The transition from summer growth to winter growth is an ideal time to provide fall fertilization. A well-fertilized lawn will store up a substantial amount of food reserves and produce healthy roots to sustain it during the winter.
Why is it important to fertilize your lawn?
Fertilizers are necessary because in some cases they soil cannot supply the grass with all the nutrients it requires to stay healthy and green. They help by helping in the recovery from pest damage and foot traffic, increasing leaf and root growth, reducing and controlling weeds and replenishing nutrients lost to leaching and transpiration.
What kind of nutrients does my lawn needs?
All plants require certain chemical elements for proper growth and appearance. At least 16 of these nutrients are known to be essential.
Turf grasses require the macronutrients Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) in greatest quantities. Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg) and Sulfur (S) are secondary nutrients and are needed in less quantity. The micronutrients Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Chlorine (Cl), Molybdenum (Mo) and Boron (B) are required in very small amounts.
What are macronutrients?
Macronutrients are the essential elements used by plants in relatively large amounts.
These elements are Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.
Nitrogen (N) is important for turf growth and development and vivid green color.
Phosphorus (P) is important for root growth and cellular functioning. This macronutrient is not always required unless a soil test determines that is needed.
Potassium (K) plays a critical role in reducing the loss of water from leaves and increases the ability of the roots to take up water from the soil. Good potassium nutrition has been shown to improve drought tolerance, improve winter hardiness, better resistance to certain fungal diseases and a much better tolerance to insect plants.
What do the numbers on a fertilizer label mean?
These numbers represent the three major nutrients a lawn needs to thrive, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. A 16-0-8 fertilizer contains 16 percent of nitrogen, 0 percent of phosphorus and 8 percent of potassium. A 0-0-24 fertilizer contains 0 percent of nitrogen, 0 percent of phosphorus and 24 percent of potassium.
It is recommended to use a slow release form of fertilizer because the nutrients are provided gradually but consistently and this is how must plants prefer to be fed.
Are there any restrictions on fertilizing?
The City of Marco Island and Naples restrict the application of fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus during the periods of June 1st to September 30th. The purpose is to provide specific management guidelines for fertilizer application in order to minimize the negative environmental effects on the bodies of water surrounding the cities.
While there is not a magic recipe to achieving a better lawn there are some basic steps you can follow that will give you a lush, healthy lawn. Never remove more than 1/3 at any mowing, make sure the blades are sharp, make sure the grass is getting enough water but always following local regulations, fertilize your lawn and prevent problems with pests and diseases.
Managing a lawn is no easy task because there are just too many factors we have no control over for example weather conditions and water restrictions. If you decide to hire a company to help you manage your lawn please make sure that they are licensed and also have the credentials to do the job. Not only can you loose your beautiful lawn but you could end up paying a fine for hiring an unlicensed contractor.
Paradise awaits you; enjoy your lawn rather than spending all of your time working on it. Hire a licensed professional and support your local businesses, they are the back bone of the economy.
If you have any questions about managing your lawn or any other pest issues please send them to Yvette@alsmarco.com or call 239-389-1468.
Yvette is a Florida Certified Pest Control Operator in general household pest control and lawn and ornamental spraying. She completed studies in Entomology and Pest Control and holds a Pest Control Technology certificate from the University of Florida. She is a Licensed Landscape Contractor in Collier County and has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. Yvette and her husband Al are the owners of Affordable Landscaping Service and Design, LLC. a company that offers Landscaping Design, Lawn Care, Tree Trimming and Pest Control Services.