The Basics of Feeding Your Lawn: Fertilizing Tips from a Pro

February 12th, 2013 posted by

Fertilizing Tips from a Pro

lawn fertilizer

Assess your needs

The first step toward good lawn fertilization is to have your soil tested if you suspect problems. A soil test will let you know what types of nutrients your lawn needs to develop the green, lush turf every homeowner is after. Your local garden center or county extension service can supply you with directions for soil testing.

A numbers game

Once you know what your soil needs, choosing a fertilizer brings on another question. What exactly do those numbers on the bag mean? The three numbers represent the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in each bag. Talk with your local county extension agent to determine which fertilizers best match your lawn’s needs. For cool season grasses fall is the best time to fertilize In the fall, cool season grasses are busy storing energy to make it through the winter and to spur growth in the spring. This energy storing process can’t take place if there aren’t adequate nutrients available. // “During the fall your cool season grass is busy recovering from summer stress,” says Dr. Van Cline, Agronomist for The Toro Company. “It’s important to reinvigorate turf following the high temperatures of summer by stimulating growth. By fertilizing in the fall you’re sending your lawn into the winter season in good shape. Once spring hits, it’ll be ready to go.” Cline recommends applying one third of a lawn’s total annual fertilizer in the spring and two thirds in the fall.

Think spring for warm season grasses

Warm season grasses grow most vigorously in the heat of the summer. Fertilizing in late spring and during the summer months is your best bet. “Feed your lawn when it is most active,” says Cline.

Twice as much is not twice as good

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when fertilizing their lawn is to over fertilize. More is not better, in fact it can be worse. Over fertilizing can stimulate too much top growth at the expense of root growth. Over fertilizing in a single application can also burn leaf tissue. “Read the label for your particular brand,” suggests Cline. “1/2 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet is a good rule of thumb for a single application.” Cline also suggests more frequent, lighter applications. “Many people decide to give their lawns a heavy dose of fertilizer in the spring. The process actually works better if you spread your applications out to three or four times per year in smaller doses.” (1 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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