How to choose the right fertilizer for a lusher lawn

January 15, 2015

The right fertilizer is vital for a healthy lawn that stands up to wear and tear, and adds to the enjoyment of your outdoor living.  Here's some advice about the different types of fertilizers on the market and how to use them.

How to choose the right fertilizer for a lusher lawn

From entertaining friends to playing soccer with your kids, your lawn is sure to be the place to hang out this summer. That’s why fertilizing it is so important: because a healthy lawn stands up better to wear and tear, adds value to your home, and enjoyment to your outdoor living.

If you’re ready to feed your lawn but don’t know how to choose (or use) a fertilizer, here’s some advice to get you started.

Granular vs. liquid fertilizers

Fertilizers are available in both granular and liquid form, but how do they differ?

  • Granular fertilizers: Granular fertilizers are applied using a spreader. As they break down the nutrients are released into your lawn over several weeks. One advantage is you can see how much fertilizer is spread throughout your lawn during application, which helps ensure an even coating.
  • Liquid fertilizers: In contrast, liquid fertilizers are dissolved in water before use for easy application. A big advantage is they are absorbed quickly into the soil.

Fertilizers for any lawn

Fertilizers have different features that make them perfect for certain types of lawns:

  • Quick release: Quick release fertilizer boosts growth in your lawn immediately and lasts two to four weeks.
  • Slow release: Slow release fertilizer lasts longer and avoids the risk of over-fertilizing while offering uniform growth over longer periods of time.
  • Weed and feed: Some fertilizer formulations are combined with selective herbicides to help get rid of pesky weeds while feeding your lawn.
  • Insecticide: Certain fertilizers combine the nutrients your lawn needs with chemicals to repel harmful insects that can ravage your lawn and undermine its health and vigour.

Before you buy

Before purchasing your next fertilizer, there are a couple of things to consider:

  • Organic vs. synthetic: Organic fertilizers (like manure) release nutrients slowly and strengthen your soil without the danger of harming your lawn or the environment. In contrast, synthetic fertilizers are designed to be able to release nutrients quickly and evenly in a wider range of conditions, for results that tend to be more consistent.
  • Fertilizer coating: Sulfur-coated slow release fertilizer lasts approximately eight weeks. Polymer-coated fertilizer tends to last up to 12 weeks, depending on temperature and rainfall.

Lawn care tips

Using fertilizer to get best results isn’t just about applying it haphazardly to your lawn. These tips will help you achieve the results you want:

Read the label
A bag of fertilizer has three numbers displaying its three most important components. In order, the numbers tell you the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in the fertilizer. The remaining percentage is made up of filler material. In general:

  • Nitrogen promotes general health and develops the green colour every lawn owner strives for.
  • Phosphorous aids your lawn in establishing and growing its roots.
  • Potassium helps develop disease resistance.

Choose a product suited for the season
Fertilizer formulas typically vary with the different seasons.

  • Spring fertilizers have more phosphorus than regular fertilizers, so that your lawn can take root and grow strong quickly in the new season after having been dormant all winter long.
  • Winterizers (or fall fertilizers) are low in nitrogen. They are used in the late fall to give your lawn the nutrients it needs to defend against fungal diseases. They also encourage deep root growth so your lawn comes back healthy and thick the following year.

Consider sustainability
If you have pets or children in the household, going organic may be your best route.

  • For a beautiful lawn in the long run, organic fertilizers have the best lasting impact on the ground beneath your feet. The trade-off is that applying organic fertilizers tends to be more labour intensive if you do it yourself.

For a lawn that starts the season healthy and stays strong during the winter, knowing how to find a fertilizer with the right combination of ingredients, and how and when to use it, is key.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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