What is the Correct Fertilizer for My Lawn?

10017050_s-300x300[1]Lawn fertilizer is needed when the grass requires extra nutrients that are not available in the soil. By applying fertilizer, you’re enriching the soil so that the grass can develop strong roots and a healthy color. Fortunately, lawn fertilization is simple to do. Most homeowners can handle this maintenance step on their own, or they can hire an experienced lawn maintenance company for professional results.

So, how exactly do you choose the correct fertilizer for your lawn?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before choosing a lawn fertilizer:

  • Do you have cool-season or warm-season grass?

  • Do you prefer organic fertilizers or synthetic fertilizers?

  • When will you be fertilizing your lawn?

  • What types of nutrients is your soil lacking?

The types of lawn fertilizer available are:

  • Granular fertilizers – time release formulas for more control

  • Ammonium-based fertilizers – for rapid growth and color

  • Urea-based fertilizers – slow release formulas that feed the grass over time

  • Organic fertilizers – natural methods for growing a healthy, thick lawn

Both cool-season and warm-season grasses require regular feeding, so it really doesn’t matter if you’re growing Bermuda or Kentucky bluegrass. Both varieties require nutrients to be healthy and strong. Many homeowners prefer organic fertilizer over synthetic ones, especially if they have children or pets. There are many types of fertilizers on the market, so read the labels when making your selection. You can even find fertilizers that have a dual-purpose, such as those that control weeds and insects.

Fertilization is best done in the spring and fall seasons. You want to choose a time where it’s not too cold or too hot. When the weather is a mild temperature and the soil is moist, it absorbs the nutrients properly. It’s best to fertilize once every 6-8 weeks during the active growing season. If you don’t have the time, at least do one fertilization treatment each year: during the fall for cool-season grasses, and in late spring for warm-season grasses.

Finally, you should do a quick soil test to determine what nutrients your soil is lacking. A soil test will tell you the pH of your soil, which will either be too high, too low or just right. Most grasses grow in a pH level of 6.0 to 6.5. A pH level of 5.5 is acidic and requires lime to balance it out. A pH level of 7.0 is alkalic and needs gardener’s sulfur. Soil testing kits can be purchased from a local nursery, or request a test from a lawn company.