Lawn Care for You, the Homeowner

Spring is officially here.  It’s time to start thinking about shaping up the yard, and your lawn is a big part of that. Now is a great time to start preparing your lawn with an early spring fertilizer to attain and maintain that nice green look in your lawn.

Claude, Jim and I will be writing some articles throughout the growing season to help you keep your lawn looking great.

In order to give your lawn an excellent boost this spring, we recommend an early treatment of lawn fertilizer for a strong green up. You may combine this with an annual weed preventative to help keep those unwanted grassy weeds (such as crabgrass) out of your lawn. We also suggest getting a PH test for the soil to determine whether your soil could be too acidic or to alkaline and to correct your PH with soil amending products.

Why fertilize in early spring? Grass and other plants are emerging from the dormant stage. Once the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees, the soil microbes will start to become active and the grass will green up.  In order to maintain a lush healthy green lawn, grass needs the proper nutrients in order to grow strong and vibrant. Giving your lawn a high-quality slow release fertilizer in early spring will feed your lawn over the next 8 plus weeks, and set up your yard nicely for the rest of the growing season.

Choosing the right fertilizer is important. The lawn lives in the soil surrounded by air, water, living things and humus, the residue of living things.  In soil, the fundamental physical, chemical and biological processes necessary for lawn grass growth take place. For a lawn grass plant to be healthy it needs nutrients. These nutrients are divided into two main groups, the non-mineral and the mineral.

The non-mineral nutrients are hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. These nutrients are found in the air and water that surrounds us. In a process called photosynthesis, green plants use energy from the sun to change carbon dioxide, from the air, and hydrogen from the water, into sugars. These sugars become the means for making the carbohydrates, fats, oils, and proteins that are the building blocks of life.  Since green plants get their carbon, hydrogen and oxygen from the air and water, there is little that man can do to control how much of these nutrients a green plant can make or use.  We and all of life on earth are living off of the green plant for our food supply.

There are thirteen mineral nutrients, which come from the soil, that are important for lawn grass plant growth.  The mineral nutrients are divided into two groups:  macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Grass plants use these macronutrients for their growth and survival and not all of these nutrients are found in lawn fertilizers.  Micronutrients are essential elements for lawn grass plant growth, which are needed in smaller quantities. The micronutrients are boron, copper, iron, chloride, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. Recycling of organic material, such as grass clippings, is as excellent way to provide micronutrients. They are absorbed by lawn grass plants from the soil and water by means of their root hairs.  There are not always enough of these minerals present in the soil for a lawn grass plant to produce maximum healthy growth. This is why we fertilize the lawn. We also fertilize to supply nitrogen to stimulate lawn growth; however, this as in the case of mineral nutrients, is done to supply extra nutrients for lawn growth stimulation.

High-quality lawn fertilizers feed evenly throughout an eight-week or longer period of time giving your lawn the right amount of food at the right time. Determining the amount and kind of fertilizer you need for your lawn will greatly depend upon your soil’s condition and PH level to provide the nutrients your grass needs.

When purchasing your fertilizer, you may want to think about getting fertilizer for other times of the growing season so you’ll be able to enjoy your lawn the entire growing season.

Best wishes to you on a great lawn you can enjoy this year.

­­—Len Schrock,

Jonathan Green Lawn Care Consultant,

Grabill & Woodburn