An emerald green, healthy, lush lawn is the dream of many a homeowner. Since nutrients in the soil deplete as the lawn matures, it is important to replenish these nutrients with lawn fertilizer. The key elements in fertilizer are nitrogen, which gives the grass the rich color and makes it dense; potassium, which toughens the roots and blades to make the grass disease resistant; and phosphorus, which encourages deep root growth. Choosing a type of lawn fertilizer all depends on your lawn's health, your budget and the amount of work you want to put in.
Granular Lawn Fertilizers
Granular lawn fertilizers are one widely used because their dry granules are simple to apply and have longevity. Slow time-release formulas---more expensive than fast-release formulas---only have to be applied a couple of times per year, as the different phases of nutrient release provide the lawn with fertilization over the course of up to six months. Fast-release granular fertilizers release the nutrients quickly and are most beneficial for cold climates. The downfall with fast-release is that grass burn can occur easily. Make sure to follow the application directions exactly.
For long-term effects, use organic fertilizer such as kelp, blood meal or cottonseed that were once living organisms. After you incorporate organic fertilizer into the soil with a rake or spreader, the solution breaks down slowly, improving the thickness and quality of your grass. However, if you are squeamish about strong or unfavorable odors while applying this type of fertilizer, or need a quick fix for your lawn, an organic fertilizer is not the best choice.
Liquid fertilizer provides fast, immediately apparent results. Liquid fertilizer is be absorbed through the foliage and provides a noticeable improvement within a couple days---but this is just a quick fix. Without frequent application, the green will quickly fade away. More expensive than granular fertilizer, liquid fertilizer comes in a concentrated liquid form and is usually applied with a spray nozzle.
Synthetic fertilizer is manufactured chemically so that the nutrients penetrate the soil much faster than other varieties. As with liquid fertilizer, synthetic must be applied often, because the results don't have longevity. This fertilizer can burn your lawn easily, so it is important to follow the package instructions exactly. Synthetic is beneficial for those who want a quick fix to their lawn, but don't want to spend the money on more expensive liquid fertilizers.