Adding fertilizer to your turf grass enriches the soil and creates a hardier, more beautiful lawn by replacing lost nutrients, healing damage from pests, pets and foot traffic and by promoting new growth and root health.
The most common types are dry, granular fertilizer and liquid fertilizer. Granular fertilizer, the most commonly used, is often slow-releasing and can provide nutrients for up to six months. Liquid fertilizers usually are quickly absorbed into the soil and easy to use with a garden hose or spray bottle. Both types come in organic and synthetic formulations. Note that synthetic fertilizers usually don’t work as long as organic choices but do often work quicker.
Some fertilizers are packaged for certain uses and types of grass. This makes it easy to distribute the right nutrients needed. Before you begin, determine what kind of grass makes up your lawn. A balanced lawn fertilizer contains equal proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. This is indicated by the nutrient ratios on the package. For example: 10-10-10. This particular ratio indicates that it is a good, general-purpose lawn fertilizer formula. Some types of grass in particular regions may require different formulations. For example, some lawns may not need much or any at all of a particular nutrient, such as phosphorus. In these situations, an unbalanced fertilizer is appropriate. Ask a Hardwarian at your local True Value hardware store if you’re not sure which to use.
Nitrogen helps grass stay green and thickly growing and is the most important of the nutrients to help grass grow well. Phosphorus keeps grass roots healthy and strong. Potassium keeps grass blades strong and resilient, protecting them from drought and damage from insects and disease.
Read fertilizer labels for proper application times, amounts and conditions. Apply only as directed on the package.
To ensure you are using the correct type of fertilizer, purchase a soil testing kit to determine your soil’s pH levels and existing nutrient levels.
Use a “starter” fertilizer for lawns less than two years old.