In many instances our lawns are no different to ourselves – we all need feeding, without nutrients we will not be healthy or look our best, and going into autumn we all need to prepare for colder weather! Giving your lawn some love and attention before the winter hits will give it the best possible chance to stay healthy during colder months. 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.
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. Autumn is a particularly important time when applying lawn fertiliser as the type of fertiliser required is very different from that used during the rest of the year.
When to apply?
Most lawn fertilisers contain a blend of N (nitrogen) P (phosphate) and K (potassium). 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. This helps the root system to continue developing as we go into the winter without force feeding the grass plant.
However be careful as too much can cause disease problems such as Fusarium patch, a fungal disease which is difficult to control or cure and can seriously damage or kill your lawn. Lawn turf is most susceptible during to this during late autumn, winter and spring when heavy dew is present. Regular mechanical treatments such as scarification and aeration will provide a healthier environment and make outbreaks less likely.
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.
Remember that despite popular belief a professional lawn care programme is often as cheap as doing it yourself, but with the added benefit of the expertise of qualified professionals doing it for you while you sit back and relax. To see how a professional lawn care programme works visit this video link.
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.