Ultimate Guide to Fertilizing a New England Lawn
It's Spring in New England, and you know what that means? Lawn care season has begun! You might have googled Lawn Fertilizers and been quickly overwhelmed by hundreds and hundreds of products. If you live in New England, this guide is made for you! don't worry, we will guide in you in the right direction, save you some time, and you will be on your way to fertilizing your lawn and growing a healthy, lush lawn!
How do I Choose the Right Fertilizer for my Lawn?
If you bought a bag of fertilizer at the store, it probably says on the bag how much nitrogen, potassium, and other nutrients it contains. But did you ever think to ask if the bag was a good fit for the soil where you plan to grow your lawn?
Selecting the right fertilizer is an important part of gardening. You need to provide your lawn with the right amount of nutrients to keep it healthy and strong. There are a number of factors to consider when selecting the right fertilizer for your lawn. You need to consider the size of the lawn, the type of lawn, the location, and the soil N-P-K levels.
N-P-K - "The Big 3"
Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are often referred to as the “Big 3” primary nutrients in commercial fertilizers. They’re all critical to plant growth and health. But when it comes to which of these nutrients is most important, it depends on your soil. That’s because not all soils are created equal. The amount of each nutrient in your soil can vary depending on location. It's always a good idea to perform a soil test to see what the levels of each nutrient are in your soil. This is important because then you can adjust your fertilizer choice accordingly.
Soil Testing is Easy and Important
Having soil tested is an important part of growing an amazing lawn. Knowing the composition of the soil in your yard will help you to tailor the soil to the needs of the grass you want to grow. There are a number of different ways to test your soil to determine its nutrient composition, but one of the most basic is to purchase a soil test kit. These kits contain a number of different tests and easy to read instructions to guide you through the process of soil testing. Note: If you have a large area to fertilize you might want to take multiple samples from different places around your lawn, then figure out an average.
Making Sense of the Soil Test
After you have your soils tested, you will be able to easily determine what important nutrients are in your soil and what ones are missing. This information will help you in your decision to choose a fertilizer. Almost every bag of fertilizer will have the N-P-K levels on the bag. Telling you how much of each nutrient is in the fertilizer. The typical designation is 00-00-00, The first digit is the amount of nitrogen, the second is phosphorus and the third is potassium.
Adjust the N-P-K levels of your soil accordingly
The Ideal amount of N-P-K is 3-1-2, meaning you will want to use 3% Nitrogen, 1% Phosphorus and 2% potassium. This is the ideal combination for most grasses and plants and can easily be scaled up depending on what nutrients your soil is lacking. If you are on a budget or lacking time to do a proper soil test, finding an all-around fertilizer that has even amounts of N-P-K like 10-10-10 for example would be a good start and give you a good foundation for your lawn to grow. Note: Some fertilizers contain extras such as insect and grub prevention or weed preventers which will aid your journey to grow a beautiful lawn.
Brand Name Fertilizer vs Private Label Fertilizer
Most lawn care experts recommend using a brand name fertilizer for best results. However, private label fertilizers can be a great option because they are usually more affordable and contain the same or very close to the same N-P-K levels. This means that you are only paying for the brand name since all fertilizers are generally the same quality.
Using Fertilizer Near Lake Winnipesaukee or other bodies of Water
If you live near a body of water and you must fertilize your lawn you must be careful! Fertilizers are known for seeping into the water table and can contaminate it over time. A great fertilizer which we recommend for use around bodies of water is Milorganite. Milorganite is a great fertilizer for green lawns that are near bodies of water. It is a slow-release fertilizer, which means that it will spread the nutrients throughout the soil over a period of a few months. Milorganite also contains non-leaching Phosphorus which prevents excess phosphorus from potential contaminating of bodies of water. Note: The best way to find out if a fertilizer is safe near your local body of water is by contacting a local government agency
Are you Ready to Fertilize?
There you have it, you are now a fertilizer expert. If you have any questions please visit or contact Gilford Hardware & Outdoor Power Equipment (if you live locally please!) If not it would be a good idea to contact your local independent hardware store so they can help guide you in the right direction.