There are many types of fertilizers today that can handle the lawn care needs that you have. Some contain additional elements to control weeds, some provide insect protection, and others are designed for new lawns in particular. To know which is best, it is important to know the makeup of most fertilizers and what that means:
Virtually all fertilizers on the market contain 3 main ingredients. These ingredients are referred to as NPK which stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The package labeling is the best place to look first when comparing fertilizers. It will list the weight of each ingredient as a percentage. So for example, a 20 pound bag may list the numbers sequences as 10-10-10. This would mean that there is 10% of each of the 3 main ingredients in the bag mixture.
The Roles of NPK
Each ingredient is vital, and is used for different purposes. First of all, Nitrogen is the first number because it is considered the most important one. It encourages quick growth of your lawn and a nice green color. Phosphorus is the middle number and is useful for improving the health of the roots of your lawn and plants. Usually, "starter" fertilizers that are designed for new lawns will have a lot of phosphorus to encourage the new roots to grow. Potassium is the last number, and is very important for the larger picture of your lawn's health. It helps to prevent disease and guards your lawn against droughts and even cold weather.
- Granular - these fertilizers allow you to control when and how you feed your lawn, with different formulas that release the fertilizer elements in a staggered way.
- Water-soluble - these are generally quick-release formulas that allow the grass to access the nitrogen faster, as the water soluble nature means that barriers between the plants and nutrients break down faster. This can induce a fast change in the color and growth of your lawn.
- Organic - this leaves behind less or no chemicals. The simplest way to achieve organic fertilizing is to use clippings from mowing the lawn or leaves that have been mulched.
- Synthetic - these are typically slow releasing fertilizers that are made with added sulfur and polymer coated granular nitrogen compounds. This means that the cycle of feeding for your grass is over a longer time period and less leeching will occur, leaving more healthy nutrients for your lawn to absorb. This also reduces the chance of "burning" your lawn with too much nitrogen released at once.
Fertilizing can be part art and part science. Knowing how old your lawn is, how fast you want to grow it, and what kind of chemicals your lawn can handle is key in choosing the right fertilizer. Hopefully, you can use this guide to help you in making the best fertilizer decision for your lawn.
To learn more, contact a company like Collins Lawn/Insect Control.