Most often used to help a plant grow healthy and strong, fertilizer is a term for any organic or inorganic substance added to boost the nutrients in the soil. It’s also often called plant food or lawn food, although the plants don’t actually eat it. Fertilizer comes in a huge variety of products.
Common Lawn Fertilizers
Most commercial lawn fertilizer is a mixture of nutrients that include nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. When you see a group of three numbers on a fertilizer bag or box, they are the measure based on the percentage of weight of each of those three nutrients. A complete fertilizer will contain all three, as well as organics and trace elements like copper, zinc and iron.
Many homeowners are looking towards more natural fertilizers that contain all of the essential elements in a convenient, non-chemically based package. Composted manure is a favorite organic fertilizer, most often from a horse, cow or sheep.
Household compost made from kitchen scraps and weed and disease-free garden waste is another popular natural fertilizer. Made in your own backyard, this compost is extremely economical and, with the right mixture of materials in the compost bin, it will provide the balance of nutrients that your lawn needs.
Vermicompost is another type of natural fertilizer, although it is not often produced in quantities large enough to use on a lawn.
Why Do You Need Fertilizer?
To maintain a healthy, thriving lawn it is highly recommended that you use fertilizer, often in the spring as well as in the fall (for four season climates). Fertilizers are available in liquid form, granule form or another solid state and can be spread or sprayed directly onto the grass. Be sure to spread the fertilizer lightly and evenly to prevent burning and other damage.