WHAT, WHY, HOW

Lawn Fertilising

WHAT, WHY, HOW

Lawn Feeding

Just like any other garden plant, grass needs food.

A good lawn feeding programme follows three rules:

  1. Feed more than once a year
  2. Feed with the correct lawn feed for the time of year
  3. Keep up other basic lawn care to make sure the grass benefits from lawn feeding.

Each of these is examined below.

fertilizer 1

Granular lawn fertilisers

Why is lawn fertilising necessary?

Many lawn problems only arise because the lawn is starved of adequate nutrition and hence in poor condition. Regular lawn feeding helps to keep these problems at bay. The three most important nutrients for grass are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Each of these helps the grass in specific ways:

Nitrogen: promotes sturdy plants and dense growth, reducing competition from weeds

Phosphorus: helps establish and grow strong root systems

Potassium: enhances resistance to disease, drought, wear and tear and cold weather.

How often should I fertilise my lawn?

Some people feed once a year and consider that adequate. However, no fertilizer lasts for ever, and many grass feeds only remain effective for around 12 weeks (less in heavy rainfall, longer in dry conditions), after which the grass begins to be starved of those essential nutrients once more.

For a good lawn feeding schedule, plan to feed each of the four seasons. And you can also overlap your feeds to avoid a nutrient-poor gap; so, if the product says it lasts for 12 weeks, reapply after 10.

Man feeding

How often should I feed my lawn?

Man feeding

Some people feed once a year and consider that adequate. However, no fertilizer lasts for ever, and many grass feeds only remain effective for around 12 weeks (less in heavy rainfall, longer in dry conditions), after which the grass begins to be starved of those essential nutrients once more.

For a good lawn feeding schedule, plan to feed each of the four seasons. And you can also overlap your feeds to avoid a nutrient-poor gap; so, if the product says it lasts for 12 weeks, reapply after 10.

What is seasonal lawn fertilising?

snow and grass

It is really important to match your fertilizer to the season, as the grass’s needs change through the year. Look for products where the proportions of the three key nutrients are indicated by three numbers. For example, a 5-5-10 feed contains five parts each of N and P and 10 of K.

Here is a guide for the right feed mixes for native bents and fescues:

Spring: 5-5-10

Summer: 10-5-5

Autumn: 16-5-10

Winter: 4-0-10 plus added iron (FE)

What lawn fertiliser product should I use - liquid, granular or 'feed, weed 'n' moss'?

Granular feeds are usually the best option, and here’s why. First, tempting though a ‘do it all’ product is, these are ultimately a compromise and give you less control over what you apply to your lawn (it is easy to over-apply, for example, leading to the moss killer element scorching the grass). Secondly, liquid has the most immediate effect BUT requires application every 4-6 weeks and hence is not realistic for most gardeners. So, use granular feeds – they are easier to apply accurately and will deliver a steady feed of nutrients as they break down and are absorbed into the soil.

What lawn fertilising equipment do I need?

For accurate application, you should use a machine rather than spreading by hand. The two main types are drop spreaders (useful when close to the flower bed) and spinning disc machines (which spread more efficiently). To achieve an even application, you can halve the recommended volume of food per area and then make two passes in two different directions.

DropSpreader1317a
Drop spreader
David feeding cropped
Spinning disc spreader

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