You know that using a fertilizer can promote a healthy lawn or greenspace, but do you know how best to apply it?
You’ll get the best bang for your buck if you take some simple steps to make sure your fertilizer is able to be used by the grass and is not lost to waterways, sidewalks or otherwise.
Follow the 4Rs of responsible fertilizer use:
Right source: Buy the right fertilizer for your lawn. Review your options at your local home and garden centre by reading the bag or testing your soil; this can be done by a professional or with a home kit. The three numbers on the bag indicate the ratio of three key nutrients included in all fertilizers: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, listed in this order. Meaning, if a bag reads 21-4-3 it contains 21 per cent nitrogen, four per cent phosphorus and three per cent potassium.
Right rate: Know the size of your lawn. Buy only what you need, follow the instructions on the bag and remember that more is not always better. Use a good-quality lawn fertilizer spreader or a handheld model to distribute the product evenly across your lawn.
Right time: Before winter rolls around, keep in mind that plant roots tend to go dormant in the driest parts of summer and in winter, when the ground is frozen. So, it’s important to focus on fertilizing in the spring and fall when plants need nutrients the most and avoid applying fertilizer if heavy rain is expected, or if the ground is frozen.
Right place: After fertilizing, sweep any stray fertilizer on driveways, patios and sidewalks back onto your lawn where it can do its job. Because too much phosphorus in the water can promote algae growth, select a phosphorus-free fertilizer if you live near a pond, lake or stream. Take care to prevent fertilizer from running off into sewers.