A lush, green lawn can go a long way in improving the curb appeal and aesthetics of your Pleasant Valley, NY home. A key component of a pristine lawn is choosing the right fertilizer, which depends on the overall health of your lawn, the type of grass you are growing and the season in which you are applying it.
Quick and Slow Release Fertilizers
The first important distinction is the method in which nutrients are released from the fertilizer and made available to the plants. As evident by the name, quick release fertilizers make their nutrients rapidly available for the grass after application. This makes them suitable for rectifying specific nutrient deficiencies. However, their use has to be monitored precisely to ensure they do not damage the grass or cause it to grow excessively quickly, therefore becoming more susceptible to disease and pests.
Slow release fertilizers are more consistent in the release of their nutrients, delivering them gradually over an extended period of time. This makes them ideal for long-term application as they keep your grass well supplied with nutrients especially over the growing season.
Different variants of fertilizers offer different types of nutrients to the grass and the right decision has to be made based on the time of application and nutrient requirements of your lawn. The nutrient content of a fertilizer is defined by its NPK rating, giving the concentration of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Typically, balanced fertilizers containing equal concentrations of each are applied before growth periods for consistent, healthy growth. Some fertilizers, such as urea, contain a higher concentration of certain elements, which is used to promote a faster rate of growth or address nutrient deficiencies.
Organic and Synthetic Fertilizers
Organic fertilizers are derived from natural sources, typically plant and animal byproducts. Their natural origins are more suited for a natural growth pattern over an extended period of time. In contrast to this, synthetic fertilizers are manufactured artificially. Organic fertilizers are generally preferred due to their slow and more efficient release of nutrients, more natural constituents and low environmental impact.
Type of Grass
Different species of grass have different nutrient requirements and being aware of the specific requirements is essential to having an immaculate lawn. In general, grasses suited for warmer seasons such as Bermuda and Zoysia require a more thorough application of fertilizer to keep them sated over their growing season. Cold weather grasses, such as Kentucky and Bluegrass, require less fertilizer as they usually go into dormancy during the cold season and are able to conserve nutrients more efficiently.
Granular vs Liquid Fertilizers
Fertilizers are generally available in two variants: granular (or dry) and liquid. Liquid fertilizers are often synthetic. They are diluted with water to the required concentration and have to be sprayed consistently across the entire lawn. Being a liquid, they are absorbed by the roots quickly and are therefore ideal for malnourished plants. However, they are also less efficient as they are prone to leaching into the soil, requiring a more frequent application.
Granular fertilizers are more slow release and have to be spread across the lawn manually or using a spreader. Their granular nature makes their release rate of nutrients slower and dependent on a variety of factors such as the temperature and pH of the soil, making them more suitable for long-term use.
The right type of fertilizer is dependent on the specific condition of your lawn. Moreover, incorrect application of the wrong fertilizer, especially synthetic ones, can have highly adverse effects. This makes it important to have an expert do the job to ensure your lawn looks flawless come spring.