- Fertilizers provide nutrients necessary for plant health and growth, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are what N, P, and K stand for on bags of fertilizer. Nitrogen (N) is needed for healthy green growth and regulation of other nutrients. Phosphorus (P) helps proper roots and seeds develop and resist disease. Potassium (K) is also important in root development and disease resistance. When properly applied, the nutrients in fertilizers are absorbed by plants and little of these nutrients enters ground or surface water resources.
- Test your soil to find out what nutrients are needed. Contact us to schedule an appointment for your soil test.
- A soil test will help you understand what your plants require.
- Follow fertilizer label directions.
- Choose a fertilizer that has at least one-fourth of the nitrogen in a slow-release form, such as sulpher-coated urea.
- Mow your lawn frequently.
- Leave the grass clippings from mowing to decompose on the lawn. Annually, this will provide nutrients equivalent to one or two fertilizer applications. Set mower at 2 inches to reduce water use during hot weather.
- It is best to apply fertilizer when the soil is moist and then water lightly. This will help the fertilizer move into the root zone where it is available to the plants, rather than stay on top of the soil where it can be blown or washed away.
- Watch the weather. Avoid applying fertilizer immediately before a heavy rain system is predicted to arrive. Too much rain (or sprinkler water) will take the nutrients away from the lawn's root zone.
- Use the minimal amount of fertilizer necessary and apply it in small, frequent applications. An application of 2 pounds of fertilizer five times per year is better than 5 pounds of fertilizer twice a year.
- Calibrate your fertilizer spreader to be sure you know exactly how much material is being discharged in a given space. Follow instructions accompanying your spreader.
- When spreading fertilizer, cover ends of the lawn first, then go back and forth across the rest of the lawn, using half of the recommended amount. Shut the spreader off before reaching the ends to avoik over-application. Apply the other half of the fertilizer going back and forth perpendicular to the first pattern.
- Dispose of fertilizer bags or containers in a safe and state-approved manner.