Home green home: a guide to lawn fertiliser

Dog on a lawn with fertiliser
A well fertilised lawn is fun for the whole family! Photo: Taligatamas, Pixabay

Everybody knows that lavish lawn doesn’t happen on its own. Lawns require good care, constant maintenance, and proper feeding to look green and neat. Quite often, soil does not contain enough nutrients to ensure the growth of healthy grass during the entire growing season, which is why most people apply supplements, whether to provide better growth, control weeds or to recover the grass from foot traffic. To keep the lawn fresh and good looking year around, one must know which product to use, when to use it, how much of it and how to maintain the lawn.

Preparing the lawn

Before you apply any enricher, determine the type of the grass, meaning, identify whether it is a cool or warm season grass. Also, make sure to do a soil test to determine pH level. Depending on the alkalinity or acidity of the soil, you will be able to determine which product is best for your lawn.

Before choosing any, try to bring the soil to a neutral pH range (6.0 – 7.0) to ensure the optimal ingredient use from a fertilizer. Determine the size of the lawn to know exact quantities you will need because they are packed to cover specific square footage.

When to put fertiliser

Best time to nourish soil depends on the grass type. Cool season grass requires applying supplements in the fall, before the frost and doing it again in the early spring. Warm season grass requires nourishment in the spring, but make sure to time it properly so that grass can use the ingredients before the summer heat.

Repeat after the high temperatures drop. Organic gardeners, who avoid the use of any chemicals to prevent contamination of water supplies, say that lawns do not need stimulation at all. However, there is a great choice of organic fertilizers on the market that are safe for the environment.

Which fertiliser to use?

Depending on the grass type and your preferences, there is a variety of products on the market. Manufacturers have taken care of tailoring their products for appropriate use and any time of the year. Read the labels carefully since there is a lot of mixtures that contain herbicides and prevention formulas for weed. If in doubt, go for the slow-release fertilizers with a usual amount of nitrogen. Instead of sprinkling supplements on the lawn every four weeks, slow-release products require application every 6-12 weeks. Amount of nitrogen affects the shade of green grass, so if the grass is dark green, know that there is too much of nitrogen. Also, nitrogen boosts the grass growth, so make sure to determine the right amount to make your grass greener without growing too fast. For an easy and even application, go for the granules.

Don’t overdo

It is highly recommendable to follow manufacturers instructions, but be careful when it comes to application rates. The manufacturer’s labels may suggest higher frequency and quantity than necessary since they aim for a bigger sale. There is no need for excessive fertilizing. Start with half of the recommended dose and if you don’t like the results, increase the dosage. As mentioned above, the dark green colour of the grass implies a greater amount of nitrogen. Although it does look fabulous, keep in mind that some of the chemicals have ended up on the and sewer system and contaminated environment. Good looking and healthy lawn usually has light green colour, so make sure you don’t go overboard.

Water the lawn

Some soil supplements require watering the lawn before application because granules need water to break down and release the ingredients. However, keep in mind that the more you water the lawn, the more nutrients your grass will need. Water makes the grass grows, so more growth means a bigger demand for different ingredients. Make sure to follow instructions since every fertilizer has different watering requirements, before and after the application. Whether you use a soaker hose or sprinkler, you will have to fertilise the lawn every 6-8 weeks.

Take care of the environment

Even if you are not an organic gardener, take measures to prevent unnecessary pollution. Be nature-friendly even if you use chemicals. Be moderate when applying inorganic products, lower the dosage and make sure to remove any granules from the area around the lawn. Sweep up the granules that end up in the driveway, patio or street, because the first rain will wash them away and they will end up in streams and rivers. Also, check the weather forecast and make sure not to fertilize before the storm to prevent chemicals and nutrients run-off.

Conclusion

Keeping the lawn beautiful and neat is fairly simple and rewarding. However, take care while feeding the soil and take measures of precaution. Since fertilizers contain unsafe chemicals, make sure to wear a dust mask and goggles. Also, wear long pants, long sleeves, and rubber boots. Avoid application on a windy day and keep away from the lawn at least 24 hours afterwards. Ensure that your kids and pets do not get in contact with chemicals.