Top 10 Reasons to Let Your Lawn Choose It’s Fertilizer

Blue grass lawn maintenance - Bluegrass Landscapes

Look out at your lawn. Does it give you pleasure to run your eyes across a dark green carpet of grass with no bare or brown spots? Do your feet want to go wandering across the grass, luxuriating in the fresh scent and soft but sturdy blades of grass, toes wriggling to get the complete grass treatment? It’s ok; feet love grass. However, sometimes barefoot is a necessity, as well as a luxury.

But how did your lawn get to be so wonderful?

There are many “secrets” to a great lawn, but the best one is to ensure your lawn has everything it needs. One of the most basic needs is to provide the nutrients it needs. These nutrients are contained in fertilizers. They support each plant and help each plant process and perform at its highest level. Having a landscaping team, such as Bluegrass Landscapes, with plenty of experience in growing lawns in Kentucky, can make a lot of difference in the quality of your lawn and the health of your landscape.

How do I know what my lawn needs?

Blue grass landscape lawn maintenance - Bluegrass Landscapes

Every area of Kentucky has different soil types and nutrient needs. The only way to know the specific needs of your soils and lawns is to do a soil sample. Remember that your soil may result from adding fill dirt during the construction process, or, if you have an older house, the topsoil may have been stripped away long ago.

A soil test will give you information about nutrients and the pH of your soil and help you and your landscapers select the best fertilizer combinations to give your lawn every nutrient it needs to be at the best health and beauty.

Sampling the soil is a straightforward task. Your landscaping team may be able to provide this service, but if not, the process is very simple. A clean container and a couple of hand tools will do the job.

Your county offices can provide clean bags to place your soil samples. In addition, some county offices can provide probes to make taking the samples easier. Take small samples from ten to fifteen different spots across your lawn, from about 1” to 2” deep. Make sure to remove any plant material from the soil. Mix the soil samples, enclose them in one of the provided clean bags from your county offices, and submit the sample. You should have results within a few weeks.

If you’re sampling flower beds or areas where you know the soil is different from the rest of your lawn, submit those samples in separate bags. We want the results to be as accurate as possible.

Sampling isn’t a constant task; it only needs to be done every five years or so unless something catastrophic happens

Now what?

We know the elemental composition of most grass plants. We also know which elements or nutrients are essential for the health of our lawns and landscapes. Your grass will need all of these elements to thrive, and the rest of your landscape will benefit from fertilizers that add nutrients to complement the types and varieties of plants and flowers growing.

What nutrients are needed?

Once you have your soil analysis, you’ll have a list of what nutrients will need to be replenished by fertilization. Each bag of fertilizer will have a label that tells you the percentage of each nutrient you can expect to find. You or your landscape partners will be able to choose the suitable fertilizers for each area of your lawn and landscape.

Nutrients you can find in most fertilizers:

  1. Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen. Not usually provided in fertilizers since they are supplied through water and air. 
  2. Nitrogen. This will usually break down into several types of sources.
  3. Potassium. It should be water-soluble.
  4. Calcium. 
  5. Sulfur.
  6. Magnesium
  7. Phosphorus
  8. Micronutrients:
    Zinc, Iron, Copper, Manganese, Chlorine, Molybdenum, and Boron

What kinds of fertilizers provide these nutrients?

Blue grass lawn maintenance - Bluegrass Landscapes

There are a lot of fertilizers available for farm use, and some of these are also suitable for your grass. Though explicitly made for turf, specialty fertilizers will have advantages over general fertilizers.

The main advantages are nutrient ratios for grass, uniform small particle size, low burn potential, and application rate.

And, let’s repeat part of that: burn potential. Some farm fertilizers have too much of a good thing, which works well for some crops, but can cause “burn” on lawns, leaving brown patches. While farm fertilizers generally cost less (more common ingredients at higher levels), fertilizers developed especially for turf will be healthier for your lawn.

When is a good time to fertilize the grass?

A lot depends on what type of grass you’re growing. Cool-season grasses are common in most Kentucky, which means they grow best in cooler weather. For cool-season grasses, including Kentucky bluegrass, fertilizing during the fall season works best. It helps the turf develop a better root system and utilize nutrients.

If the winter is mild, you should maintain good color in your grass following a fall fertilizer application. Eliminating or minimizing the fertilization process in the spring will help prevent heavy growth during the spring, help reduce the amount of mowing in the spring, and allow the root system to develop better drought tolerance. It can also make your lawn more heat resistant.

Late spring fertilization may work best if your lawn is primarily warm-season grass, like bermudagrass.

Nitrogen might be applied multiple times during a year, spending on weather and seasonal changes. Your landscaping team at Bluegrass Landscapes will have plenty of information about your lawn’s nitrogen levels and anticipated needs for nitrogen and other nutrients throughout the year.

Your county and state agricultural offices have many options for soil testing and charts for fertilizers with specific soil and grass types. Your landscapers will also have access to the information and use it to design the best schedule for your landscape.