A Short Crash Course on Lawn Fertilizer

Originally posted on January 08, 2014

‘Feeding’ your lawn simply refers to the act of putting fertilizer on it. As with any living thing, the grass  on your lawn requires food for nutrition. In the case of plants, nutrition is a combination of sunlight, water, and plant nutrients, the last of which can be drawn either from the soil or from fertilizer. These days you can choose between organic fertilizer and synthetically manufactured fertilizer—each has its pros and cons, but basically work the same way.
If you've never fed your lawn with fertilizer before, here are some considerations to make.
Test your soil first
Before you even buy your fertilizer, it’s a must that you first test your soil to find out its excesses, deficiencies, and pH level. This will help you identify just what kind of fertilizer you will need for optimal plant growth.
Understand the fertilizer numbers
Check the plant fertilizer packaging. You’ll see 3 numbers on the label, indicating the respective percentage of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium. These three nutrients are the primary components to need to feed and keep a lawn healthy.
For instance, a bag of fertilizer marked as 20-5-10 (an ideal mixture for spring feeding) will contain 20 percent of nitrogen, 5 percent of phosphate, and 10 percent of potassium.
But what about the rest, you might wonder? The bag will also contain other filler material to facilitate balanced application.
Consider lime
Lime allows you to counter the effect of acidic soil. If your soil’s pH levels are below 6.0, it means it’s ‘sour’ and requires lime to counter the acidity. Lime is essentially chalk or crushed limestone, both of which are rich in calcium carbonate, another beneficial nutrient to the soil. Anything below the 6.0 level leads to necessary plant growth nutrients being bound up in the soil, keeping them out of reach of plants. What you get is turf with a loss of color, one that’s also more vulnerable to heat and drought.
 Use granules
When professional lawn care maintenance crews feed lawns, you’ll notice they just spray the fertilizer in a seemingly quick and careless manner. But, don’t be fooled. These people apply fertilizer every day, and they know how to apply an even layer of fertilizer on a lawn, with the help of the right equipment of course.
The next best thing you can do to ensure even coverage is to with granule fertilizer, applying it onto the
lawn with a spreader.
Start with a pro
The best crash course on lawn fertilizer you can get is from a professional lawn care service provider who’s done it for years. Sure, you’ll have to pay for it, but consider getting it anyway, at least for a sessions so you can learn the ins and outs of lawn fertilizer as well as the other aspects of lawn maintenance.
It’s a shortcut next to doing your own homework on the subject, but if you can spare for it, you’re bound to learn more than a few useful things on the art of lawn maintenance.