Lawn Discoloration - Knowledgebase Question

Pequot Lakes, Mi
Avatar for terriwolf152
Question by terriwolf152
March 15, 2010
We have placed lawn fertilizer, lime, etc. on our lawn but still have not been able to have a green lawn with the exception to around the trees where we fertilize. We are considering applying iron, what is the benefit, and secondly, if our soil is not needing the iron will this harm our lawn?

Answer from NGA
March 15, 2010
You may want to have your soil tested so you know what you're working with, which might guide you in the right direction in terms of what to apply. In areas of high rainfall soil can become too acid, in areas with low rainfall, soils tend to be alkaline. When a soil is too acidic or alkaline it can bind up minerals and make them unavailable to plant roots. When this happens, the fertilizer you apply won't be taken up by the roots. Lime tends to mellow acid soils but it takes a little while to work. Sulfur acidifies alkaline soils. Iron can help green up your lawn if the pH is out of whack and nutrients are bound up in the soil. Typically you'll see other plants in your landscape develop chlorosis, not just your lawn. Chlorotic leaves are a light green but the veins are generally deep green. You might want to check some other plants in your landscape to see if they have chlorosis. If so, iron might be helpful to your lawn. Aside from soil pH problems, overall yellowing can indicate saturated roots which are starved for air. Soil compaction results. You can address this by aerating your lawn. A core aerator will remove one inch by three inch plugs from the lawn. Leave the plugs on the lawn and they will dissolve in rain or water from the sprinklers. After aerating spread a thin layer of sand or compost over the area and water it in well. The sand or compost plus the soil from the plugs will work their way down into the holes left by the plugs. Grass roots will also have new places to grow and water will drain more quickly after aeration. This was a long answer to a short question - will iron hurt the lawn? - but I thought if you had an overall understanding it would help you in your decision as how to treat your lawn. Iron will not harm your lawn. Any unused iron will breakdown and be absorbed by the soil. Best wishes with your lawn.

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