Fer­til­izer is the se­cret to a vi­brant gar­den

The Telegram (St. John’s) - Home Buyers' Guide - - NEWS -

Itʼs no se­cret that fer­til­izer is the se­cret to a vi­brant gar­den, but which to use and when to use it re­mains a mys­tery. With three large num­bers on the front, a bag of fer­til­izer can seem more like an al­ge­bra prob­lem than a gar­dener ʼs friend.

"When the warm weather hits, home­own­ers are full of ques­tions about how to get lush, green grass," says John Mansz, a Cana­dian lawn and gar­den specialist. "The two most com­mon ques­tions people ask are: Whatʼs in the bag of fer­til­izer and what do those num­bers mean?"

Fer­til­izer con­tains very im­por­tant nu­tri­ents for your plants and soil. Ev­ery fer­til­izer bag has three large num­bers on the front, which rep­re­sent three key nu­tri­ents that your grass and plants donʼt get from the soil–ni­tro­gen, phos­pho­rous and potas­sium. The higher the num­ber, the greater the per­cent­age of that nutrient there is in the fer­til­izer. Here are tips for se­lect­ing lawn fer­til­izer:

1. Con­duct a soil test on your yard at least once ev­ery three years. The test re­sults will tell ex­actly what nu­tri­ents your soil needs.

2. Find the right fer­til­izer mix to give your lawn the nu­tri­ents it needs. Read the fer­til­izer anal­y­sis to dis­cover the per­cent­ages of nu­tri­ents in the fer­til­izer. Match your soil test re­sults to the nutrient anal­y­sis.

3. Make sure the fer­til­izer you choose has a slow ni­tro­gen re­lease rate. Your lawn needs a con­stant sup­ply of nu­tri­ents to help it grow. The re­lease rate dic­tates how fast the grass will be­come green, how much it will grow, how heavy the clip­pings will be, how long the re­sults will last and how much fer­til­izer will be wasted by "runoff." You want a steady and con­trolled re­lease rate.

"The four tell-tale signs that your grass needs ni­tro­gen are pale in colour, does­nʼt grow when it rains, grows in un­even patches or is spotty in colour," says Mansz.

Now, all that stands be­tween you and a beau­ti­ful yard of thick green grass is spread­ing the fer­til­izer. Be­fore ap­ply­ing the fer­til­izer, look at the size of the gran­ules. If the bag con­tains dif­fer­ent sized gran­ules, make sure you mix the prod­uct well be­fore spread­ing. If it is not mixed well, youʼll have some ar­eas get­ting too much of one nutrient and not enough of an­other, ex­plains Mansz. Spread the fer­til­izer evenly over your en­tire yard and wait. In just a few days, you should be­gin to no­tice a change.

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