For those of you who tested your soil this spring, and for those who didn’t, it’s time to pick the proper fertilizer for the lawn. The most important component of the fertilizer is nitrogen (the first number in fertilizer). We all need to apply nitrogen a couple of times a year. Nitrogen is used for plant growth and it can also evaporate and be washed off. Phosphate and potash (second and third numbers) can be anywhere from too much to non-existent.
After fertilizer is applied, be sure and apply a measured amount of water. Not enough water can cause burning (mainly from salt) and too much will cause runoff. Fertilizer runoff has been linked to algae blooms in lakes and ponds. If you use the correct amount of fertilizer less water will be needed to get your lawn in tip-top shape. Because water restrictions are the new normal, it is tempting to apply fertilizer before the rain. It may be tempting, but controlled water amounts are best to prevent runoff and uneven distribution. It is, however, a very good idea to apply your fertilizer after a rain when the ground is wet. You still need to put some water on it but it will only take a small amount.