A thick, full lawn that is richly green provides a safe and cushioned surface for family activities — it also spiffs up the curb appeal. Healthy, green turf also prevents soil erosion on slopes, filters contaminants from rainwater, absorbs many types of airborne pollutants and dust, and converts carbon dioxide to oxygen, a process that helps clean the air.
A natural source of air-conditioning, a robust lawn will cool surface temperatures. (Lie on an asphalt driveway in summer, then lie on a lawn — you’ll get the idea.) A hard-working carpet of green – a well-nourished lawn- not only looks better, but works better by providing environmental benefits and fighting off weeds and insects like grubs and chinch bugs.
Feed your lawn? With fertilizer? Isn’t fertilizer like a pesticide? Actually, pesticides and fertilizer have little in common.
Pesticides are typically chemical preparations intended to prevent, destroy or repel pests such as weeds and insects.
Fertilizer materials are mined from the earth, made from gases in the air or are recycled from organic waste materials. Fertilizers support the quality and quantity of plant growth by providing elements that are essential to the plants metabolic process.
Essential Elements in Fertilizer:
Nitrogen — Element most needed in lawns. Lawns that lack nitrogen may turn light green or yellow and leaves may die, starting at the tips.
Phosphate — Assists in stimulating root growth. A phosphorous deficiency is rare in home lawns, which is why lawn fertilizers have lower phosphate levels.
Potash (potassium) — Potash helps plants cope with stress caused by wear, summer heat, winter cold, disease, and insect infestation. Better lawn fertilizers have higher levels of potash.
Select a lawn fertilizer with a balance of these three main elements. According to experts, a 4 – 1 – 2 or 3 – 1 – 2 ratio works best for lawns like a 28 – 4 – 8. All good lawn fertilizers contain at least 40-50 % slow-release nitrogen to give long lasting greening effect between applications.
Turf researchers recommend that you apply lawn fertilizer 3 – 4 times per year (at the rate recommended on the bag) in early spring, late spring, summer and fall. If you are a once-a-year feeder, your lawn is undernourished. Lawns may be nutrient-starved, more prone to wear and damage from extreme weather and more susceptible to weed & insect infestation.
Basic, pesticide-free program for lawn? Give your lawn 3 – 4 applications of mineral or organic/natural fertilizer per year. Your lawn will be thick, full and healthy and will suffer less damage from higher insect populations. The grass plants will be better able to resist weed infestation, withstand hot summer drought conditions, wear & tear and winter stresses.
With just a little work throughout the summer, you and your family will enjoy the lasting benefits of a beautiful “green carpet”.