Fertilizing your lawn adds nutrients the soil cannot adequately provide. Balance is the key to successful fertilization. Too much fertilizer causes disease, excess thatching, increased water costs and excessive mowing. Too little fertilizer promotes yellow, diseased lawns that are intolerant to traffic.
Most commercially available fertilizers contain Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K). Use a fertilizer with a higher portion of nitrogen in the mixture for rapid shot growth and healthy color. Phosphorous is also necessary for healthy lawns, because it stimulates healthy root growth and development. Potassium is also needed but is usually available in the soil, although an extra amount added through fertilizer is sometimes helpful. Iron can also be important for healthy lawns. It is usually most helpful where soil pH is high.
For a healthy lawn, follow these guidelines and consult your local nurseryman for more suggestions:
- Read labels of fertilizer for exact rates before application. Consistency of application is important.
- Application methods vary with form of fertilizer and type of spreader.
- Newly planted sod usually needs an application with some nitrogen (Ammonium Phosphate 16-20-0) fertilizer at installation and another application after 2 weeks.
- In the summer growing season (April – September) a high nitrogen fertilizer (Ammonium Sulphate 20-0-0) can be substituted. Apply every 4-6 weeks or as necessary to maintain color and vigor. A healthy lawn will have few weeds. A “Combination type” fertilizer works well throughout the year.
- Substitute a “Complete fertilizer” (or blend) 3 times during the growing season. The blend contains N, P, and K in varying amounts as stated on the bag. A higher portion of the N usually gives good results.
- Use fertilizer containing micronutrients sulfur, iron, magnesium, and zinc at least once a year.
- During the winter season if sod is over seeded use Ammonium Phosphate to fertilize.
- Note: Use Ammonium Sulphate in the summer and Ammonium Phosphate in the fall.