The Importance Of Lawn Fertilization
Fertilization is one of the most important elements of any lawn care program. The process can be carried out by homeowners or professionals, and there are organic and synthetic fertilizers available. If you are planning to fertilize your own lawn, you first need to understand more about fertilizers to ensure you buy the right product. Read more about 13 13 13 fertilizer below.
What is lawn fertilizer?
Fertilizer is not lawn food. Grass produces its own food for growth from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide via photosynthesis. However, the photosynthesis process also requires some key nutrients for completion, with the most important three being nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Hence why you find NPK fertilizers for sale. Grass also needs some other nutrients for healthy growth, but those three main ones are needed in higher quantities.
What is 13 13 13 fertilizer?
On the front of fertilizer bags, you will find three numbers, for example, 13-13-13. Those numbers represent the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) ratio of each mineral in the fertilizer. So, a bag of 13-13-13 fertilizer contains 13% nitrogen, 13% phosphorus and 13% potassium by weight. This means if you buy a 100-pound bag of 13-13-13 fertilizer, you are getting 13 pounds of each of the minerals. Meanwhile, if you buy a 50-pound bag of Urea, which is a 46-0-0 fertilizer, you will get 23 pounds of nitrogen and zero pounds of phosphorus or potassium.
Which fertilizer is the best?
Nitrogen is the most important nutrient lawns needs on an annual basis for healthy growth. A fescue lawn requires around 2.5 pounds of the nutrient per year for fast, thick growth. Most of the nitrogen application should take place in the fall when grass is entering a dormant stage and storing up sugar in its root systems. An application of nitrogen fertilizer in the fall with ensure a healthier root system and a fast green-up in spring.
Phosphorus is often referred to as the establishment nutrient, as it helps newly seeded grass to mature more quickly. Naturally occurring phosphorus in the soil is often difficult for young grass to access with its immature root system because it is tightly stored. Applying a starter lawn fertilizer, like 13-26-13, will provide new seedlings with readily available phosphorus. However, before the application of starter fertilizer, it’s advisable to carry out a soil test to see if it is really necessary, as phosphorus is a major pollutant of water supplies across the country.
Potassium is needed by grass to help it cope with stress from frost, heat, wear, and disease. Like phosphorus, the nutrient should only be applied after a soil test on an as-needed basis. Basically, unless you are seeding a lawn, you typically will not need to buy a balanced fertilizer, like a 20-20-20.
Some fertilizers contain various macronutrients (eg. sulfur, magnesium, and calcium) and micronutrients (eg. manganese and iron). These additional nutrients will be stated on the bag’s label.
How much fertilizer do I need?
To calculate how much fertilizer you need to buy for your lawn, you need to know its total area and the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium you wish to apply. For example, let’s say you seek to provide your lawn with 1 pound of nitrogen (N) per 1000 sq ft using Urea (46-0-0) fertilizer, you would need to apply 2.17 pounds of Urea (46-0-0) per 1000 sq ft since the fertilizer contains 0.46 lbs of nitrogen per pound. If your lawn is 10,000 square feet, you would need 21.7 pounds of Urea for a full application. This means you could get two applications out of a 50-pound bag of urea fertilizer.