When trying to pick a fertilizer for your lawn and garden, you need to know a couple of numbers. These numbers will help you determine which fertilizer is best both for the plants you're growing in your backyard and for the time of year when you plan to use the fertilizer. The staff at Homestead Gardens explains the numbers so you can make your decision on fertilizers:
* N is for nitrogen, P for phosphorous and K for potassium. Above the three boxes with these letters will be numbers, which reflect the percentage of these elements in each mix. In Maryland, you will not see any fertilizer sold with phosphorous due to regulations limiting how much of this element runs off into Chesapeake Bay. Maryland soil typically has a very high phosphorous level, so additional is not needed. Note: the percentages will not add up to 100 percent; there will be other filler material in the mix to help with applying the fertilizer evenly.
* Granules are great for homeowners. A liquid fertilizer can make the process quicker, but it's harder for a homeowner to see how much fertilizer is being used. It's also harder to factor in the wind direction and strength when spraying, so overall, the granule mixture is easier to direct. Scotts Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Lawn Fertilizer is a great product to use at this time of year with easy application.
* Fall is the best time to fertilize the lawn and perennial plants. You want the grass roots to grow strong, so they'll survive the winter months and turn green as soon as the thaw hits in the spring. Jonathan Green Winter Survival or GreenView Fairway Formula Fall Fertilizer are two fall fertilizers that work well in the Chesapeake Bay area to help keep your lawn green longer into the fall season.
* When fertilizing, be sure to read the directions carefully. Some experts will recommend reducing the initial dosage of fertilizer, just to make certain you don't burn the plants. Also remember that plants grow more quickly when they are fertilized, and that means they need more water. You may want to add some extra watering to your schedule until the frost hits.
With these tips, you'll be able to ensure your lawn is well fertilized and ready to go for the dormant months just ahead.