21 May How to Avoid a Common Fertilizing Error
How to Avoid a Common Fertilizing Error
Today on Sod U we share a common fertilizing error and outline steps you can take to avoid it. Each year, DIY homeowners all over the country get their lawns ready to look their best. Fertilization is an important part of this process, but done incorrectly, your lawn can end up looking more like a zebra than the uniform, plush, green carpet you desire.
A key ingredient in most fertilization regimes is a group of minerals that contribute to enhancing the green color of your lawn. These minerals include nitrogen, iron and sulfur. Nitrogen fertilizers are classified as either quick release or slow release. Specifically, it is the misapplication of quick release nitrogen fertilizer that causes the unwanted striping in a lawn.
Steps to take to avoid this error:
Use a broadcast spreader, not a drop spreader
As the name implies, a broadcast spreader broadcasts whatever dry material you are applying to your lawn (fertilizer, fungicide, insecticide, grass seed, etc.) while a drop spreader drops whatever you are applying. For a novice DIY homeowner, a broadcast spreader is more forgiving and allows for the applicator to slightly overlap their application.
Pictured above: a broadcast spreader.
Pictured above: a drop spreader.
Be methodical in how you apply the fertilizer
Apply the fertilizer around the perimeter of your lawn first, then apply in rows back and forth.
As you apply in rows back and forth, approach the job as if you were vacuuming your carpet. Slightly overlap so as to be sure to not leave any gaps but not so much as to increase the number of passes you have to make. Another benefit of applying to the perimeter first is that you can cut off the application of fertilizer as you make the turn.
The sports field pictured above had a granular fertilizer applied by a tow behind spreader and the applicator did not overlap the application, leaving huge gaps between the fertilized (dark green) and non-fertilized (light green) sections of the field.
Make sure you have the appropriate amount of fertilizer for your size yard
One reason a homeowner might not be as methodical in applying fertilizer is they did not purchase enough and skimped on the application. To avoid this error, you must know and do three things:
- Know how many sq. ft. are in your lawn. This will direct how much fertilizer to purchase. If you do not know, a simple online tool you can use to determine approximately how many sq. ft. in your yard is the Area Calculator Tool.
- Know how many sq. ft. can be treated by each bag of fertilizer. Most packaged fertilizer will state on the front label how many square feet can be treated by that sized package.
- Set your spreader correctly so as to not apply at too heavy a rate and run out halfway through your yard. Most dry fertilizer products will include a chart of the various manufacturers of spreaders and the correct setting to apply the recommended amount. For more details on this topic, read Fertilizer Basics: Understanding a Fertilizer Label.
The photo below is of a homeowner’s front yard who, because they saw they were going to run out of product, applied the last of their fertilizer in a haphazard pattern, resulting in dark green grass where the fertilizer was applied and light green where it was not. Knowing how much fertilizer you need, how many sq. ft. your yard is and setting your spreader correctly will prevent this from happening.
Consider using a liquid fertilizer
If all of the above seems like too much effort and work, a simple solution is to switch from a granular fertilizer to a liquid fertilizer like LawnifiTM, which is easy to apply in such a ways as to not cause irregular dark coloration in your lawn. As a liquid fertilizer, plants don’t need to break Lawnifi’s nutrients down. Lawnifi is powered by Catalyst TechnologyTM, which nano-sizes its nutrients so that more of them are absorbed through the roots and leaves. Since Lawnifi nano-sizes its nutrients, larger amounts of nutrients are efficiently delivered to plants. The amount of product that needs to be applied is significantly reduced while using 80 percent less nitrogen and yielding better results. To learn more about the differences between liquid and granular fertilizers, read Get Your Lawn Drinking Its Nutrients. Lawnifi is a lawn or yard fertilizer that can be applied easily by hooking it up to the end of your garden hose and spraying evenly. It can also be used on flowers, trees and shrubs. Reasons to use Lawnifi include:
Lawnifi does not rely on nitrogen alone to green up lawns. It incorporates iron and other micronutrients,
Lawnifi is carbon-based, so it makes the nitrogen you do apply more effective by balancing C:N ratios,
Nitrogen in the year-long Lawnifi program is a combination of quick release and slow release.
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