lawn fertilizer

471993.image0Lawn fertilizers contain three primary nutrients that are labeled in this sequence on the packaging: As par my friend at Liberty Lawn New Braunfels nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK). Fertilizers for flowers, trees, shrubs, edibles and more have different compositions, so always use the fertilizer specifically designed for grass for best results.

The NPK listed on a bag of fertilizer indicates the percentage by weight of each of these three major nutrients.  For example, a common type of all-purpose fertilizer is referred to as 10-10-10. That means the bag contains 10 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorous and 10 percent potassium. The remaining ingredients contain other nutrients and fillers.

NPK fertilizer

Nitrogen (N) promotes rapid growth and lush green color.

Phosphorous (P) helps develop healthy root systems. Starter lawn fertilizers have a high phosphorous count for this reason, while fertilizers for established lawns have a relatively low amount.

Potassium (K) boosts the overall health of your grass and helps with disease resistance, drought protection, and cold tolerance.

Tip: Remember these numbers by keeping “Up, Down and All-Around” in mind when reading fertilizer labels. The first number promotes “up” (rapid growth,) the second promotes “down” (root development), and the third number promotes “all-around” (overall grass health.

When & How Often to Fertilize

The best time to fertilize your lawn is in the fall while grass is growing and storing nutrients. Your lawn fertilizing schedule will depend on what type of grass you have and the type of fertilizer you’re using.

Tip: Before you fertilize, check your local weather forecast. Plan to fertilize just before a day of light, steady rain. You’ll save water and your grass will be well-fed.

Early fall provides cooler weather with warm soil and ample rain, creating the perfect environment for grass to develop strong roots and grass seeds to germinate.

Use quick-release weed and feed fertilizer to eliminate unsightly weeds without harming your grass. Avoid using weed and feed if you plan to reseed your lawn in the same season.  As a general rule, you can apply weed and feed in the spring and overseed in the fall and be safe.

Summer is hard on lawns because of heat, drought, insects and increased foot traffic. Feeding your lawn with slow-release fertilizer at the start of summer will help keep your grass healthy and green throughout the season. This is not necessary for cool-season grasses.