Fertilize Your Outdoor Lawn
The purpose of fertilizing a lawn is to add the necessary nutrients in the required amounts and at the proper time to achieve desirable lawn qualities and healthy plants. The only accurate way to determine how much fertilizer you need for your lawn is to have your soil tested. Soil testing by a local county extension or university identifies base levels of phosphorus and potassium, two key nutrients for lawn growth. Soil tests for nitrogen are often inaccurate, because it leaches easily from the root area, so the facility may not perform a nitrogen test. Once you receive results for your soil sample, you’ll know which nutrients your lawn is in need of and can choose a fertilizer that contains the right nutrients. Review the fertilizer bag and the analysis statement that explains the percentage of each nutrient in the product. For example, a 16-8-5 fertilizer contains 16 percent nitrogen, 8 percent phosphorus and 5 percent potassium. If your soil is low in potassium and phosphorus, you might choose a 20-5-10 or similar fertilizer, depending on your soil test results. For application method, using a drop or rotary spreader.
To use either type of spreader, measure your lawn and then carefully follow the instructions on your fertilizer package to determine how much fertilizer to use. Fill the hopper with half of the proper amount of fertilizer for your lawn’s area. Move the drop spreader over your lawn in one direction. Turn off the spreader when you make a turn or complete a pass. To avoid striping, try to overlap wheel marks with each row. Once you’ve fertilized in one direction, fill the hopper with the remaining half of the fertilizer and apply it at a right angle to the initial direction.
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