The most important thing you can for a lawn is to provide it with proper nutrition. Fertilizing is the cheapest and easiest way to make a big impact on your lawn.
Without fertilizer, most turf-grasses will struggle to maintain their vigor and color. Fertilizing increases growth, color, vigor, hardiness, thickens the grass and is the mainstay of having a rich dark lawn. If you opt to feed your lawn only 1 2 times a year, youre starving your lawn. A steady, regular diet is required. While fertilizing alone will not provide for a perfect lawn, it is one the five most important parts of lawn care.
Fertilizer has three main elements: Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potash. Each element has a particular purpose as to what it does to a grass plant. Nitrogen is the most used of the elements. It produces fast growth, dark color and helps thicken the grass. But a fertilizer that is high in Nitrogen and low in Phosphate and Potash will create too much top growth and not enough root growth or energy storage for recovery and over-wintering. A balanced fertilizing program for your lawn will include all three main elements along with some of the micro-nutrients also needed by the grass. Micro-nutrients are minerals like Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Boron and Sulfur.
Warm season grasses require more fertilizer than cool season grasses. For example, Bermuda lawns will need 1 pound of Nitrogen per month of growing season to spread rapidly and keep a deep, dark color. This will mean two or three more applications than Fescue lawns.
One last thing to remember is that early fall is the most important time of year to fertilize your lawn. It ensures your lawn stays healthy through tougher, colder winter months.
In order to determine the natural fertility and problem issues of your lawn, a soil test is the first step. A basic soil test usually includes analysis of soil PH, phosphorus and potassium levels. Knowing the fertility conditions allows you to make informed decisions regarding other aspects of turf fertilization such as fertilizer application rates and frequencies.
The key benefits of lawn fertilization include:
- Provides dark green rich turf color
- Keeps grass healthy
- Keeps grass thick, helping to keep the weeds out
- Nitrogen boosts growth and the green color of turf
- Potassium strengthens a lawns resistance to drought and disease
- Phosphorous feeds grass seedlings and turf root development