How often to fertilize a Lawn?
You want to nurture your lawn and shower it with some fertilizers, but you’re not sure how and when? Don’t worry. I got you covered. No doubt, it’s a fantastic serene feeling when you see your lawn in full bloom and well-maintained. We will be your guide on how frequently you should fertilize your lawn and possibly answer all your relevant questions.
Why should you fertilize your lawn?
A beautiful sight provides tranquility to one’s body and mind. It improves mental well-being.
Fertilizing your lawn is healthful in the long run. Don’t you love that lush green piece of nature speaking of your success with its mere existence? Indeed, if properly taken care of, your hard work won’t go in vain.
- Regular application and maintenance give a beautiful appearance and balanced growth. Frequent mowing, when required, keeps it in good shape.
- Timely fertilization gives it the elements it requires to grow.
- Choose a professional and good quality fertilizer for your grass containing nitrogen and other sufficient elements as they boost the growth and maximize the benefits.
- Fertilizers are cost-effective. You don’t need to spend hefty amounts of money on it. A single bag could go a long way. (depending on size and type, though)
What do the fertilizers have?
Fertilizers enhance the characteristics and quality of the soil. There are three essential components of fertilizer; these are; Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Fertilizer has zinc, magnesium, and other Micronutrients. All these nutrients are vital for plant growth.
Primarily three things serve as a source of these nutrients. They are derived from wastes, mostly sewage or industrial waste, virgin raw material, or decayed organic matter.
Fertilizers with a controlled amount of certain elements are also necessary as their excess can cause damage to the crop. These elements include cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, arsenic, selenium, and molybdenum.
Do a Soil Test!
A soil test would be very beneficial as it will help you decide the right kind of fertilizer according to your soil. Always test your soil before fertilizer application or Dig a small portion put it in a plastic bag and send it off for testing.
Soil tests tell you about your soil’s pH, which dictates the type of grass or plants that can grow in that soil. High pH soils require fertilizers containing sulfur to balance out the basic effect of the soil.
Grading of Fertilizers:
It’s essential to know the grading of the fertilizer you’re going to buy. There’s a certain percentage of concentrations of nutrients. The labels have numbers and dashes between then them. The percentage of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen are labeled on the bags. These percentage values are called fertilizer analysis.
When to use fertilizers?
The appropriate time to fertilize your lawn depends on the type of grass. Use fertilizer when your lawn needs it. Otherwise, it would have a harmful effect on it as excess nutrients can also damage the grass. Both warm-season and cool-season grasses have different times for application.
Warm-season grasses grow actively during the summer season. The best time to apply these fertilizers is in May, June, October, and September. Complete fertilizers (14-14-14 NPK rating) are best to apply in May, as Potassium, nitrogen, and Phosphorus are effectively absorbed in the soil.
Cool-season grasses like fescues, bluegrasses actively grow in the fall and spring seasons. N fertilizer works the best. Growth is relatively slow compared to warm seasons. N fertilizer has all the essential components, i.e., nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, best for cool-season grasses.
But, how often should they be used?
There are specific rules to follow regarding the frequency of use of fertilizer. I shall list down below when to fertilize your lawn based on few practices and according to the different types of fertilizers in use.
Application of Fertilizer:
Slow-releasing fertilizers are best to be applied approximately four times a year. These slow-release fertilizers gradually release nutrients into the soil over weeks.
Apply your fertilizer when the grass is growing. The best time to apply is before the start of the season. Like I described before, the peak growth period should be taken advantage of for each cool-season grass and the warm-season grasses.
Fertilizers should be applied when the grass has just started to appear at the start of their respective seasons.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a temperature at which the soil absorbs more, and you begin to see them sprout. Usually, it’s 13 degrees Celsius, when it is the right time to distribute the fertilizer. To test the soil temperature, you can buy a lawn thermometer and measure the temperature before distributing the fertilizer.
Types of Fertilizers:
Generally, there are two types of fertilizers, synthetic and organic.
- Organic fertilizers:
- Organic fertilizers originate from a plant or animal source. These fertilizers are sustainable for long periods and slowly release the micronutrients. For long-term stability, slow-release should be your go-to choice.
Synthetic fertilizers, on the other hand, are made in the laboratory. Strong as compared to organic; they are great for the grass but not the soil. They tend to weaken the soil. Organic is slow-releasing fertilizers. So if you want to have a rapid growth of grass, synthetic is good.
You can also go with synthetic fertilizer in the initial round and then switch to organic ones.
Ideal fertilizer comprises of 20-5-10 NPK rating.
Frequency of Water:
Water is necessary to be sprinkled before and after the application. Make sure not to underwater or overwater the lawn. Overwatering can lead to washing away of nutrients, whereas under-watering is insufficient for the soil.
Fertilizers that are granular stick to the turfs of grass and hence require a small amount of water.
