How to fertilize your lawn to get the best results?
What is fertilization?
Fertilization is the process of maintaining or improving the fertility of the soil by providing the mineral elements needed to promote plant growth. Some soils are naturally more fertile than others, but even soils that have fewer nutrient needs will eventually become less fertile in the long run if they are not well maintained.
You can use fertilizers or soil amendments to get better soil fertility. Fertilizers and amendments are used to improve plant feeding conditions.
Fertilizers are used to provide the missing or insufficient nutrients in the soil while the amendments are mainly used to improve the physical conditions of the soil (soil structure, water infiltration, etc.) that indirectly affect plant growth.
Why should you fertilize your soil?
Plant fertilization is important because most soils do not provide the essential nutrients needed for optimal growth. Even if you are lucky and your garden has fertile soil, in the long run, your plants will absorb nutrients and your soil will become less fertile.
Do you remember the fresh herbs and beautiful tulips that you grew last year? It took the essential elements of the soil to build these plant tissues. By fertilizing your soil, you replenish lost nutrients and make sure you get the same results as last year. In addition, fertilization will help the soil to better resist diseases, insects, and weeds.
What are the main nutrients that soil needs to be healthy?
The main nutrients that the soil needs in large quantities are:
- Carbon (C): Plants get this nutrient through carbon dioxide in the air
- Hydrogen (H): The soil gets this necessary element from water
- Oxygen (O): This element is transmitted to plants through water and air
- Nitrogen (N): Nitrogen helps plants to make the protein they need to produce new tissue, but this element is rather rare in nature.
- Phosphorus (P): Phosphorus stimulates good root development and promotes the active growth of plants and flowers. To absorb phosphorus, the majority of plants need soil pH to be between 6.5 and 6.8.
- Potassium (K): Potassium helps strengthen plants' ability to resist diseases and other stresses (temperature change, etc.)
- Other secondary elements such as calcium, sulfur, and magnesium are also needed in smaller quantities to ensure the proper development of plants.
Since we cannot rely on nature to provide all the essential elements, some have to be added by you or even better, one of Vertdure’s experts. When you buy fertilizer, you will notice that the content of the N-P-K elements is indicated on each product. For example, if you buy a bag of fertilizer and the bag reads 12-2-6, it means that your fertilizer contains 12% nitrogen, 2% phosphorus, and 6% potassium.
In Quebec, it is recommended buying fertilizers that contain very little or no phosphorus. In fact, according to research carried out on Quebecois soils, the application of this element does not obtain the best results. During his visit, our specialist will conduct a soil test to determine if the addition of phosphorus could promote optimal growth.
How can I make sure my soil get the necessary nutrients?
The nutrients your lawn needs are mostly provided by fertilizers and amendments, but you can also practice grasscycling to meet the nutrient needs of your soil.
Fertilizer improves the nutrient input into the soil, which directly affects plant growth. There are several types of natural and synthetic fertilizers.
We recommend the use of slow-release fertilizers because they gradually release the required nutrients in small amounts over a period of time. This allows the soil to better absorb the elements it needs.
Soil amendments are materials such as bark, compost, and manure, which are incorporated into the soil to enhance its physical properties. Soil amendments will not necessarily provide a lot of nutrients, but they are useful for improving soil texture and drainage and for adjusting pH.
One of the best practices is to use organic matter in your garden, and the easiest way is to use compost. Compost is composed of decomposed organic matter from vegetable peels, leaves, grubbed grass, etc. You probably will not be able to produce enough compost to meet all your fertilizer needs, but it will save you money.
Grasscycling, as its name implies, consists in "recycling" the cut grass following the mowing of the grass and thus to leave the mowing residues on the spot. These residues contain nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, etc.) that will be absorbed by the soil. Grasscycling will allow you to save money on the purchase of fertilizers. It's simple and ecological!
How much fertilizer should I use?
In order to determine the right amount of fertilizer to apply, you first have to measure the area of the soil to fertilize. Fertilizer recommendations will vary depending on the amount of nitrogen a lawn needs per year, the type of turf and the area. Different types of herbs need different amounts of nitrogen to stay vigorous and healthy.
In Quebec, as a general rule, it is recommended applying about 1.25 kg of nitrogen and 1.25 kg of potassium per 100 m2. Therefore, you just have to calculate the area of your land to determine the amount of fertilizer to apply. It is very important to pay attention to the over-fertilization because it can damage your lawn and make it more vulnerable to pests (diseases, insects, etc.).
If you have any doubts about the amount of fertilizer to use, do not hesitate to contact us and we will be pleased to give you an estimate.
When should I fertilize my lawn?
The best time to apply fertilizer depends partly on your climate, but especially on the type of turf you have. It is recommended fertilizing during the season when your grass grows the most.
In Quebec, the best growing seasons are fall and spring, since it is at these times that grasses are in full growth.
The soil must be fertilized when actively growing since it is during this period of time that it will be best able to absorb the nutrients it needs.
How often should I fertilize my lawn?
There is no doubt that lawns need fertilizer, but mistakes are easy to make, such as applying the wrong nutrients or fertilizing at the wrong time. If you fertilize your lawn when it is not needed, you are wasting money and you could risk overfertilizing. It is better to use the services of an expert, such as Verture.
The lawn can only absorb a certain amount of nutrients at a time. Depending on the growth cycle of the turf, fertilizers are applied several times during the year, but in small doses. In this way, the plant receives, at the right time and in sufficient quantity, the nutrients it needs without causing damage to the environment.
If fertilization is required, the amount of annual fertilizer should be divided into three or more applications, twice in the spring and once in the fall.
How should I apply fertilizers?
Expanding fertilizer can be hard and time-consuming, not to mention spending on necessary equipment. Too much of it can cause the loss of grass, not enough, and you will not enjoy all its beauty. Finally, uneven spreading can disfigure your lot by giving it a bad haircut look. We strongly recommend that you hire a professional. If you decide to extend your fertilizer yourself, here are some tips to follow to apply your fertilizer.
- Make sure you choose the best spreader for your lawn. For granular lawn fertilizers or compost, it is recommended to use a rotary spreader or a gravity spreader. For liquid fertilizer, be sure to follow the product instructions for the best results.
- Apply a grass fertilizer around the perimeter. Feeding around the perimeter first will allow you to fertilize the rest of the lawn without worrying about missing any of the edges.
- Fill the middle. In order to obtain a uniform fertilization, it is best to apply the fertilizer in two crossed passages.
If you live near a watercourse or lake, it is recommended not to mow grass or to apply fertilizers near watercourses to reduce the risk of pollution. If you live near a lake, it is best to consult the standards of your municipality.
In conclusion, to ensure optimal fertilization and therefore good lawn growth, you must make sure you choose the right fertilizer and use the right amount at the right time of the year and in the right conditions. Not that simple right?
Seems Complicated? What don’t you entrust your lawn to EagleYard for a worry-free and work-free beautiful grass?