In some respects lawns are no different to humans – we all need feeding, without nutrients we will not be healthy or look our best, and most importantly, the appearance of spring after the long winter months is a real treat! Giving your lawn some love and attention as soon as spring arrives will give it a much need kick start and provide it with the best possible chance to thrive throughout the year. In order to keep a lawn in great shape we need to apply some form of nutrient to give the grass plant everything it needs for the full 12 months of the year.
What type of nutrient?
The type of nutrient you use and the time of year it is applied are critical – it’s all too easy to cause damage with an incorrect fertiliser programme. Whilst it’s very simple to quickly ‘green up’ a lawn with a high dose of nitrogen fertiliser, this is not sustainable in the long term and your lawn will eventually suffer. The worst case scenario is that it will die as a result.
The safest way to feed a lawn is to use the ‘little and often’ approach. This way your lawn will not become over fertilised, the grass plants will be able to absorb the nutrient that is being applied to keep them healthy (without causing excessive top-growth) and prevent other problems which can manifest as a result.
When to apply?
March is a good time for the first fertiliser application of the season. A blend of N (nitrogen) P (phosphate) and K (potassium) which the grass plant is able to utilise during the cooler spring weather is ideal. As we move through summer and then into the autumn, the blend will change to suit the time of year and the plant requirements; for example, past August refrain from using too much nitrogen and use more potassium. Professional blends of fertilisers often contain more than just the basic NPK and can be made up of carefully blended trace elements, organic nutrients and controlled release agents.
Here are our top 10 tips for applying fertiliser.
- Measure your lawn so you know how much nutrient to apply.
- Work out what variety of grass plants you have in your lawn – some grass plants such as fescues require less nutrient, where as ryegrass requires more.
- When you purchase lawn fertiliser check on the label that it can be used at the time of year you are intending to use it.
- Beware of fertilisers that might contain weed killer or moss killer – you may not need these extra ingredients on your lawn.
- Try using less than the recommended dose but more regularly – the `little & often approach’
- Never apply fertiliser during periods of drought unless the product is `drought safe’
- Always thoroughly water – in lawn fertiliser during prolonged dry periods.
- Choose a good quality, reliable fertiliser spreader/applicator and calibrate it before use so you know how much is being applied.
- Do not over-lap when spreading the fertiliser as you will cause dark lines through the lawn. Its far better to do a double pass at half the rate.
- Never spill fertiliser on your lawn as it will scorch or kill the grass. If you do make a spill clean it up quickly and drench the area in water.
To create a long-term sustainable green and healthy lawn sward it is essential to apply products which are relatively low in nitrogen and contain nutrients and organisms which work with the soil to unlock the full potential of your lawn. lawns are like people and need to be given unique care.
Remember that despite popular belief a professional lawn care programme it is often as cheap as doing it yourself, but with the added benefit of the expertise of our qualified professionals doing it for you while you sit back and relax. A reputable independent lawn care company will provide you with a bespoke annual lawn care programme including nutrient application, weed and moss control and an array of other specialist treatments and services at really competitive prices.
That said sometimes it’s very satisfying to do it yourself and you can find top quality, value for money fertilisers at The Lawn Store.