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Lawn fertilizer

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Updated: 4/13/2007 10:48 am
Fertilizer is an important part of keeping your lawn healthy. The type of fertilizer you use is based upon your soil type. The basic fertilizers have three numbers on their label that describe their chemical makeup. The most common fertilizer is twenty-five-ten (20-5-10). These numbers represent that twenty percent of the mixture contains nitrogen, five percent contains phosphorous, and ten percent contains potassium. Trace elements such as iron, zinc, sulphur, and magnesium are included to help correct any mineral deficiencies in the soil. Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda, Zoysia [ZOY-SEE-AH], and Tiff grow mostly during June, July, and August, and therefore respond well to monthly fertilization during the spring and summer. Cool-season turfs, such as Rye and Fescue [FES-Q], do not require regular fertilizer applications during the summer months because they become nearly inactive when night time temperatures consistently exceed seventy degrees. These grasses grow most actively while it is cool and should be fertilized during the fall and winter. Liquid, hose-end type fertilizers are easy to use and do not require the purchase of an expensive spreader, but applying at a specific rate per square foot is much more difficult than with granular fertilizers and a spreader. Liquid fertilizer can be used for quick results as the mixture is absorbed rapidly by the turf foliage. Granular fertilizers offer longer lasting results. The granules are slowly broken down by moisture and heat and are gradually absorbed by the root system. If you are unsure of your grass type or soil conditions, contact a lawn care professional for help in answering these questions.
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