Lawn fertilizer may not be one of the first parts of good lawn care that come to your mind, but it is crucial if you want a yard that will make the rest of your neighbors envious. Of course, learning how to properly use lawn fertilizer can be a challenge.
Choosing the Right Lawn Fertilizer
The first time I stepped into the lawn care department of my favorite home improvement store I was overwhelmed by the fertilizer options available. I had no idea which one to choose. After plenty of trial and error, as well as a good deal of research, let me give you some advice on choosing fertilizer.
First, you need to realize fertilizer comes in two forms: liquid and granular. Liquid lawn fertilizer is sprayed on your yard usually using an attachment to your garden hose. The liquid type needs to be applied every couple of weeks, but it acts fast. The only problem is the liquid is absorbed so quickly you may not be able to keep track of where it was applied properly. Granular fertilizer comes in a more solid form and is spread on your lawn with a spreader. After applying the granular form, you do have to water your lawn thoroughly. On the bright side, you can actually see where the fertilizer has been applied so you can fertilize the lawn evenly.
Besides these two options, you’ll also need to decide between organic fertilizer and chemical fertilizer. I always recommend organic fertilizer which are sometimes referred to as natural lawn fertilizers. Chemical fertilizers are sometimes high in salt contents which can actually destroy your lawn over time.
Reading the Label on Your Lawn Fertilizer
When you read the label, you’ll see a combination of three numbers. For example, you may see 24-12-10. Each of these numbers refer to the percentage of a certain element in that fertilizer. The first number (“24” in this case) represents nitrogen, the second number (“12”) stands for phosphorus, and the last number (“10”) is potassium. Phosphorus and potassium are important for root growth and disease resistance, respectively. However, if you want to achieve that lush green color, you want plenty of nitrogen in your fertilizer.
You may also want to look for “weed and feed” fertilizers. These lawn fertilizers combine a weed killer with the chemicals needed to make your lawn look beautiful. The combination will end up saving you time and money.
Applying Your Lawn Fertilizer
The biggest thing I learned from my experiences was the importance of reading the labels and following directions. Make sure to read that label BEFORE you leave the store. The first time I tried to use fertilizer I ended up making multiple trips to the store to buy more fertilizer and equipment because I hadn’t read the label earlier.
As far as when to apply that fertilizer, your best bet is at the beginning of the spring and again at the beginning of fall. Remember to water your lawn after application if you’re using granular – that’s an important step.
After you use the fertilizer, be prepared to watch your grass grow and grow. You will need to mow your lawn more often, probably twice a week instead of only once a week. However, the result is definitely worth the effort. You’ll have a lush, healthy lawn your family can be proud of.