The best time to fertilize is in the fall. Try to choose natural and organic fertilizers even if they sometimes cost more in the short term, since natural or organic fertilizers release more nutrients in the long run.
A common misunderstanding is that spring is the time to fertilize, but grass will green-up and grow naturally in the spring. Fertilizing in the summer is also not recommended, since it encourages weed growth, which can overwhelm the grass when it is most vulnerable. In addition, if you are leaving the grass clippings on your lawn after mowing, you could be providing your lawn with up to 25% of the total nitrogen it needs!
Testing your soil will help you determine what fertilizing is needed, if any:
Nitrogen (N) promotes growth and good color. If your soil tests reveal that your soil has a low organic matter content, you can increase nitrogen in your soil with organic composted cow manure, or fish or seaweed foliar sprays.
Phosphorous (P) promotes strong roots and help plants to flower. If your soil test indicates a phosphorous deficiency, you can spread rock phosphate or bonemeal.
Potassium (K) promotes the flow of nutrients through plants and helps plants withstand stress such as drought, insect damage, or extreme temperatures. An organic source of potassium is Sul-po-mag (0-0-22), the commercial name for the mined mineral sulfate of potash-magnesia.
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