Frequency of fertilizer application:
After applying for the first round, a minimum of 6-8 weeks is fine to wait until the next application. Similarly, repeat these rounds of application two more times with a gap of 6-8 weeks.
If your lawn is already in bloom, try to fertilize it four times every season. A lawn that has worn out grass or is yet to be established will require more fertilizer applications.
I think it would be best if you schedule your applications seasonally so that you maximize productivity.
How to fertilize your lawn?
I’ll write down a simple regime to follow which will help you fertilize your lawn; it will take only 30 minutes of your time.
- Measure your lawn:
Measure your lawn first so that you could evenly spread calculated amounts of fertilizer. In this way, you would also provide a good and evenly distribution of the fertilizer.
- Mow your Lawn:
It is best to mow your lawn a few days before applying the fertilizer.
Water your lawn before applying fertilizers to your lawn. It’s necessary that the grass is damp and holds a good amount of moisture. Wet grass and soil are ready to take in the fertilizer in an appropriate quantity. So make sure you’ve provided good watering.
- Spreader Time!
I advise you not to use your hand for spreading the fertilizer. Instead, use a specially designed spreader for that purpose. Different companies are making their spreaders, so make sure to go through the manual and set the spreader’s coverage accordingly. The two types of spreaders most commonly used are the drop and the broadcast. Drop spreaders drop evenly in a row, whereas broadcast drops in a fan-like pattern, more like sprinkling the product.
- Apply the Fertilizer:
A piece of helpful tip! Start by first applying around the periphery of the lawn. In this way, you won’t be worried about the edges. When filling within the edges, move in straight lines, back and forth, and then move perpendicular to the initially created pattern. Water the lawn post-application as well. About ½ inch of watering is excellent for the lawn post-application.
After distributing the required quantity of fertilizer, store the remaining for future purposes. Make sure to keep it in a cool, dry place. It should be kept away from the reach of children and animals or pets.
Which type of fertilizers your grass needs?
Do you want that soft green carpet for yourself? The right amount and type of fertilizers give you a beautiful bloom. So let’s get into what type of fertilizers are ideal for different types of grasses. When talking about Fertilizers, nitrogen is the primary and vital component used in high concentration compared to other nutrients.
High nitrogen content is very beneficial for the growth of grass. Phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium are active nutrients that contribute significantly to the nourishment of grass. Professional fertilizer would contain these three components Ammonium nitrate is a high-nitrogen fertilizer. It actively helps in growth.
I’ll describe the two types of fertilizers.
As the name indicates, slow-release fertilizers remain in the soil for an extended period and slowly impart nutrients over longer periods. These provide steady and substantial growth over the year as they gradually release nutrients over weeks. These are preferred over quick-release fertilizers as they don’t reach out and nourish the roots while being in the grass’s root zones. 2 pounds of nitrogen is sufficient for a thousand square feet of land annually.
The nutrients of quick-release fertilizers instantly penetrate the soil and start working immediately. They give you tall grass in no time. However, if not used properly, these nutrients can be damaging to the health of the plant.
On the brighter side, quick-release fertilizers efficiently fill in the lost nutrients of soil which restores the plant’s health. If used in excess, these fertilizers can make the grass vulnerable to insects, pests, and drought or lawn disease. They are especially hazardous in moist soils as they cause char-like damage to the grass, giving it a brown discoloration. The discoloration can be visible from afar in the form of large patches.
As we say, ‘too much of anything can make you sick. Similarly, over-fertilization is hazardous. I’ll list down a few damages below.
As I mentioned above, the consequences of using quick-release fertilizers cause burning to the grass. Chemical burning is a result of excess fertilizer use. Fertilizers bury deep down the soil and get deposited as salts, and become so hard that even rainwater can’t wash them away.
Damage to other organisms:
Different insects, plant species inhabit green spaces. The harmful chemicals kill earthworms, symbiotic organisms, and other herbs. It promotes the production of thatch, potentially a breeding ground for different pests and harmful weeds. Development of thatch also prevents nutrients, essential salts, and water from reaching the grass root levels.
You might be wondering how that is possible. Well, let me link the chain of events for you. When the grass is given a lot of fertilizer, it eventually becomes dependent on its high concentrations. So when it rains, the excess gets carried away with the water to drain systems and thus acts as a water pollutant.
Improper Root Development:
Roots essentially need something that could reach down to their level. In the case of over-fertilization, roots don’t develop as they don’t get the nutrients or water at all and thus, remain small. Grass blades develop over time, taking the place of these roots and getting lush instead.
Plants are like your children. They require care and attention. There are specific rules to follow when fertilizing your lawn. The right and appropriate amount of fertilizer can give you the lush green grass you aim to achieve. Knowing when, how, and where to fertilize the lawn is essential to know.