3 Basic Needs of a Healthy Gainesville Lawn: Fertilizer

One of the most frequently asked questions I am asked on an initial consultation with a potential client is, "Why isn't my grass as green as the other people in my neighborhood?" My response always starts the same way, that a lawn has three relatively basic needs for long-term health: Food, Water, and Sunlight. In the past two articles, we've discussed the right amount of water and sunlight, so that leaves the last tip of the series to be about food, also known as lawn fertilization

Many homeowners in our area use the ‘feast or famine’ method fertilizing once or twice a year because of chain stores recommending the spring and fall lawn feedings. This is one of the many ways that turfgrass and the human body are very similar. This is not unlike eating one or two large meals a day and expecting a healthy physique – It just doesn’t work like that. In the same way that many nutritionists recommend 5-6 small meals a day because your body needs to be fed constantly, your lawn is at its best when it is given 5-6 doses of nutrients per year too.

Nutritionists also recommend not eating within an hour or two of going to bed so that you don’t go to sleep with a full stomach. Likewise, lawns do not take in any nutrients in the winter when it goes dormant. Too much nitrogen laid down at the wrong time of year can contribute to many environmental issues that are affecting our drinking water and our ecosystem. This is why we recommend early fall fertilization with a lower dose of Nitrogen (the first number on the fertilizer solution label), and focusing more on Potassium (the third number on the label) which increases the root structure.

One other commonality between humans and lawns are vaccinations. In the same way that getting properly vaccinated can help prevent diseases, one important piece of any fertilization program should include pre-emergents to help prevent weeds. Pre-emergents are formulas that bond to weed seeds before they germinate and render them useless so weeds cannot spread. This keeps the turf weed-free and healthy.

The ultimate goal of every homeowner who takes pride in their landscape is to have a thick, green, and lush lawn to enjoy. The easiest way to have that is to make sure it has the right amount of irrigation, a healthy dose of sunlight, and the proper lawn fertilization program. With those 3 things in-tact, your lawn will be the envy of the neighborhood.

If your lawn is not as healthy as you would like and you want some help getting on a fertilization program, call our office at 378-5296 or fill out our lawn care analysis form. We would be glad to serve any way we can!

Related Reading:

1st Basic Need of a Lawn: Sun

2nd Basic Need of a Lawn: Water

Video Blog: Side by Side lawn comparison 

TMLC Lawn Care Program: Six Visits explained 

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