to remember when it comes to mowing is that dull mower blades can cause damage in the form of browning. This could be mistaken for fertilizer overfeeding. At the start of each spring season, it is recommended your mower blades are sharpened to avoid grass damage.
Keep your lawn healthy with the steady-even feeding of GreenView Fairway Formula Lawn Fertilizer. With its patented nitrogen formula, GreenView Fairway Formula Lawn Fertilizer provides your lawn with a steady and controlled stream of nutrients for up to 12 weeks. This consistent feeding promotes even growth of strong rooted and richly green grass across your lawn. While it is often used in the spring or fall, this unique fertilizer can be applied anytime the grass is actively growing.