The lawn is one of the garden areas with the highest nutrient requirements. How to fertilize your lawn as needed.
The weekly lawn mowing during the season continuously removes leaf mass and therefore nutrients from the lawn. A balanced fertilization compensates for this. But before you fertilize your lawn, you should know what it looks like in the soil: A soil analysis every three to four years provides information about which nutrients are abundant and which are missing. With the result, the laboratory usually gives you a fertilizer recommendation.
Fertilize the lawn: the most important things in brief
A dense, lush green lawn needs a lot of nutrients. Therefore, fertilize it three to four times a year, ideally with long-term organic fertilizers. The first fertilization takes place in early to mid-April when the forsythia blooms, a second time in June. If the lawn is used intensively, it will be happy to add a third fertilizer in August. In autumn, it is then supplied with an autumn lawn fertilizer to increase the frost hardiness of the grasses.
Why should you fertilize your lawn at all?
Lawn grasses have a high nutrient requirement. If they are to grow densely and quickly, they must be fertilized accordingly. If you don’t do this, competitive weeds quickly spread in the lawn, which thrive splendidly with significantly less nutrients. The lawn grows constantly, it is constantly pruned – that takes strength. If there is then an intensive use, you can see the lawn at some point. Proper lawn care is therefore essential if you want to have a beautiful lawn. But that doesn’t mean that you should always use lawn fertilizer when the lawn looks a bit stressed.
How often do you have to fertilize the lawn?
It is advisable to fertilize the lawn three to a maximum of four times a year. If you use a mulching mower or a robotic lawnmower turns in your garden, the lawn gets by with less fertilizer – here the fine clippings remain on the surface, decompose slowly and the nutrients contained can be reused by the grasses.
When do you have to fertilize the lawn?
It is important that you distribute the nutrients evenly throughout the year. After the first mowing, around the time of the forsythia bloom, the lawn is supplied with a lawn slow-release fertilizer – ideally on a dry, lightly covered day, otherwise the lawn can burn. There are different products in the specialist trade with a duration of action between two and six months. Most slow release fertilizers work for three months, regardless of whether they are mineral or organic products.
A second lawn fertilization takes place in June. At this point the grasses have their strongest growth phase. A third fertilization is optionally given in August, for example on heavily used areas. Make sure that your slow-release fertilizer also has an immediate effect – this is especially important when you first give nutrients in spring.
Between the end of September and the beginning of November, as one of the last maintenance measures of the year, the lawn receives a portion of potassium-emphasized autumn lawn fertilizer in order to prepare it optimally for winter and to increase the frost hardness of the grasses.
How should you fertilize the lawn?
Whether organic or mineral: Use only special lawn fertilizers and no universal garden fertilizers. They are perfectly matched to the needs of the lawn and contain the main nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) in exactly the right ratio. Nitrogen is particularly important as it stimulates the growth of grass and ensures a beautiful, dense carpet of grass.
Organic lawn fertilizers are particularly recommended. They have a natural long-term effect and enrich the soil with humus. A product such as “Substral lawn fertilizer weed remains unlikely” also has an weed-inhibiting effect: It contains corn starch, which supplies the lawn with nitrogen and at the same time suppresses the settling of weed seedlings in the lawn. Please note, however, that you only use the fertilizer if you have not sown fresh lawn, because lawn seeds also inhibit the establishment of seedlings.
How do you fertilize properly?
Fertilize your lawn according to the dosage recommendations on the packaging, with mineral products you should even dose a little lower than specified. Because if the lawn gets too many nutrients, it won’t thank you with even more lush growth. On the contrary: over-fertilized areas of lawn turn brown and look burned. The fact that too much fertilizer ends up in one place happens especially when you fertilize by hand – it takes a little while until you have the right momentum when distributing the fertilizer granulate. Our tip: The best way to fertilize your lawn is with a spreader. It ensures an even distribution of the fertilizer on the lawn. Nevertheless, you must of course proceed with a system: do not drive crisscross the lawn, but exactly lane by lane in the longitudinal or transverse direction – in such a way that there are no major gaps between the lanes, but they do not overlap. Possible driving errors can often be recognized after just one week – mostly from yellow over-fertilized stripes in the green carpet, which only disappear after several weeks.
If you want to fertilize by hand, spread the granules from the half-open hand on the surface in uniform arm swings. Tip: If in doubt, you can simply practice spreading in advance with coarse-grained, dry quartz sand so that you don’t accidentally over-fertilize your lawn. After fertilizing, the lawn must be watered so that the granules dissolve well. It works best with a lawn sprinkler that you run for 20 to 30 minutes.
By the way: Pets and children are allowed back on the lawn immediately after fertilizing, because well-known manufacturers have not used problematic ingredients such as castor bean meal for several years.
Autumn fertilization increases the frost hardness of the grasses
The lawn receives its last nutrient supply in autumn, from late September to early November. In contrast to the previous runs, no nitrogen-based long-term lawn fertilizer is used, but a special autumn lawn fertilizer with a high potassium content. This nutrient strengthens the cell walls of the grasses and accumulates in the cell sap. Here it acts like a de-icing salt: it lowers the freezing point of the cell fluid so that the lawn can get through winter better. If you were to use a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content in autumn, the grasses would be stimulated to grow further. The result: the lawn becomes more susceptible to diseases and frost damage.