The Best Way to Fertilize Your Lawn
Michigan residents know that after each long winter, transforming your lawn from dull and lifeless to green and healthy requires time, know-how and patience.
Fertilizer remains the most essential component of a bright, thriving lawn and landscape. To ensure that your lawn looks great, you need to know when and how often to fertilize, what type of fertilizer to use — and how to distribute the fertilizer. Doing these things correctly will give you a radiant landscape year in and year out.
The initial fertilizing of the year jumpstarts your lawn’s growth for the season. Ideally, plan to fertilize in the early spring, when plants begin to blossom and grass starts growing again. The second feeding should come about four weeks later. For the remainder of the spring and summer, feedings should be done every six to eight weeks depending on the amount of water your lawn receives from routine watering and rainfall. The more often you water your lawn, the more often you will need to fertilize it. The end of October should be the last feeding, which is also the most important because the grass is still growing and needs to have deeply established roots before winter comes.
Buying the right fertilizer blend for your lawn can be a challenge, especially if you do not know what the numbers and letters on the fertilizer bags mean. The letters N-P-K on the bag show the Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium levels in the fertilizer. So, a 15-10-15 bag will contain 15% nitrogen, 10% phosphorous and 15% potassium. The rest of the bag is made up of other filler materials that make it easier to spread. For springtime applications, fertilizer composed of approximately a 20-5-10 mixture is best. Consider switching to an organic fertilizer — such as manure or compost — after the first three or four applications of the year.
Distributing the fertilizer throughout your lawn must be done evenly and precisely. Using a broadcast spreader is the easiest way for homeowners to do this. Fill the spreader in your driveway or on the sidewalk so that any fertilizer granules that spill will not burn spots in your lawn. Make sure to sweep up any excess fertilizer when you are finished. Then open the spreader about halfway, and slowly push it through your yard in straight even lines. Doing this will spread the fertilizer thoroughly and effectively.