Lawn Fertilizing is a very important aspect of lawn care and maintenance. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, lawn fertilizing influences the grass color which has a major impact on how a lawn looks. It also greatly affects the ability of the grass to recover from all sorts of stress on it. Lawn fertilization (with weed, insect and disease control enhancement) also stops weed invasion and prevents diseases.
These are just some of the reasons that make it such an important aspect of lawn care and lawn maintenance.
There are 3 major nutrients needed by lawns, namely Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen is required the most, and the percentage of nitrogen contained in a fertilizer is always the first of three numbers on the fertilizer bag followed by phosphorous and then potassium, in that order. For example a fertilizer bag with the figures 20: 6:12 scrawled across it means that the percentage of nitrogen contained in it is 20 per cent.
Still you should be very careful about the quantity of nitrogen you feed to your lawn because too much or even the wrong ratio can cause excessive top growth, leading to a wide range of different problems for your lawn. Usually a ratio of 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn is recommended. The recommended ratio of Nitrogen to phosphorous and potassium is 3:1:2.
There are two different types of nitrogen that can be used in lawn fertilizer. One is the fast release nitrogen which includes urea, ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate amongst others. The other is the controlled release or slow release nitrogen, examples of which are urea-form. Sulfur coated urea and activated sewage. Each type has its’ good points and minus points as well.
For example many people like fast release nitrogen because of the quick results that it usually produces and achieves greening almost instantly. It also low cost and is the best way of providing your lawn with nitrogen when soils are cold.
The disadvantages of fast release nitrogen in lawn care and lawn maintenance is that they have a high likelihood of causing undesirable large flush of growth. It is also very likely to actually burn the grass.
Those who prefer controlled or slow release nitrogen do so because there is usually a much more uniform growth of grass. This kind of nitrogen also hardly ever burns the grass.
The problem here is that most slow release nitrogen fertilizers tend to be expensive and one may not see a quick color change of the grass. Probably its’ biggest disadvantage is that it usually does not work on cold soil.
Phosphorus and potassium are also important for effective lawn care and lawn maintenance. Potassium for example is used all year by the grass and is important for building up the heat and cold tolerance properties in healthy lawns.
There are other special lawn fertilizers which have various properties and more suitable for application during certain seasons. For example winterized fertilizers, as the name suggests are deliberately high on potassium and helps to increase the lawn’s tolerance to cold and disease. Usually they are recommended for fall application but can also be applied in spring.
Weed and feed fertilizers usually contain a type of broadleaf weed killer. For example it can contain a weed killer for dandelions which means that its’ best season for application is during fall. Others contain pre-emergence herbicide to control crabgrass. This makes it best for spring application.
Other fertilizers used include lawn starters which are typically high in phosphorous and are ideal for newly seeded lawns.