When you choose to fertilize your lawn, there will be a number of things to consider that will help you choose the best option. First, with the growing impact that we have on the environment, it is worth the effort that may be required to look into environmentally friendly fertilizers. It is also important to think that many of the “green” fertilizers may actually be gentler on your lawn.
The first thing you can do is to assess the state of your lawn. You may need to treat your lawn with a weed-and-feed and then follow-up with a pre-emerge weed killer. While a well-chosen fertilizer for your specific situation will help your lawn to grow, if there are unwanted plants in the lawn they will have a negative impact on the growth of the grass you want.
In fertilizer, there are a few main components and their ratio will be determined by your lawn’s condition. They are potassium, which helps your plants to be healthy overall, and nitrogen, which is important for the leaves or “top growth” of a plant. Phosphorus is essential for the development of healthy cells and roots. In general you will want a consistent quantity of this component, possibly supplementing the amount when seeding or putting in fresh grass.
You can choose weighted ratios of nitrogen and potassium based on the following. If you have a healthy lawn and there is no damage or recurring shock to the lawn, such as drought, disease, etc. and you want to accelerate or promote the top growth, then you can choose a 2:1 ratio of two parts nitrogen and one part potassium. This will help your lawn produce a thick and lush top growth and provides nutrients which help develop a healthy and hardy root of the plant system. If the lawn has experienced damage as a result of drought or some other external shock, you can return the plant back to health by fertilizing the lawn with a 2:1 ratio of two parts potassium to one part nitrogen.
At first, it is recommended that you choose a pre-mixed fertilizer with the ratio that you need for your lawn. The pre-mixed fertilizers provide additional components like the phosphorus that will ensure that your lawn receives the well-balanced fertilization that it needs.
Once you choose your fertilizer, the next most important choice in fertilizing is the delivery system. You can begin your choice by dividing fertilizers into two types: liquid and granule. These ensure that the fertilizer is delivered effectively to the most needed area of the lawn and to the most needed area of the plant. Liquid fertilizers can provide some definite benefits which include rapid delivery compared to dry fertilizers and ease of delivery compared to granule fertilizers.
You should not think of granule fertilizers as ineffective though; today some are manufactured with an encapsulation technique that creates a balance of the components in each granule resulting in a controlled pH level for the contents of each granule. They can be spread evenly and easily with a broadcast spreader and they are generally water-soluble so rain or water can unlock the fertilizers and begin delivering the content to the plants. You may be able to dissolve the granules and spray the resulting liquid on the lawn, but consult the directions for the particular fertilizer that you choose.