How to fertilize your lawn | Living the Country Life

How to fertilize your lawn

We all want a healthy, green lawn, and often use fertilizers to boost growth. For best results, calculate the size of your yard, and buy a local product

Radio interview source: Zac Reicher, Turfgrass Professor, University of Nebraska

Fertilizing your lawn properly can lead to a lush, green turf, something homeowners desire.
Zac Reicher is a turfgrass professor at the University of Nebraska. He says regardless of whether you have cool-season grass or warm-season grass, neither really needs a lot of fertilizer in the spring. 
"The cool season grasses, the ones that stay green throughout much of the year, we prefer to fertilize those primarily in the fall," he says. "Labor Day, sometime in October, almost nationwide, with a little bit in the spring and a little bit in the summer. Conversely if you have a warm season grass – Bermuda grass, zoysia grass – those you want to put most of the fertilizer down in June, July, and August."
You can buy bags of fertilizer as you need them, or follow a four-and-five-step program to keep you on a lawn maintenance schedule. Reicher says some steps are very important, but others maybe not so much. You'll have to decide what's best for your lawn.  He strongly advises buying locally, because formulations and recommendations change from region-to-region. 
Apply the fertilizer with a rotary or drop spreader.
"There's spreader settings on the back of the bag, invariably those spreader settings are inaccurate or your spreader's not on there," Reicher says. "The easiest thing to do is calculate how much area you have in the lawn, calculate how much product you need to apply, weigh out half the product, set the spreader really light and go in one direction across the lawn. Put the other half of the product in going the opposite direction across the lawn."
Most fertilizers need to be soaked in with a-quarter-to-half-inch of water. Applying right before it rains is perfect. However, if thunderstorms are predicted, you should probably wait so the fertilizer doesn't run off. 

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