Lawn Fertilizer Facts

Overview

Lawn care requires more than just mowing and watering; lawns need a regular program of feeding and maintenance. Fertilizers provide the nutrients your lawn needs to grow and thrive.

Lawn fertilizers keep your grass looking its best. image by "Happy Gorgeous Green Velvia XPRO Thursday!" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: kevindooley (Kevin Dooley) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Purpose

A healthy, well-fed lawn is resistant to drought and disease, weed and insect invasion. A soil test will help determine what nutrients are present or missing from your soil.

Components

Lawn fertilizers contain the components nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, usually listed as "NPK." Nitrogen (N) promotes green, above-ground growth, phosphorus (P) feeds the roots and potassium (K) aids in photosynthesis and root development.

Fast or Slow Release Nitrogen

Fertilizers contain "fast release" or "slow release" nitrogen. The University of Illinois Extension suggests: "For lawns, fertilizers containing controlled-release nitrogen sources are suggested for most applications."

When to Feed

Lawns should be fertilized in spring and fall. Spring fertilizers help lawns "green up" quickly while fall fertilizers build strong roots for winter resiliency.

Forms

Several forms of fertilizer are available, including liquid and granular. Liquid fertilizers are fast acting, but granular formulas are easier to measure and apply.

References

  • SW Florida Water Management: Fertilizers
  • University of Illinois Extension: Choosing Fertilizers
  • USDA: Soil Testing
Keywords: lawn fertilizer, npk, lawn care

About this Author

Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on VetInfo and various other websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hartwick College.