Grasses need nourishment just as animals or humans do. It’s not enough to simply water your lawn; fertilizer is important to provide the nutrients grass needs to grow healthy and thick. VIRIDIS Lawn Care of Utah wants to help you understand lawn fertilization so you have the healthiest, greenest lawn you can.
Fertilizing your lawn is important because it causes grass to grow thicker which can help reduce runoff, and increases grass’ drought tolerance and ability to combat weeds.
Lawns vary on how often they will need fertilized. Grass types and soil composition, as well as mowing, watering and other care practices can change the amount and frequency of fertilization needs. Thick, green lawns are receiving enough nutrients from clippings, soil or previous fertilization and don’t require more. Lawns with bare areas, excessive weeds and discolored areas would benefit from fertilization.
One fabulous source of fertilizer for a lawn is its own clippings. These clippings contain nutrients that the grass needs to grow and, if left on the lawn after mowing, will decompose, providing not only nutrients but also helping to shade and cool grass roots. Soil testing can help determine the lacking nutrients and fertilizer can then be more customized to meet the needs of your particular lawn. Three types of nutrients are common for lawn fertilizers. The first, and one of the most important is nitrogen. Nitrogen promotes growth and dark green coloration. Phosphorus is another important nutrient that promotes root growth and is especially useful for seeding. Potassium is the third common nutrient included in fertilizers. It helps the grass use water more efficiently and helps it withstand stress better. Often phosphorus and potassium are present in the soil in high enough quantities that little or no application of them is necessary.
Early fall is the ideal time for fertilizing. Once the growth stops, when temperatures average below 50°F, fertilizer should be applied. Don’t apply fertilizer if heavy rain is expected within 2 days as this can wash away the application. However, the lawn should be lightly watered (about ¼ inch of water) immediately following application to help the fertilizer reach the soil and roots. If fertilized during the summer, without adequate irrigation, grass can stall and stress. Some lawns will require multiple applications however, and may need one during mid-summer. Fertilizing in the winter is nearly impossible as frozen ground cannot absorb the nutrients. Doing this could even lead to runoff into water sources.
Some fertilizers can actually burn plants if used in excess. Nitrogen fertilizers should have no more than 1 lb per 1,000 square feet. Hiring a professional such as VIRIDIS Lawn Care helps insure that fertilizers are applied in proper amounts and at the best times to give you the most beautiful lawn.