A lush green lawn is a perfect backdrop for summer gatherings, but maintaining one throughout the year takes more than just regular watering and mowing. Proper fertilization is crucial to keep your lawn healthy and vibrant, but choosing the right fertilizer can be challenging with so many options available.
Understanding Fertilizer and Summer Lawn Care
Removing the weeds and feeding the grass is essential, and the fertilizer component of that process must fit with the kind of grass and environment you’re growing it in. By ensuring you have the best summer fertilizer for your grass, you’re guaranteeing a healthy start to the year that will pay dividends.
Most soils can’t provide all the nutrients lawn grass needs to thrive throughout the growing season, making fertilizer an essential tool. A growing lawn uses a lot of energy, and adding those much-needed ingredients will help promote root growth.
However, applying the wrong fertilizer in the warm summer season can backfire and leave you researching tips on fixing a burned-out lawn. Discolored patches appearing in your lawn are an early warning sign that something has gone wrong, and the grassroots have been dried out and need immediate watering. In this article, we’ll discuss the factors to consider when selecting the right fertilizer for your lawn this summer.
The Nutrient Needs of Your Lawn
Different grass varieties have different nutrient requirements. Before purchasing any fertilizer, it’s essential to understand the nutrient needs of your lawn. The three essential nutrients required by lawns are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen promotes leaf growth, phosphorus aids root development, and potassium improves stress tolerance.
Most lawn fertilizers come with three numbers indicating the percentage of each nutrient, known as the NPK ratio. For example, a fertilizer listed with 10-10-10 would represent a product containing 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potassium. If your lawn is established, choosing a fertilizer with high nitrogen content will encourage leaf growth. On the other hand, if you’re planting a new lawn, choose a fertilizer with a high phosphorus content to promote root development.
Check Soil pH
The pH level of your lawn’s soil determines how well your grass can absorb nutrients. A pH level between 6.5 and 7.0 is ideal for most grass varieties. If your soil’s pH level is too low, nutrients like phosphorus and potassium will not have the opportunity to impact your lawn the way they should. In contrast, if your soil’s pH level is too high, your lawn may have difficulty absorbing nutrients like iron and manganese, leading to yellow or brown patches on your lawn.
Before choosing a fertilizer, work with yard maintenance experts like Lush Lawn and have your soil’s pH level tested using a test kit; this way, you can understand and determine the levels that will work best for your lawn during summer.
Avoid Lawn Burn
Avoid lawn burn by ensuring you have the right mix of lawn fertilizer. As a rule, the summer months are better suited for slow-release products. Slow-release fertilizers avoid some of the pitfalls included with liquid, synthetic, fast-release, and agriculture-grade fertilizers. Fast-release fertilizers aim to boost your lawn within the first 24 hours, and the balance of ingredients reflects this in the heavy use of nitrogen. However, this also opens your lawn to unpleasant and unwanted side effects caused by the microbes in the soil being unable to break down the excess nitrogen. This often led to dried-out grass blades, causing a burned look on the lawn.
Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue are commonly used in Michigan and are cool-season grasses. Because of this, quick-release fertilizers should not be applied during the summer months to avoid stress and lawn burn. Before starting the process, ensure you know what type of grass your lawn has and research the best ways to maintain it. Some lawns are engineered for high heat, and this will change the nitrogen requirement to keep it healthy and maintained.
Use Slow-Release Fertilizers
Slow-release fertilizers are an excellent option for busy homeowners who don’t have time to fertilize their lawns frequently. These fertilizers steadily release nutrients, ensuring your lawn gets a consistent supply. It should be noted that slow-release fertilizers can be more expensive than quick-release fertilizers and will take longer to see results, so you’ll need to be patient when using them.
Slow-release fertilizer is usually coated with plastic resin or sulfur-based polymers, slowly breaking down from water, heat, sunlight, and/or soil microbes. Slow-release fertilizers last one to three months, depending upon the amount of water your lawn receives, and is one of the best summer fertilizers for grass.
Consider Weed and Pest Control
Fertilizers can also help control weeds and pests on your lawn. Some fertilizers contain herbicides that can kill weeds, like dandelions, clovers, and crabgrass. Other fertilizers contain insecticides that can control pests like grubs and chinch bugs.
Get Your Fertilizer Right The First Time
Lush Lawn’s 7-step fertilization and weed control program is the staple of the services that we offer and will help put your lawn on the right track for Summer and beyond. Our fertilization plan will give your Michigan lawn the nutrients it needs, and you can begin the process today by contacting Lush Lawn and requesting a free quote.