So you’ve heard of lawn fertilizer. You know your neighbor uses it. Your other neighbor pays for a lawn care service to fertilize their lawn, and it looks ok. But do you really know the inside scoop on what lawn fertilizer is and what makes it so important? Sunset Lawns is here to explain the ins and outs of lawn fertilizer and how hiring a lawn care company that specializes in lawn fertilization and weed control can help improve the look and health of your turf.
The Key to a Healthy Omaha Lawn Is Soil
The key to a healthy lawn here in Omaha is in the soil. Your lawn’s soil is the most crucial part of your lawn, providing an anchor for your turf, plants, and tree roots. It acts as a filter system, sorting through the essential elements such as water and nutrients while passing through all the bad. Soil allows for the exchange of oxygen and other important gasses. It helps to protect from erosion and holds in moisture and vital nutrients. Like all living things, over time, your soil may use up all of these nutrients. External factors such as climate stressors, disease, and pests can take a toll, causing a depletion in water, sunlight, or nutrients
What Is Fertilizer?
Fertilizer is a blend of synthetic or organic macronutrients designed to give your grass the supplemental vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy. Not only is a well-fertilized lawn healthier and greener, but it is also far better at preventing weed infestation, disease, and drought. As a bonus, healthy lawns give back to the environment by producing oxygen, cooling the air during hot weather, and trapping and absorbing urban dust and pollution.
The Breakdown of Fertilizer and What it Does For Your Omaha Lawn
There are two different types of fertilizers, organic and synthetic. Organic fertilizers such as manure, compost, or bone meal are derived directly from plant or animal sources. Synthetic fertilizers usually contain only a few nutrients – generally nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and sometimes micronutrients, either singly or in combination. They are water-soluble and fast-acting. While synthetic fertilizers may come in several different forms, they all contain the same three primary or macronutrients that your grass needs. If you’ve ever seen bags of fertilizer at the store, you may have noticed that they have a series of three numbers on them, such as 16-12-12 or 3-3-3. These numbers inform you of the amount of the three main ingredients in fertilizer, nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, and the numbers are listed in that order. Your lawn needs all three minerals but, too little or too much of each can offset your turf.
Here’s a bit of a breakdown of each mineral and the role each plays in your grass’s health.
Nitrogen helps with root development, chlorophyll formation, and photosynthesis. It’s a building block for growing new stems and leaves. It comes in two different forms to meet the changing needs of the season: slow-release and quick release. Slow-release fertilizers give the soil a delayed and steady release of nutrients over the course of several weeks. Fast-release fertilizers help to treat urgent issues and deliver immediate nutrition to where it’s needed most.
As with most things, too much or too little can be detrimental to your lawn. Too little nitrogen and your turf may turn yellow, wilt, or see an increase in weed growth. Too much nitrogen can burn the grass by scorching the plant tissue resulting in large dead patches.
Phosphorous is needed for early root growth, seed formation and helps grass reach maturity faster. It helps your grass to fend off diseases and stay healthy. It’s important to control the right amounts because too much or too little can cause problems. If your grass has a phosphorous deficiency in the soil, the result is weaker grassroots, resulting in the grass dying. Phosphorous moves slowly through the ground. Therefore, too much can result in runoff into our streams and waterways. This causes an increase in the growth of algae and weeds and the death of fish and other wildlife.
Potassium is what helps your turf take in all the other nutrients and use them. It also helps to strengthen your grass and put down strong deep roots. Keeping a balanced potassium level in your lawn will help your grass regulate its processes and boost the grass’s tolerance to stress and drought. Potassium also aids with root growth and stem development.
Micronutrients are the additional ingredients in fertilizer that help keep your grass healthy. Some of these include chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, boron, and zinc. Like the macronutrients, they assist your grass with processes like chlorophyll production, photosynthesis, DNA synthesis, disease resistance, and other vital functions.
How a Lawn Care Program Containing Fertilizer Can Help Your Lawn
Programs offered by lawn care professionals usually include scheduled fertilization to help keep your lawn healthy and thriving, free of weeds, insects, and diseases. Some lawn care programs also have disease control, fungicide treatments, and various other components to ensure a healthy lawn. At Sunset Lawns, we offer a six-step fertilization program that starts in early spring and ends in late fall. It includes the appropriate amounts of fertilizer needed to be applied at the right times, ensuring your grass receives the exact amount of micronutrients and macronutrients it needs to thrive. Our lawn care program also includes weed control to ensure your turf stays well-manicured and insect control to protect against lawn surface insects.
Now that you understand the ins and outs of fertilizer and why it’s so beneficial, it’s time to start treating and protecting your lawn. Give the professionals at Sunset Lawns a call and learn more about our highly effective program. You can reach us at 402-537-8030 or online.
Our monthly blog articles are just getting started but stay tuned for a new educational piece each month on all things lawn care, weed control and prevention, and pest control.