Fertilizing Your Lawn: The Do's and Dont's

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Keeping your lawn healthy is important. Not only does a healthy lawn look good, but it also helps protect your home from pests and weeds. Fertilizing your lawn is one of the best things you can do to keep it looking lush and green. In this blog post, we’ll teach you how to fertilize your lawn and give you some important tips on how to keep it looking great.

What is Lawn Fertilization and Why is it Important?

Lawn fertilizer feeds your grass and is applied to provide the nutrients needed in order for your lawn to be happy and healthy. Fertilizers always contain three main ingredients in this order on the label: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K). These three components are the most essential nutrients for any kind of lawn grass. Applying lawn fertilizer promotes healthy grass growth because it replaces the nutrients that naturally deplete from the soil over time. Lawn fertilization is important because it helps your lawn grow greener, lusher, stronger, and more resistant to bugs and diseases. Lawn fertilizer should be applied according to the manufacturer’s directions and should usually be done three to four times per year depending on your goals and what your lawn needs. Whether you get liquid or granular fertilizer, make sure to apply the fertilizer as evenly as possible to ensure fast, even growth.

Types of Fertilizer and What Each One Does

Fertilizer comes in several different types and formulas, but they all have one common goal: to deliver nutrients to plants. Nitrogen-rich fertilizers are one of the most common types of fertilizer, and they can be either organic or synthetic. Nitrogen is essential for healthy, leafy growth, and it helps to promote that vibrant green color we all know and love. Phosphate or phosphorus-rich fertilizers are another common type of fertilizer, and they are often used to encourage blooming/flowering and strong, healthy root growth. Like nitrogen, phosphate can be either organic or synthetic. Potassium-rich fertilizers are another type of fertilizer that is commonly used to promote the overall health of your lawn. Potassium is essential for water retention and disease resistance.

All three of these fertilizer ingredients are important for healthy lawn growth. You should choose your fertilizer based on what your lawn needs which differs based on your geographic location, grass type, and soil properties. When looking for fertilizer, remember to check the N-P-K label for the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium content. This label tells you the percentage of those three ingredients by weight, with the most common all-purpose fertilizer being a 10-10-10. This means the fertilizer has 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium, with the remaining ingredients being other nutrients and fillers. An easy way to remember the N-P-K content order is the “up, down and all-around” method. On the label, the first number promotes rapid growth (up), the second number promotes root development (down) and the third number promotes overall grass health (all around).

When to Fertilize Your Lawn – Spring, Summer, and Early Fall

When it comes to fertilizing your lawn, the timing is everything. Of course, the other important factors to consider are the type of grass you have and what kind of fertilizer you choose to use. The type of fertilizer you use, organic, synthetic, slow-release, or instant, will play a significant role in when you should fertilize your lawn.

Feeding your lawn in the spring is very important because new grass growth flourishes with the nutrients provided by fertilizers. As a general rule, you should fertilize your lawn when at least half of the dormant grass is green again. For most cases, you should apply a slow-release, nitrogen-rich fertilizer at the start of spring and summer. Summers can be lawn killers because of intense heat, little water, insects, and increased foot traffic. Unless you have cool-season grasses, use a slow-release fertilizer when summer starts to help keep your grass strong all season long.

It is vitally important to fertilize your lawn is in the early fall when the grass begins storing nutrients for the winter unless you have warm-season grasses. Using nitrogen and potassium-rich, slow-release fertilizer before it starts getting too cool will help your lawn stay fed until the upcoming spring.

If you’re using organic fertilizer, it’s best to apply it in early spring and every six to eight weeks afterward. A good rule to follow is fertilizing when your grass is growing the fastest, so you are supporting the natural growth cycle of your grass, whether it’s cool-season grasses or warm-season grasses.

How to Apply Lawn Fertilizer: The Dos and Don’ts

Applying fertilizer to your lawn is an important part of maintaining a healthy and beautiful yard. Here are the basic dos and don’ts on how to fertilize your lawn: 

Always use a spreader when applying fertilizer, whether it’s handheld, broadcast, or a drop spreader. This will help ensure an even distribution of the fertilizer. We suggest using an overlapping pattern when spreading fertilizer by making one complete pass vertically across your lawn and, if needed, a second pass horizontally. Remember to clean your spreader before storing it to reduce dirt and chemical buildup.

Apply fertilizer to dry grass to reduce your chances of leaf or fertilizer burn. Fertilizer burn can also be caused by overfertilizing, especially if you use synthetic fertilizers. Leaf burn is characterized by yellow or brown spots that turn into dry, crunchy leaves and are easily spotted as the lawn grass dies and browns.

Be sure to thoroughly water your lawn after fertilizer application. This will help the nutrients reach the roots of the grass and prevent fertilizer burn. If you can, try to plan on fertilizing your lawn on a day that has light, steady rain in the forecast so you can use nature instead of your sprinkler to help nutrients seep into the soil. But beware of heavy rains or your fertilizer will wash away.

Tips for Keeping Your Grass Healthy and Green

Fertilizing your lawn is an important part of keeping it healthy and green. However, it’s also important to know how to care for your lawn after fertilizing. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Water regularly. Fertilizer can cause grass to grow more quickly, so it’s important to water regularly to prevent the grass from drying out.
  • Mow regularly. Mowing helps to keep grass healthy by removing dead leaves and blades. It also helps to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Aerate the soil. Aerating the soil helps to improve drainage and prevents compacting. This is especially important if you live in an area with heavy clay soils.

Lawn fertilization is an important part of keeping your lawn healthy and green. The different types of fertilizer each serve a specific purpose, so it’s important to understand what your lawn needs compared to the type of fertilizer you’re using before you begin application. Once you know how much and what kind of fertilizer your lawn needs and when to apply it, the process is relatively simple. Just make sure you use the right tools and follow our tips for keeping your grass looking great after fertilizing. If you need help with lawn fertilization in central Arkansas, give us a call – we would be more than happy to make your lawn amazing.

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