Fertilizing Tips For A Healthy, Greener Lawn

What happened to your green, healthy lawn? You started with the best of intentions in the spring to keep your lawn green, but by midsummer you're ready to settle for almost anything.

What usually is lacking is a planned approach to lawn management. Fertilizers are part of this overall plan and the best time to do this is in the spring.

The three basic types of fertilizers you'll find in stores are organic, slow release and soluble synthetics. Of the three, soluble fertilizers probably offer the most convenience and availability and are the best priced.

Once you've determined the type of fertilizer to use, the application process is next. The drop spreader or broadcast spreader is the best. Each allows for greater control of the amount of fertilization being distributed on your lawn. You can do it by hand, but it is almost a guessing game because there's such a wide margin for error. You can severely burn your lawn from too much nitrogen.

On the other hand, the push-type spreaders have adjustable settings that control the amount of fertilizer coverage on your lawn. Simply match the setting to that on the fertilizer package. This way, you're sure the correct amount of fertilizer is applied to your grass.


Lay two strips of fertilizer at each end of your lawn, then, in single strips, distribute the fertilizer. (The completed end strips let you turn the spreader, after you shut it off, without overlapping the end areas.) Be sure not to overlap or underlap the strips. Shut off the hamper at the end of each strip. Drive moveable stakes into the ground for the proper fertilizer coverage.

Be sure that when you start with a strip, you keep moving at an even gait. If you don't, the fertilizer will be thick in one spot -- causing the grass to burn -- and thin in another.

Keep the spreader wheel inside the previous track. Use the wheel tracks as your marker. Keep rows even. If you don't, your lawn will look like a series of hairpin turns.

Spreader maintenance is extremely important. After each use -- without fail -- wash the spreader clean using a garden hose turned on full force. Then let dry. If the spreader is not completely cleaned, its parts will rust immediately.