Early spring brings the whirl of fertilizers from weekend gardeners. And while there is a certain nostalgic obligation to greet the new growth with a healthy round of nutrition, this is not a one-time undertaking that should be approached without thought. Fertilization, while beneficial, can cause future headaches if you’re not prepared for the consequences of your decisions. Here are a few things to consider before picking up the first bag of discounted fertilizer that you see.
- Correct Timing
Timing can make or break your lawn when it comes to fertilization. The first signs of spring growth mark the start of your fertilization cycle, but the rest of your schedule depends on your grass type, mix and the characteristics of your climate, or in Northern California, microclimate. As well, different areas of your yard may require different treatment timing and concentrations due to drainage, sun and soil conditions. Also, when calculating a fertilization schedule, build in a day or so after application to keep family, friends and pets from walking on the area.
- Correct Application
How you apply your fertilizer also affects your success. Hand fertilizing risks burning and patchy areas receiving nutrients. Broadcast, rotary and drop spreaders distribute better, but the design of your landscaping and prevalence of walkways and streets might make certain tools better than others. If you attempt to fertilizer your lawn yourself, you must realize there is more into your distribution investment than what’s on sale at the hardware store.
Also, water is essential for proper fertilization. Watering after fertilization avoids burning by rinsing fertilizer off visible blades and letting it soak into the roots, where effective nutrition takes place. And while watering after fertilizer may be more common knowledge, many don’t realize that hydration prior to fertilization is just as important. Drought weakened lawns fail to produce optimal results from fertilization efforts.
- Correct Mixture
There are many options for fertilization from various nutrient makeup, to those including weed control and a variety of organic materials. Many people don’t put the proper amount of thought into selecting a fertilizer for their type of grass, the growth they expect and the amount of maintenance this wish to provide. You must prioritize your requirements to avoid disappointment. Organic materials may provide a gentler fertilization, but you should also not expect the same results as from a concentrated material. Some concentrated materials may not be the best options for who grow edible components in their yards. Manures may contain weed seeds. See where we’re going? This is a complex decision that deserves your attention.
Give your decisions on fertilization the amount of attention they deserve. Consult with a professional to design the correct fertilization plan for you and your lawn.