They say, "the grass is always greener on the other side."
Well, it doesn't have to be that way. Not if you choose the right lawn fertilizer for your lawn and learn to apply it correctly.
In caring for your yard, lawn fertilizer is a key ingredient. It helps to provide essential nutrients and prevent excessive weed growth.
However, what most homeowners don't know is that fertilizer can be a double-edged sword. If applied improperly, it can actually do more harm than benefit to your garden.
So what's the secret? In this article, we'll go over the ins and outs of how and when to fertilize your lawn. By the end, your grass will be looking as healthy and vibrant as possible.
Choosing the Right Fertilizer
Ready to take your lawn to the next level? First, you must choose the right type of fertilizer. This might seem pretty overwhelming at first, with so many names to choose from and numbers to make sense of.
When walking into any store, you'll be sure to find big-name brands like Scott's and Miracle-Gro that use synthetic fertilizer. However, we strongly recommend opting for an all-natural, organic product. You can find ones like these in our PRO ORGANIC shop.
Synthetic fertilizers are bad for the planet, plain and simple. They contain a variety of harmful chemicals that contaminate your soil, groundwater, and hurt the micro-organisms living in the Earth. In addition, synthetic fertilizers heavily contribute to pollution. Significant amounts of fossil fuels are used in their production, releasing carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.
Synthetic fertilizers are also harmful to your yard. They often work too quickly and, with high concentrations of substances like nitrogen, can overfeed and damage your plants. Additionally, synthetic fertilizers deplete nutrients from the soil and lead to an excessive buildup of toxic chemicals in the ground.
On the other hand, organic lawn fertilizers are not only better for the environment, but also much more effective in encouraging plant growth.
Organic fertilizers work slowly. They allow plants to more gradually absorb the natural nutrients they need and ensure a season-long supply. They also help improve soil texture, enrich microbial life, and are free of dangerous ingredients, making your healthy lawn more eco-friendly and safer for plants, pets, and people!
When to Start Fertilizing
Now that you've chosen the right organic fertilizer for your lawn, it's time to get to work!
The best time to start fertilizing is in the spring — right around mid-to-late April. This is when plants are just beginning to blossom, the grass is just beginning to grow, and the soil temperature reaches about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. We suggest using a soil thermometer to check that your soil is at just the right temperature.
The slow-release organic formula should provide more than enough nutrients to last throughout the spring, into the warmer coming months.
Still, hot summer months can be tough on your yard, thanks to lack of rainfall, heat, insects, and foot traffic. The next time to feed your lawn should be about 6-8 weeks after the first feeding — typically sometime in June or July. Your summer feeding will replenish the fertilizer supply, preserve the health and color of your grass, and rejuvenate some rough patches.
Finally, the last fertilizer application of the year will be in early-to-mid fall. This will help strengthen root systems going into the winter months and better prepare your grass for the next growing season.
How To Apply Fertilizer
Now that you're all prepared, it's time to finally begin feeding your lawn! The process of applying fertilizer is quite simple and can be broken down into several essential steps.
Step 1: Purchase a Spreader
You should avoid dispersing fertilizer by hand since this often leads to inconsistent spread. Before your first lawn feeding, make sure to buy a mechanical spreader and learn how to use it properly.
There are two basic types of spreaders: broadcast spreaders (also known as rotary spreaders) and drop spreaders. When choosing one, be sure to keep in mind your lawn's specific needs.
Broadcast spreaders use a rotating plate to release fertilizers, scattering granules several feet to the sides and in front of the vehicle. This ensures consistent and convenient coverage of large areas.
Drop spreaders allow granules to fall through a narrow opening at the bottom of the device, allowing for a more precise covering of particular areas.
Step 2: Water Before Fertilizing
A few days before fertilizing, be sure to water your yard thoroughly. Sometimes, a nice rain can even do the job for you.
Having moist soil will allow fertilizer to more readily seep into the ground. However, if your grass has turned brown during a period of drought, avoid applying fertilizer.
Before feeding your lawn, remember to check the weather forecast. If you happen to fertilize right before a heavy downpour, much of the product might be washed away. Don't let your hard work go to waste!
Step 3: Feeding Day Preparations
First, prepare the mechanical spreader. Calibrate the rate-of-flow and other settings properly, and make sure the vehicle can be easily maneuvered.
Next, be sure to carefully read the instructions given on the fertilizer package in order to know how much product to use. When in doubt, use less, not more.
Step 4: Spreading Time!
Time for the main event!
When fertilizing, walk at a steady, moderate pace. It is essential that you remember to always push – never pull — your spreader.
Start off by applying fertilizer along the perimeter of your lawn. This way, you won't have to worry about missing any edges.
Then, begin moving inward, going up and down the yard in parallel strips. After reaching the end of each strip, close the spreader's chute and make the necessary turn. Next, reopen the chute and continue walking along the next strip.
You should keep going until the entire lawn is covered.
Step 5: Cleanup and Re-Watering
Congrats on finishing the job! There are just a few more things to do before calling it a day.
First, be sure to clean up any fertilizer that may have spilled or scattered into other areas like your driveway or sidewalk. Before packing up your spreader, rinse out its basin and clean the wheels thoroughly so that it'll be ready to go for next time.
Finally, water the lawn once more. This time, distribute water a bit more lightly than the first time around. The purpose of this second watering is to wash residual granules off the grass blades and into the soil. Again, make sure to check the weather forecast before fertilizing so that a sudden storm doesn't wash away all your efforts.
And that's it! At last, you can sit back, relax and watch your grass grow into a luscious sea of green over the next few weeks.
Oh, and be ready to do it all over again in a couple of months...
All in all, fertilizing your lawn is a simple process that you'll be confident doing in no time. And, by choosing an organic fertilizer like PRO ORGANIC Lawn Food, you'll be helping both the planet and your green grass. Plus, in the end, you'll have a lush lawn that will be the envy of all your neighbors.
For more on gardening, check out our Spring Gardening Tips and Philodendron Care Guide.