Most homeowners want a lush attractive lawn, but for lawns to look their best, they need a little help. Like all living organisms grass needs nutrients to survive and thrive. Your soil will naturally provide some of the nutrients required, but most soils will not be able to provide the correct level of all of the required nutrients, that is when Fertilisation is necessary.
Regular application of the correct, seasonally balanced Fertiliser, is essential to maintain the health and appearance of your lawn. Throughout the year your lawn needs different amounts of specific chemical elements as these assist various processes which naturally take place within the plant.
Lawnscience provides fertiliser applications for lawns throughout the year as part of its annual treatments cycle. You can book an annual plan tailored to your needs and budget or a “one off” application. If you would like help and advice please contact us and one of our skilled professionals will be pleased to help you with your selection.
To arrange a free assessment of your lawn fertilisation needs, please contact us and we will arrange a no obligation assessment, or read on to learn more about fertilisation and your lawn.
Why Fertilise your lawn?
The lawns we desire today are not as natural as we think. The grass plant naturally thrives in a “polyculture’ this is an environment in which different plant species exist side by side. In polycultures, the various species tend to help each other to survive. A good example would be clover and grass. Clover has a symbiotic bacteria within it’s root system enabling it to “fix” Nitrogen, which is helpful to the grass plant as it converts atmospheric nitrogen into nitrites, which can be utilised by the grasses’ roots. Clover roots are also deep, often two feet deep. These roots store carbon and move nutrients up higher in the soil profile, where the grasses’ shallow roots can access them.
The lawns we desire are “monocultures” which have been created to suppress species that we consider undesirable, such as weeds. These monocultures are not natural environments for grass, therefore we need to assist the grass by supplying nutrients.
What is in Fertiliser?
Fertilisers are added to the soil in order to supplement naturally occurring nutrients and elements which are required to promote the healthy growth of the grass plant.
There are two main types of Lawn Fertiliser:
Manufactured or Inorganic Fertiliser, where the nutrients are synthesised or manufactured. These fertilisers are normally more concentrated and provide quicker results.
There are also Organic Fertilisers which are created from animal sources or plant nutrients. Organic Fertilisers tend to be slower acting as the organic inputs have to be broken down by organisms within the soil before the nutrients are available to the grass plant.
The nutrients provided by Fertilsers can be divided into macro and micro nutrients. Both macro and micro nutrients are important for the health of the grass plant, the only difference is the amount of the nutrient which is required by the grass plant. Macro nutrients are found in plants in concentrations of above 1000 parts per million, where Micro nutrients are found in concentrations of 100 parts per million or less.
The main three macro nutrients are, Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). Lawn Fertilisers will normally have a label indicating the percentage of these three elements, i.e. 22-5-8 which equates to 22% Nitrogen, 5% Phosphorous and 8% Potassium. The rest of the ingredients are fillers and anti-caking additives.
Nitrogen is an essential element for all living organisms. It is readily available in the atmosphere, 80% of the air is Nitrogen gas, but it is in limited supply in the soil. Within the soil it is only available for grass roots to utilise after it has been converted into a nitrate or ammonium form.
It is the element used in the greatest quantity by the grass plant and is a component of many of the biochemical processes which take place within the plant. One of its main uses is the production of Chlorophyll, which gives grass it’s green colour. It also plays a key role in photosynthesis, the process where the grass plant converts light energy from the sun into chemical energy stored in carbohydrates. Nitrogen is also active in the production of amino acids and proteins.
Grass needs Nitrogen in the largest quantity during it’s growth peak in Spring. During this time of the year the plant is actively growing and the photosynthesis process is working full steam to produce the carbohydrates required to drive this growth.
It is important that Nitrogen is applied to grass at the correct rate for the time of year, too little and the grass leaf will start to yellow, indicating chlorosis, a lack of chlorophyll. Too much and the plant will produce an excessive amount of above ground tissue, with weak cell walls, at the expense of root development.
Present within every living cell in the grass plant, Phosphorous plays a key role in many of the plant compounds that are essential for growth. It’s main function within the plant is the storage and transfer of energy. If the grass plant has insufficient Phosphorus it’s normal growth and development will be restricted. Development of the root system will also be adversely affected as will seed production.
Grass requires relevantly high levels of Potassium, second only to Nitrogen. It plays an important role in the growth and development of the plant, helping the grass plant to develop thick cell walls making it more resistant to excessive heat and cold. Its presence, in high levels, helps to increase the plants resistance to fungal diseases such as Red Thread and Fusarium.
The remaining macro nutrients are Sulphur, Magnesium and Calcium.