The Q&A Archives: Lawn fertilizer

Question: I would like to know what type of fertilizer and how many times should I use for my lawn in Seattle, WA.

Should I be using different type of a fertilizer for different types?

Does it make much difference if I use organic fertlizer ?

Should I be using something special for fall to make sure I dont have much moss after fall/winter season?

Answer: To keep your lawn green and healthy, you should fertilize 4 times a year (April, June, September and late November or early December) with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (the 3 numbers on the fertilizer package. Generally you'll use a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen content in April and June (such as a 21-7-14) and one with a lower nitrogen but higher phosphorus and potassium content in September and late November. These latter fertilizers are sometimes called winterizer fertilizers. Nitrogen promotes lush, green growth; phosphorous promotes stem growth; potassium promotes root growth. The lower nitrogen, higher phosophorous and potassium formulas will help the root system of your grasses growth and remain healthy in the fall and winter months.

For plant roots, there's not much difference in organic and commercially formulated fertilizers. Plants will assimulate them with equal glee. However, organic fertilizers are plant-derived and therefore easier on the environment.

Organic fertilizers vary in their NPK ratios, and several products are sometimes needed to create a fairly balanced mix. Some organic fertilizers follow: Nitrogen: alfalfa meal, blood meal, coffee grounds, cottonseed meal, fish emulsion, seabird guano. Phosphorous: bone meal, rock phosphate Potassium: greensand, seaweed, kelp. You can mix your own using the above materials to make a custom blend specifically for what you're growing, or you can purchase already mixed blends. Either way, regular applications are needed to keep your lawn healthy and happy.

Best wishes with your lawn!

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