Tips for Fertilizing Your Yard

ID-100168825If left to its own devices, the typical lawn will generally grow at a decent rate and remain green throughout the year as long as weather conditions remain ideal. Without fertilization, however, the lawn might not be as thick, as resilient, and as vibrantly green as possible. Fertilizing the lawn helps supply all of the most essential nutrients to the soil, strengthening the turf’s roots, allowing it to handle dry spells and extremely hot weather without turning brown, and giving the lawn the strength it needs to absorb rain and use naturally occurring nutrients as efficiently as possible. Getting the job done requires a combination of the best equipment and attentive work throughout the summer season. A few tips can help today’s homeowners fertilize and keep their lawn looking stunning from early spring right through the last days of autumn.

1. Understand the Difference Between Various Pieces of Equipment

Fertilizing the lawn typically requires a separate piece of equipment, or an attachment to an existing lawn tractor or riding mower. Like virtually all landscaping tools, fertilizers can come in several different types that work well for different homeowner needs, lawn types, and land sizes. Here’s what to know about each type.

  • Rotary Spreader: This piece of equipment whips fertilizer around in a circular motion, helping it to cover a much wider area in a short amount of time. It’s the perfect choice for larger lawns.
  • Drop Spreader: The drop spreader is a perfect choice when more controlled spreading of the fertilizer is required. Instead of whipping the fertilizer outward, the material simply drops down and creates straight rows. A slight overlap on each pass ensures full coverage.
  • Broadcast Spreader: Used via handheld operation, the broadcast spreader is perfect for small spaces. It’s also great for handling tight spaces that other types of spreaders can’t reach.

2. Leverage the Power of Watering the Lawn

Most homeowners should already be familiar with the beneficial effects of using sprinklers to water the lawn and overcome the irregularity of summer rainstorms, but water takes on added importance when fertilizing the lawn. Water the area thoroughly a few days before fertilizing and then, a few days after fertilizing, water the lawn again. The first watering primes the soil to accept the fertilizer, while the second one washes residual fertilizer off each blade of grass and into the soil where it can be most effective.

3. Fertilize at the Right Time to Enjoy the Best Results

Fertilizing the lawn isn’t necessarily a science, but planning the process for the right time of year can make a big difference in terms of lawn quality and durability throughout the summer. Throughout most of the country, it’s a good idea to fertilize the lawn each spring, right as the beginning of the “rainy season” takes hold. This rainy weather helps to spread and reinforce the fertilizer so that the lawn is most resilient throughout the drier, hotter summer months.

In the northern reaches of the United States, however, fertilizing the lawn during the early spring months might not be the best option. In states from the Upper Midwest to New England, fertilizing generally works best when performed at the end of the fall. This allows fertilizer to preserve the grass right before winter weather breaks it down. This approach can lead to much easier lawn restoration when snow melts and the lawn is reclaimed from deep snowfall accumulations.

4. Fertilize Naturally with Leftover Lawn Clippings

Known as “grasscycling,” this process refers to mowing the lawn and leaving clippings behind rather than raking, bagging, or otherwise collecting them. Grass clippings actually allow nutrients to pass through to the soil, providing a significant amount of fertilization without advanced chemicals, all-natural nutrient mixes, or professional service from lawn care experts. While the primary benefit of this process is added nitrogen, other nutrients provide much-needed help to the lawn as well.

5. Avoid Fertilizing on Hot, Dry Days

As mentioned earlier, water and fertilizer go together perfectly. Fertilizing and hot, dry weather, however, do not mix. Those who choose to fertilize the lawn during the height of summer will often find that the chemicals added to the lawn actually burn the grass rather than enrich the soil. This can cause season-long problems that discolor grass and cause headaches throughout the rest of the summer.

For Fertilizing Equipment, Parts and More, Head to Ralph Helm, Inc.

Whether it’s a new piece of equipment, the parts needed to maintain an existing lawn tractor, or new fertilizer that will keep the lawn looking great throughout the warmest months of the year, customers can find what they need at Ralph Helm, Inc. The company’s online store offer a parts lookup tool and a full lineup of fertilizing equipment, while visiting in-person at locations in Elgin and Crystal Lake, Illinois, combines that excellent inventory with sales expertise.


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