Today is National Goddess of Fertility day! So, your friends here at Sprinkler Warehouse are here to help you get your Fertilizer on! There are a lot of different options out there when it comes to fertilizers! You have to choose the way you want to apply it first, then the kind of product to buy (IE organic VS Manufacturer made) and what the best time of year to do it is! We have all these answers for you, and some!
Types of spreading devices
There are several ways to fertilize you lawn and garden! Probably the most common method is to apply dry granular style fertilizer. These types of fertilizers are usually a synthetic creation (as opposed to organic) but your plant won’t know the difference! There are several different types of ways to apply granular fertilizers too! It can be spread with a hand-spreader; designed to allow maximum mobility and customization of application. Usually holding somewhere between 1-5 liters of fertilizer the spreader is best used to do small yards, gardens or around places where space is at a premium.
Mechanical push spreaders are also a good choice! The primary forms are a drop version and a broadcast spreader version. The difference being that the drop spread will apply an even and uniform application directly beneath the spreader, whereas the broadcast spreader will typically get cover more ground faster due to the way it “throws” the granules out and away from the spreader.
If you have a really big lawn or pasture to fertilize, perhaps a “pull-behind” unit would be best. Typically the pull-behind style spreaders are a broadcast style spreader and can hold a significantly larger amount of granular fertilizer than the previously mentioned types of spreaders.
Last but not least is an option called “Fertigation” – this type of application uses the sprinkler system to apply an even application of fertilizer to the lawn without the need of using a spreader! Systems are available as a kit to add to your sprinkler system. They are simple to install and even easier to use. Some kits, like the one from SkeetoBusters will let you apply fertilizer to your lawn as well as a pest control solution to keep your lawn and yard free from mosquitoes, and nearly all other pests too!
Choosing the right fertilizer
Choosing the right type of fertilizer can be challenging too! The basics to choosing a fertilizer lie in the numbers. The three numbers to be exact. On each bag or container of fertilizer you will find 3 numbers separated by a hyphen.
The first letter represents Nitrogen, an essential ingredient in the fertilization process. The nitrogen is used to help “green up” the plant, by aiding in leaf and stem growth. Studies have shown that as much as two thirds of the nitrogen in your fertilizer will “burn off” or
vaporize before it ever gets a chance to help the plant. So avoiding high nitrogen fertilizers is recommended (unless a soil test determines it is necessary) This portion of the fertilizer is there to help the plant to grow “UP”!
The second letter is the Phosphorous. Essential to the root growth phosphorous will be processed by the plant resulting in downward growth. If your lawn is already grown, this is essentially superfluous to your lawn.
The last but not least of the three numbers in the sequence is represented by Potassium. By taking in plenty of Potassium a plant will have a better chance at being all-around health. You can remember this part of the sequence as the “All Around” part of the sequence.
Organic or Manufacturer made
Whether to choose Organic or manufacturer made fertilizer is becoming a question we hear more and more often. The truth is… one is not better than the other. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. For example, organic options take significantly longer to release their nutrients into the soil, and they often carry a lower amount of nutrients than a manufacturer made fertilizer does. The best way to choose the perfect fertilizer for your lawn is to have a soil test done to determine the needs your lawn has, then picking a fertilizer suitable to meet those needs. The choice is up to you.
Best time of year to fertilize?
Once again we recommend that you have a soil test done first before making this decision. But, for the most part, the best times of year to fertilize is the fall and the spring. Fall fertilization will help the plant to store up energy in its roots that it will need to use once the warmth of spring finally prompts the grass out of dormancy and into grow mode.
Lawn care following fertilization
Once you have fertilized your lawn, be sure to allow a few days for the product to work down into the soil. Apply generous water during this time period. When it is time to cut your lawn, be sure you are leaving at least two thirds of the grass blade. This will allow the grass to stay shaded by it’s own growth. It is far more beneficial to cut a little off the top more often than it is to let it grow tall and then cut it low.