The Q&A Archives: Lawn Fertilizers

Question: I usually use Scott's Lawn Fertilizer four times a year. A horticulturist at a nursery told me that Scott's should not be used because the nitrogen content is too high and just makes the grass grow too quickly, while not allowing the grass to become strong and more drought tolerant. She suggested a brand called GroWell, which had less nitrogen. I want my lawn to be dark green, but not grow too quickly. I don't even mind the mowing, I just want it to be really green. Any thoughts?

Answer: The color of your lawn will depend on more factors than just fertilizer. To some extent it depends on the type of grass you are growing, the amount of rain or watering it receives and the soil it is growing in. Rather than simply applying fertilizer, the best way to obtain the greenest possible lawn is to run some basic soil tests and see exactly what your soil is like. Based on the results, you can add amendments or topdress or lime or fertilize or water to optimize the growing conditions for your lawn, even fine - tuning it to account for mowing height and frequency, watering schedule, grass type, soil structure and so on. Your County Extension (566-0673 in New York City) should be able to help you with the soil tests and interpreting the results. They may even be able to suggest the best grass varieties for your local area and conditions for the results you are after. Good luck with that green lawn!

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