It’s been a long winter and many homeowners are looking forward to warmer temperatures and lush green lawns. Fertilization, in addition to proper watering and cutting, can help you cultivate a beautiful, thick lawn. Since every lawn is different, not every fertilizer will be right for every yard. Common lawn problems in New Jersey include crabgrass, dandelions, slow-growth, and yellow-tinged grass.
For annual weeds, especially summer annual grasses like crabgrass, the best defense is a good offense. To prevent these weeds from germinating, purchase a granular fertilizer containing a preemergence herbicide (often called a crabgrass preventer) and apply it early in the season. It can be helpful to water your lawn directly after applying this type of fertilizer.
Unlike the annual grasses, broadleaf weeds like dandelions are treated after they appear. The phrase “weed and feed” refers to a fertilizer that will eradicate broadleaf weeds while simultaneously providing your grass with nutrients. The best time to apply this type of fertilizer is when the weeds are growing actively. Since water can wash this fertilizer away, it’s best to apply when you’re not expecting rain and to wait up to four days after application to water your lawn.
If you have an established lawn without weed concerns, use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Nitrogen encourages the growth of the grass blades and helps them achieve that lush green hue we associate with healthy lawns. How do you know if the fertilizer you’re purchasing is nitrogen-rich? Every bag of lawn fertilizer has three numbers displayed prominently. These numbers, known as N-P-K numbers, let you know the percentage of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in that particular bag of fertilizer. Nitrogen is the key component when it comes to getting the lush, green appearance. Phosphorus promotes root growth. Potassium helps your lawn tolerate weather changes and resist disease.
Be aware, New Jersey fertilizer regulations require all homeowners to use a zero phosphorus lawn fertilizer, with a few exceptions including establishing turf for the first-time and if a recent soil test confirms a phosphorus deficiency. What that means for you is the middle number on your bag of fertilizer should almost always be 0. Additionally, the NJ fertilizer laws require that at least 20% of the nitrogen in fertilizers is slow-release nitrogen. These laws were fully implemented in 2013, so by now any fertilizer you purchase in NJ should already adhere to the new requirements, but it is still good information to know.
Ready to start cultivating your ideal lawn? Visit our website or give us a call at 1-800-WetLawn today and we’ll be happy to help.