The responsible use of fertilizer has become a prominent issue in recent years, including in urban areas like Poughkeepsie, NY. Any irresponsible application of fertilizers could be not only detrimental for the environment but also has adverse effects on the quality of the lawn in the long run. Given the varying requirements of grasses across species and seasons, consulting a professional lawn-care service can not only reduce the environmental impact of maintaining your lawn but also improve your lawn’s health and longevity.
How Can Fertilization Be Detrimental?
Careless fertilization is manifested in two main ways: over-fertilizing and choosing the wrong type of fertilizer. Over-fertilization refers to applying an excessive amount of fertilizer to the lawn. This generally results in the unnaturally fast growth of grasses, thereby making them more susceptible to disease and pests. Moreover, over-fertilization also results in more fertilizer being carried off by runoff into the stormwater system as well as leaching into the groundwater. These excessive nutrients can cause the unnaturally fast growth of algae and aquatic plants in streams and ponds, severely impacting the delicate ecosystem. Similarly, it can cause excessive build-up of chemical compounds in the groundwater.
Choosing the wrong fertilizer refers to selecting fertilizers of the wrong type or with the wrong nutrient content. Synthetic chemical fertilizers are sometimes chosen over organic fertilizers because are able to release their nutrients much faster into the soil. The faster release mechanisms also make synthetic fertilizers more susceptible to being carried off by runoff and becoming a part of the water cycle. Similarly, choosing a fertilizer with the wrong nutrient content can damage the health of a lawn.
How Can Fertilizer Be Applied Responsibly?
The responsible application of fertilizer starts with a professional figuring out the nutrient requirements of your lawn. In many cases, this involves a soil test in different sections of the lawn to identify the deficiencies. A visual inspection of the grass by an expert can also help assess which nutrients are lacking.
Once the nutrient requirements have been identified, the type of fertilizer can be chosen and applied. For severely malnourished plants, a synthetic fertilizer may be favored as it could address the deficiencies quickly. However, it has to be applied carefully to minimize wastage and be accompanied by a precise watering schedule to minimize runoff. The nutrient content of the fertilizer also has to be carefully considered to ensure that the required nutrients are supplied to the grass in the right concentrations.
For more routine fertilization, organic fertilizers may be the best course of action. These fertilizers are derived from animal or plant sources and release nutrients into the soil in a slower, more natural way. This makes them much less susceptible to runoff from watering or heavy rains. With routine fertilization, the time and quantity of fertilizer applied is also vitally important and varies from species to species. Applying too much fertilizer during the wrong season can cause the grass to grow too quick and make it susceptible to disease and pests.
Given the specific requirements of each lawn, proper fertilization is a delicate balance of applying the right fertilizer in the right quantity and at the right time. With a professional lawn-care service, you will ensure that your lawn gets all the nutrients it needs without being detrimental to the environment.