Fertilizers come in both natural and synthetic forms and are used to supply growing plants, grasses, and trees with essential nutrients. We carry professional grade liquid and granular fertilizers that are designed to stimulate healthy growth in lawns and gardens. We also carry fertilizer sprayers and spreaders to help you get the job done right.
Nitrogen is the most important nutrient for your lawn, followed by phosphorus and potassium. Different types of lawns require different percentages of these three main nutrients, and the time of year also impacts what type of fertilizer your lawn needs. Knowing what type of grass seed your lawn is made up of can help you determine your fertilizer needs. For example, high maintenance lawns made of grass like improved Kentucky bluegrass requires more fertilizer in a year than a low maintenance grass like common Kentucky bluegrass or hard fescue. Most of the time, you will find lawn fertilizers with certain percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, although there are many variations.
Types of Fertilizers for Lawns
There are many types of lawn fertilizers, and many formulas that behave differently once in the soil. Here is a brief list and description of different kinds of lawn fertilizer.
Fast release fertilizers can offer quick greening and is relatively inexpensive, but can burn grass and can cause grass to grow more quickly than desired.
Using controlled release or slow release fertilizers (often organic) will result in a more even and uniform growth and won’t burn grass, but is more expensive and grass will have a slower response to the fertilizer. Controlled release fertilizers are compatible with almost any lawn.
Weed and feed contains a broadleaf weed killer for dandelions in the fall, or a preemergent herbicide in the spring. It offers nitrogen and other nutrients as well as the weed killers to do two jobs with one application.
Winterizer fertilizers help to prepare lawns for cold weather and stresses and aid in disease resistance, and are often very high in potassium.
Lawn starter fertilizers are meant for freshly seeded lawns or newly laid sod and are high in phosphorus.
When Is the Best Time to Fertilize Your Lawn?
A good lawn fertilizer schedule should consist of multiple treatments per year. Knowing when to fertilize your lawn (which seasons) depends on what kind of grass you have, warm season or cool season grass.
• Warm season grasses – Fertilize just after spring starts, when everything begins to grow, and again towards the end of the summer.
• Cool season grasses – Fertilize right after the lawn starts coming back from winter dormancy. Fertilize it again during the beginning of the fall season.
It is recommended with almost any fertilizer to mow your lawn before treating it. Don’t wait more than a few days after mowing your lawn to apply the fertilizer. If your lawn is new, you’ll want to wait until you’ve mowed it at least a few times before applying the first treatment of lawn fertilizers.
Remember, only warm season grasses should be fertilized during summer months.
Liquid vs. Granular Fertilizer
Knowing what fertilizer to use depends on several factors. See the pros and cons of the two main types of fertilizer below:
o Pros – works quickly, actual chemicals cost less
o Cons – cost of sprayers, doesn’t last as long Granular
o Pros – lasts longer, lower equipment cost, easy to apply
o Cons – more lawn prep required (cutting & watering), cleanup from overspill
Applying Granular Fertilizers
If you’re using a granular fertilizer you’ll need to wet down your lawn (after it’s been mowed) thoroughly with the hose. Right after it rains, or in the early morning hours when there is still dew on the grass are also good times to apply granular fertilizers. With granular fertilizers it’s important to make sure your lawn is wet enough before, and within 24 hours after, the treatment so the granules can properly dissolve into the grass roots and won’t burn your lawn.
To spread the granular fertilizer evenly, you’ll need a spreader. Make sure to check the directions of the fertilizer you are using to know which number setting to adjust your spreader to.
The 3 main spreader options are:
• broadcast spreader (rotary spreader)
• drop spreader
• hand spread
Broadcast spreaders (Rotary spreaders) are good for larger areas where you don’t have to be as careful about overspill. Some rotary spreaders have side guards to help prevent overspill.
Drop spreaders are good for smaller areas of grass that line gardens and other areas where you don’t want to accidentally spread the fertilizer.
Hand spreaders are compact rotary spreaders that you can use to treat smaller areas.
Applying Liquid Fertilizers
Many people like to use liquid fertilizers because they are easy to apply, and work quickly. Applying them is simply a matter of using a liquid container that hooks up to your hose. Make sure to spray evenly.