Making Your Lawn Green

There are countless ways in which to get your grass or plants looking green and that also goes for there being a wide variety of different types of fertilizers. The first most important step in getting the plant green with an application is to always carefully reading and following what the label on the fertilizer says.

Don’t be fooled by trying to put down twice as much as the recommended does thinking you are doing your lawn or garden a favor. You’re not. Too much fertilizer can easily burn grass plants and negatively affect soil chemistry. We haven’t even mentioned the potential damage to the environment as well.

The best rule of thumb is if you notice that a label gives you a range of application rates the best thing you can do is go with using the smallest amounts. You can always add more if needed but if you put down too much fertilizer, the damage is done, and it’s too late to fix it.

When To Apply Fertilizer

The best time to get your spreader out of the garage and apply fertilizer is during the time that the plant is actively growing. Another great time is just before it steps out of dormancy.

Spring is considered the ideal time and fall is a close second.

Keep in mind that if you fertilize your plants in the fall, only use half the amount of fertilizer you would apply in spring. This is important. You do not want to use a fertilizer formulation with a lot of nitrogen because high nitrogen will encourage the plant to grow. Growing that late in the season will certainly lead to some or all of the plant dying in winter.

Don’t worry if you miss the fall window of opportunity as you can always get it next time. Plus, plants will not absorb any nutrients when the soil temperature drops below about 4 degrees Celscius.

As we mentioned earlier, the rate of application and how you go about doing that depends upon the type of fertilizer your acquire.

Time To Plant

Before you roll up your sleeves and get planting, be sure to incorporate fertilizers into the soil first. This will ensure that nutrients will be available at the root of the plants in time. This is exceptionally helpful for assuring the availability of nutrients that do not easily move through the soil. One such nutrient is phosphorus.

What you first want to do is spread the recommended amount of fertilizer on the surface of the soil. Then you want to rototill it into the soil about one-half foot to one full foot down. Make sure to do so as evenly as possible because large clumps of fertilizer can burn plant roots which is never good.

Another strategy is placing fertilizer right in the planting hole. This is usually done for slow-release organic fertilizer. You can really give your bulbs a boost by sprinkling a teaspoonful of high phosphorus fertilizer in planting holes before you plant.

A third fertilizer strategy are fertilizer tablets. These are a popular choice for new tree, shrubs, and water garden plants. The tablets are very simple to use and will not burn roots. Again, follow what the label instructs you to do.

You place the fertilizer tablets 3 to 6 inches below the surface of the soil. You’ll want to position them a few inches from the root ball to supply the plant with fertilizer after it overcomes transplant shock.

Using Granular Fertilizer

Look around and you’ll see that broadcast applications are the most common way that landscape gardeners apply granular fertilizer. It is simply the ideal way to distribute fertilizer.

If you’re wondering what the term “broadcast” means, it is when a person spreads fertilizer evenly on the soil surface. If you need to broadcast in small areas and in garden beds simply measure the amount of fertilizer you need and throw by hand across the desired area. Home and garden stores also sell a handheld rotary spreader to apply the fertilizer which some find easier to use.

Hands down, broadcast fertilizing is one of the most effective ways to fertilize large trees if that is on your “To-Do” list. The last, most important, thing to do after you are finished fertilizing is to irrigate the fertilized area well and to wash the product off foliage. This will help transition the nutrients down towards the plant roots.