Written by Gene Caballero on April 16, 2015
Doesn't matter if you are paying a yard cutting business in Lebanon, Tn or performing all the work yourself but adding supplements to your lawn is the same principle as humans using a multi vitamin. The idea is to give your lawn the nutrients that it is missing, in order to ensure that you are maximizing your lawns growth and keeping it healthy. Proper supplementation can be crucial to turning an average lawn into the pride of your street. It's important to note that the key word in that sentence is "proper". Just like some multi vitamins have come under criticism, supplementing your lawn with minerals which it already has in abundance is a waste of your time and money.
The first and arguably most important step for you to take is to research your lawn. You want to know what your soil is missing and therefore find out what you need to add, instead of gambling with generalized supplements. You can do this by testing your soil with an at home soil pH test kit, which you'll be able to find at your local garden center or online. These tests are super simple and give you a better idea of what your soil is missing. Almost all of these kits include NPK tests, which measure the levels of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium in your soil. These are the main elements in lawn fertilizers.
Choosing The Right Fertilizer
Once you've found out these levels you'll be able to more effectively choose the right fertilizer for your lawn. When you look at the packet you'll often see that it's a 20-10-10 fertilizer or something similar. This represents the percentage of the product that is Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium respectively. You might be thinking that the numbers don't add up to 100 percent, right? Well, that?s because the rest of the weight is taken up by filler ingredients which are needed to ensure a correct spread of the fertilizer. So now you know your lawns levels, you know how to pick out a fertilizer but you'll also need to know what levels you need to reach, in order to decide whether you need to supplement every mineral. For Nitrogen the optimum ppm level (parts per million the concentration of the element), is in the 20's. This works out to around 70-100 pounds per acre. For Phosphorus ppm should be between 40 and 100. Finally, Potassium levels can fluctuate quite a lot but anything above 250 is good. When it comes to pH you?ll want to try and achieve a level of 6 or 7, which is roughly neutral and optimum for grass growth.
How To Fertilize Your Lawn
More and more fertilizers on the market are boasting that they are "slow release" which is exactly what it sounds like. The granules will slowly breakdown, releasing the active ingredients over an extended period of time. The point of this is to reduce the frequency with which you have to fertilize your lawn and hence reduce the time you have to spend on it. It's often much better for you to use granule fertilizer as opposed to a liquid spray, mainly because it helps to ensure that you get an even coverage. Sprays can be too easily affected by the wind, which will prevent you get that perfect coverage that we desire. Gardenaholic recommends 5 applications over the season, starting in mid-April or once your grass starts to grow, whichever is first. You should plan your 5 applications over the entire season, up until frost will set in; ensuring that each fertilizing session is equally spaced apart. When you're actually spreading your fertilizer you should be careful not to overdo it. It might be easier to start with your spreader on a "tighter" setting, i.e. letting out less. Then you can put half the recommended amount in and see how far it gets you, before finishing the rest appropriately.
Professional landscaping companies in Belleville, Illinois and all over the United States will agree that supplementing your soil is crucial to growing a gorgeous and healthy lawn but to enable yourself to supplement appropriately you will need to plan and prepare. If you don't want to conduct soil tests then you can also look at your plants for less accurate tell-tale signs. For example; light green or yellow plants and grass suggests a lack of nitrogen. However, the best method will always be to test, apply and retest. With the correct supplementation a greener lawn is within reach.
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