Written by Gene Caballero on January 24, 2018
Which fertilizer brand is the best Scott's, Jonathan Green, Milorganite, Espoma?
Do I need to use a nitrogen rich fertilizer?
Does organic fertilizer really make a difference?
And why is my neighbor putting humus in his yard?!
So many questions come to mind, and they can make fertilizing your lawn seem like an intimidating task.
But here’s the thing, once you have picked the right fertilizer, spreading those nutritious granules through your yard can be fun, and the results can be astonishing.
Not all lawn fertilizers are made equally, and what is in some of the top rated fertilizers may just surprise you.
There are 3 main groups of fertilizers, though many fertilizers include properties from more than one of these groups, picking the best fertilizer starts with recognizing the 3 Key Fertilizer Groups.
The most common form of fertilizers on the market are NPK type fertilizers, these fertilizers contain specific levels of N- Nitrogen, P- Phosphorus, and K- Potassium. Each of these nutrients perform unique parts in the development of plants.
We have always been told that lime is good for the yard, but do you know why?
Lime and other calcium based fertilizers are in the pH balancing fertilizer group. A neutral pH of around 6.5 is the optimum pH for most grass varieties.
A neutral pH in the soil allows for the optimal absorption of nutrients, especially phosphorus, iron, manganese and several other key elements.
So I don't bore you to death, check out this link for more info and beautiful charts on the importance of a proper pH.
Most fertilizers do not include any pH fixing properties, so be sure to do a second fertilizer as needed to keep pH at the optimal level.
Over time NPK fertilizers acidify the soil, which lead to poor uptake of nutrients, this is why we have to adjust pH, and also why you need to look into adding humates to our lawn.
Humate contains a variety of components like humus, humic acid and fulvic acid.
Now before you start spreading tahini and chickpeas through your yard, it is important to realize that this humus differs greatly than the one from the Mediterranean dish. Fertilizers that contain humates are an essential and too often overlooked components to building a healthy soil.
Humates are essential for the uptake of nutrients as they contain metallic salts and nutrients, some of which even penetrate the mitochondrial wall of plant cells!
A healthy lawn requires not only NPK nutrients in the soil, but also a whole team of unseen organisms which create a kind of neural network that allow for the optimal transfer of resources from the soil to plant foots and beyond. These microbes include antibiotic producing bacteria which prevent disease, fungus that uses fine fibers to transfer nutrients from the soil to grass roots and on and on.
There are both organic and inorganic humic substances, the former being mainly the result of ancient animal and plant remains, the later a form made in a factory and largely seen as inferior to organic humates among both the agricultural and scientific communities. For a very thorough review on all the functions of humic substances be sure to check out this article.
For more on organic lawn care check out this!
Once you have decided on your fertilizer follow this guide to spread it properly.
|Jonathon Green's Green Up||12||
|Scotts Natural Lawn Food*||11||2||2||N/A||N/A|
|Safer Lawn Restore*||10||0||6||N/A||Claims to stimulate microbes|
|Dr. Earth Lawn Fertilizer*||9||3||5||N/A||Includes Probiotic|
|Epsoma All Season*||9||0||0||N/A||Includes Biotone|
|Scotts Turf Builder||
|Vigoro Organic Lawn Food*||7||0||3||N/A||Includes Terrazome|
|Jonathan Green Love Your Soil*||0||0||0||Yes||
*Organic ^Fun Fact- Though “organic”, Milorganite is made from recycled human waste from Milwaukee.
Many fertilizer companies offer a multi step fertilizer program which use a variety of fertilizers throughout the year to help you maintain a perfect lawn. When in doubt consult with your favorite fertilizer company, most are more than happy to help you find what you need.
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