Now that it’s summertime, your lawn should be a vibrant green. Or that’s the theory anyway. If your lawn isn’t as green as you’d like it, maybe it’s time to up your maintenance game. Do you need to fertilize your lawn? If you want it to be as lush and green as your neighbour’s, you probably should. In this post, we’ll go over the basics of lawn fertilization.
Fertilizing your lawn will give it the proper nutrients that allow it to grow healthily. Fertilizer will reduce the occurrence of brown patches, increase shoot growth and deepen its shade of green. A properly fertilized lawn will also recover more quickly from heavy traffic and inclement weather. You’re also less likely to encounter weeds, diseases and thinning grass when you fertilize your lawn.
The main components of lawn fertilizers (and fertilizers in general) are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (also known as “NPK” which is derived from their periodic table chemical symbols.) There are often other trace elements and compounds to help with growth, but NPK will be common among all the lawn fertilizers you see on the market. Nitrogen helps the grass grow thick and green. Phosphorus helps root development while encouraging growth. Potassium works to strengthen cell walls which helps protect against drought, disease and pests.
Lawn fertilizers come in a variety of NPK ratios, so it’s important to test your soil to figure out which fertilizer ratio will work best. You can get cheap soil test kits at gardening centres or online. Some gardening centres will run soil tests for you. Granular fertilizers last longer, but also take longer to work compared to the more expensive liquid fertilizer. Take note of the weather forecast to avoid fertilizing before a heavy rainfall. Too much rain will wash the fertilizer away.
It’s recommended to fertilize your lawn every six to eight weeks during the growing season. In Canada, this means about four times a year: early spring, the beginning of summer, the end of summer and just before the snow flies.