Fertilizer – Proper Selection and Application
After determining the specific fertility needs of your lawn by reviewing the soil test report or conferring with a turfgrass specialist at your local garden center, you can select the best fertilizer to use.
Selecting the Fertilizer
Take time to carefully consider what is in the fertilizer bag according to the label detailing the guaranteed analysis. As you are making your selection, review all the details listed on the fertilizer bag, including when and how to properly apply the product and any cautions pertaining to its application.
As with all fertilizer or control products, the label must be read, understood and followed explicitly. Also consider how the fertilizer you will select fits into your overall fertilization program.
The fertilizer bag will list how many square feet the product will cover. It will provide information on the proper setting to use with various types of lawn spreaders to achieve the proper calibration for applying the correct amount of fertilizer to cover the desired area.
If you have questions about how to properly apply the product with the type of lawn spreader you will be using, address those questions with the turfgrass specialist at your garden center before making your purchase.
If the lawn spreader you generally use is not appropriate for the fertilizer product that you want to apply, make arrangements to rent or borrow one that is appropriate.
Apply the fertilizer with either a drop or broadcast spreader.
A drop spreader delivers the fertilizer to the lawn through an opening at the bottom of a spreader hopper. The fertilizer is evenly spread across the width of this opening.
A broadcast spreader has a spinning device just below the opening at the bottom of the spreader hopper. Fertilizer is spread across a wider area of the lawn by the rotary action of the spinning device.
Each type spreader will have an application dial or other device that allows you to set the amount of fertilizer that moves through the opening.
As you make the application, be sure to position each pass with the spreader so there are no gaps or excessive overlaps in the fertilizer distribution pattern. You want to apply the fertilizer evenly over the entire surface of the lawn.
To help assure more even and thorough coverage, the fertilizer bag also may include spreader settings to split the recommended amount of fertilizer equally between two, half-rate applications.
In this case, adjust the spreader application dial to distribute one-half of the fertilizer bag’s recommended rate. Make the first application in a north to south pattern, covering the entire lawn. Begin the second application immediately, in an east to west pattern to cover the entire lawn.
Follow the application with any actions as listed in directions provided on the fertilizer label.
If you purchased more fertilizer than you need, store the unused portion in a sealed container in a cool, dry place. If properly stored, it will be just as effective for another application, even if that won’t occur until next year.