Fertilising in Spring
Springtime is go-time when it comes to fertilising your lawn and the best time for lawn care.
The soil beneath your precious lawn has warmed up and your grass is starting to grow again after winter and responds well to fertiliser.
Lawn is a living thing and it needs to be fed, just like you.
Therefore, spring fertilising creates a healthy, maintained lawn which is pleasing to the eye.
And a regular lawn care program – starting in spring – keeps your turf dense and green.
Spring fertilising jumps-start your lawn for the rest of the growing season and aids its growth progress following the effects of winter, such as browning and thinning.
Spring fertilising is also great for keeping your soil nice and healthy – healthy soil means healthy lawn!
Spring lawn application rates
It is important that you tell your local garden centre what sort of grass you have before purchasing your spring fertiliser, so you buy the correct one.
A good piece of advice before spring fertilising is to aerate your lawn as winter often causes a lot of compaction.
Aerating addresses compaction by putting small holes into the lawn therefore allowing the fertiliser to access the soil and improving air circulation –aiding your lawns growth.
Slow release fertiliser
Most lawns respond well to a slow release fertiliser which can be found at any local garden centre.
Using a slow release fertiliser twice during spring also allows you to stretch out the application process.
The first application of your slow release fertiliser should occur during early September (when the weather warms up) and the second application 6 to 8 weeks later – during November.
Key features of slow release fertilisers are that:
The nutrients slowly release and continuously
All of the fertiliser’s nutrients are utilised following watering in
Use of low application rates (saves money)
There is only the need to apply three times during the year (twice in spring and once in autumn)
Another benefit of a slow release fertiliser is that a consistent level of growth and greening occurs across the life of the application with no spike in growth and no nutrient-run off.
It is important not to use cheap slow release fertilisers as these products tend to initially release a lot of nutrients and dwindle off quickly with nutrient delivery, resulting in an initial surge in growth and greening – however, consistent growth will not be maintained.
Traditional lawn fertiliser
Traditional lawn fertiliser is often the cheapest lawn food choice but not necessarily the best.
Key features of tradition lawn fertilisers are that:
They require high application rates
They only supply your lawn with short-term feed
They create a crystalline or powdered appearance
A spike in growth and greening occurs (rapid initial response which tappers off quickly)
They require frequent applications
Traditional fertilisers also tend to dump their nutrient load immediately after watering in which often leads to high nutrient run-off into waterways and drains.
Application rates for traditional fertilisers are every 4 to 6 weeks and rely on the lawn being able to absorb the nutrients as they move through the soil.
However frequent applications of traditional fertiliser can have detrimental effects on the soil chemistry and therefore health.
Organic lawn fertilisers
A ‘true’ organic fertiliser is one that has been certified as 100% organic – so be sure to have that guaranteed when purchasing.
The simplest way to check that it is 100% organic is by looking for the Australian Organic Certified logo on the bottle or pack.
A recommended organic fertiliser is a blend of both a natural (organic) and synthetic (manufactured) fertiliser.
Therefore, the use of an organic lawn food and soil improver combines the features of both a slow release fertiliser as well as natural ingredients such as seaweed, fish, manure and bio-stimulants.
Since organic fertiliser are natural products it is hard to over-fertiliser and in fact, they make your soil and plant health strong.
As organic fertilisers can be more expensive than other fertilisers it is possible to make your own by composting manure – such as from cattle or chooks.
The best time to apply your organic fertiliser in spring is either late September or early October.
Another application of organic fertiliser during winter – preferably late June.
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