If you are looking for that vibrant green color for your lawn the applying fertilizer is a must. Having the right fertilizer is a prerequisite as well as following best practices for mowing and mulching. The best time to apply fertilizer to your lawn is after mowing. This gives the fertilizer enough time to absorb the fertilizer.
To fertilize your lawn it is prudent to wait until fall, late summer, or early spring. When mowing your lawn, ensure you leave a bit of the grass clippings. These are great for releasing nitrogen to your grass. Nitrogen is one vital nutrient for proper greening of the lawn.
Choosing the right fertilizer
It is also very important that you choose the right fertilizer to ensure your lawn grows optimally. Spring fertilizers contain more nitrogen than fall while those for all contain higher levels of potassium.
You can use both liquid and solid fertilizers but the liquid fertilizers should not be applied during the growing season of the grass. Should you accidentally do this then you need to water it down to prevent injury to the grass due to the nitrogen. Most people do not use liquid fertilizer for their lawns unless you control a gold course.
The most common type of fertilizer used for lawns is the granular. This can be spread on the grass by hand or through a spreader. Once you have applied the fertilizer, water down your lawn so that the fertilizer can push through the soil and provide it with the necessary nutrients.
Mowing after applying fertilizer
The most asked question after applying fertilizer to your lawn is whether you should mow it. People assume that mowing will disturb the granular fertilizer you have just applied. However, lawn mowers do work that way. When the mower moves its sheared blades creates a winding effect that pulls the grass upright so that you can cut them. The grass clippings move to other compartments where they are pushed back to the ground hence creating mulch. This mulch further acts as a protective layer over granular fertilizer.
How to apply fertilizer to your lawn
The first thing you need to do is identify the right fertilizer for the season you are in. To apply fertilizer you will need a spreader. The blade settings for the spreader will be adjusted dependent on the nitrogen levels in the fertilizer. For example, in many cases when you are applying four pounds of lawn fertilizer over 1,000 square feet, you will need to adjust your blade to 3.5 (spreader with range of 1 to 10).
When applying the fertilizer operate from one horizontal line to another. This means you will start from one side of your lawn to the end then turn right and come back applying the fertilizer. This ensures even application of the fertilizer and prevents chemical burn due to over-application. How much fertilizer to use will largely depend on the nitrogen content. If your fertilizer has 12 to 15% nitrogen then you will need 8 pounds of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet. If your fertilizer has 18 to 21% nitrogen, you will need 5 ½ pounds per 1,000 square feet.
What is the ideal height to set my lawn mower?
This will largely depend on the type of grass you have planted. For most grass the mowing height should be two to two. However, if you have Kentucky bluegrass then settings of one –half inches are recommended. Other settings include three-fourths for Zoysia grass, one-half inch for Bermuda grass and one to two inches for perennial ryegrass. The essence of using the recommended heights is that if you overcut your grass then you deny it the necessary light needed for photosynthesis. This leads to your grass turning into a brownish hue.
If you have a dull lawn mower with blunt blades then it is going to tear the grass top off rather than cutting the tip of the grass. If the edges of your grass are not cut properly then they are going to attract insects and disease. It is prudent that you sharpen your mower blades before going into action. Mowing should be a continuous process that should only be stopped when the grass has stopped growing. This will happen when temperatures drop to below 40F.
For warm seasons, a lower cut looks better for most types of grass while for the cool season grass you can cut them up to ¾ inches height. When mowing your lawn try to put into place the 1/3 rule i.e. don’t cut over a third of the grass blade in a single mow. The best time to mow would be mid-morning or late in the afternoon. The idea is to avoid mowing in heat.
What to do with grass clippings?
Grass clippings are a rich source of nitrogen and provide nutrients to the lawn soil. If you regularly mow your lawn do not cut more than 1/3 of the grass length then you should just leave the clippings with your lawn. Before deciding whether to leave the grass clippings after mowing you should check the level of thatch on the ground. If the thatch is more than one inch then it will not be helpful to leave the clippings as they will not be able to provide the necessary nutrients. You can either dispose the clippings or remove the thatch and fill the ground with the grass clippings.
Is there a danger of over-mowing?
Over-mowing occurs when you cut the grass to a height where it is not able to absorb sunlight effectively. This means the grass does not receive the necessary light needed for photosynthesis. Your lawn will then take on a brownish color hue that is an eyesore. The more blades you leave the more opportunities you give your lawn to absorb light.
Proper lawn maintenance
To promote that evergreen grass color you need to properly mow your lawn. To do this you will need to regularly uproot weeds like dandelion and stop them from competing for nutrients with your grass. During hot summers you need to regularly water your lawn to prevent it from turning a yellowish color.
Mowing should be done in accordance to the season you are in. If it is summer then do it at least once a week while in autumn, spring, and warm winters do it once every two weeks. When you regularly trim your lawn you give the grass roots space to grow and expand. This also blocks the proliferation of weeds. In summer it is recommended that you adjust the cutting height for your lawn mower higher to around 5-10cm. This means you have longer grass hence the reduction of a yellowish lawn.
While watering is essential for a well-maintained lawn you should not overdo it. This may lead to the development of shallow and poorly established roots. Sprinklers are great for this has they are capable of spreading water evenly. For some people installing an automated sprinkler will come in handy when you do not have time to water your lawn. Compacted grounds prevents proper grass growth by leaving mud baths in winter and bare patches in summer. You can open up the soil with the help of a fork handle.
You can mow and fertilize your lawn on the same day as the granular fertilizer you use will have gotten deep into the soil and will not be interfered with. Lawnmowers pull the grass into an upright position before cutting and this does not interfere in anyway with the fertilizer applied.