Over-fertilization of your lawn can lead to a number of problems. It can cause the grass to become sparse and yellowish in color called fertilizer burnt, and eventually, you’ll notice that it dries out. Over-fertilization doesn’t only harm your lawn, but it also encourages weeds to grow. If you have over-fertilized your lawn you need to take action immediately. If left untreated, your lawn will die off or become very weak. Here’s how to fix an over-fertilized lawn.
There are many reasons why you might have the problem of over-fertilizing your lawn. You may have had it done by accident, or maybe you just didn’t know any better. However it happened, if your lawn is suffering from too much fertilizer, here’s how to fix it.
You must also wait for the rain before you can reseed so that your new seed gets well stuck in and so it’s not all washed away. The best time to do this is about 2 weeks after grass has died off and/or stopped growing, but be careful so as not to wash away your new seed! If you just leave the dead grass on the surface of your lawn for too long without planting some fresh stuff right beside it, then some piles of dead brown stuff will just blend into one big mess on top of your yard – which nobody wants (except your pig neighbors).
Steps to Fix an Over Fertilized Lawn
Step 1: Inspect The Damage
While most people know that excess nitrogen can do damage to their lawns, some don’t realize this goes for phosphorus as well. Symptoms of excess phosphorus in your lawn include browning near the outside edges and/or lighter coloring closer to the trunk of the grass plant. If this is happening in more extreme cases, you will see dead spots in your lawn where the grass doesn’t grow at all.
If this is what’s going on with your lawn, you have a good chance of fixing it if you take action quickly. How long has it been since it started? About a week? Then time might not be a huge factor in recovering from this problem. However, if several months have gone by then your chances are extremely diminished and the process will likely take longer and cost more money to fix.
Another thing to look for when inspecting your browning lawn is how close its proximity is to sprinklers or supervised watering systems. In cases of over fertilization, you should examine closely whether or not either one of these two things could be to blame. You may have a sprinkler that is applying too much water to the area, or maybe your lawn is getting an overabundance of water from rain runoff. In either case it’s time for you to fix these problems.
Before you do anything about repairing your brown lawn, look for other signs that you might have fertilizer burn as well as phosphorus deficiency. Symptoms of fertilizer burn include yellowing and/or curling leaves towards the ends and lightening up the green color near the middle of each leaf. With this problem, not only will there be damage present on your lawn but also in your garden if applicable.
Step 2: Remove Surface Fertilizer
To your dismay, you’ve just found out that you have a case of over fertilizing on your hands. Your lawn has either been showing signs of fertilizer burn or not growing as fast as it should be at this point in the season. Now what? Well the first thing to do is remove any residual fertilizer from your lawn and garden space if applicable.
If your grass looks like it’s suffering from too much nitrogen, phosphorus or both (fertilizer burn), avoid walking on the areas where the damage appears until the excess fertilizer has been removed. This will help prevent further fertilization and can cause more problems than good if done incorrectly.
Fertilizers stick to surfaces very well and removal can require several different approaches depending on the situation. If you can, water the lawn in order to break up the fertilizer and make it easier to remove using a push broom or other manual brush. In cases where there is too much residue for this to be effective, a hose with a pressure washer might do the trick.
Fertilizer that has been sitting on surfaces under trees will likely not be removed by just water alone. In these instances, you should try raking up the fertilized areas with a metal rake before applying water pressure from above. This makes it so all of the fertilization ends up in one area making cleanup easier overall.
Step 3: Water The Lawn
Now that all traces of your over fertilization problem have been removed, it’s time to make sure the lawn recovers in a healthy way. There are several ways you can do this but in most instances, watering is the simplest and most effective option. If there has already been damage caused by excess phosphorus or nitrogen, you need to flush it out in order for recovery to happen in an efficient manner.
Look at the areas where your grass plants were damaged and look for signs of recovery. This could be an improvement in color after giving them their first good water supply since possibly late winter or early spring if not longer. Once you’ve found these signs, continue watering once or twice per day until new growth appears on each grass plant if applicable, otherwise just until recovery is finished.
You can also give your lawn a modest water supply to help with recovery from fertilizer burn if that’s the cause of the problem. However, too much water at once can be just as detrimental as not enough and lead to additional problems such as root rot if your grass plants haven’t fully recovered yet. Use common sense when it comes to how much you should be watering and always avoid overwatering or underwatering in either case.
Step 4: Inspect The Damage Again
After you’ve given your lawn enough time for recovery (2-3 weeks), take some time to go over the area again and see if there’s any damage that needs to be further addressed such as dead grass that still needs to be removed or perhaps some fertilizer is visible again in a spot that was previously treated. If there’s no damage left, then you know the issue has been fully resolved and it’s time to move on. Otherwise, repeat any of the steps from this point forward until all signs of over fertilization have been eradicated completely from your lawn space
Steps 5: Reseed the patches
There are dead patches on the lawn after all this has happened. To finish the process of fixing your lawn from over fertilization, you have to reseed the patches.
If you’re using grass seed, you’ll need to start by preparing the soil for the grass seeds. First, you’ll need to rake the soil to make sure it’s as smooth as possible and to remove any debris that may be present. Next, you’ll want to add some fertilizer to the soil and wait for the soil to become more moist. After that, you’ll need to mix the grass seed in with the soil and spread it out evenly.
If you’re using sod, you’ll need to remove the grass plants from the lawn area and lay down some plastic over the grass. Next, you’ll need to wait for the grass to grow out before you remove the plastic and you can spread the grass seed over the area. If you’re not sure what type of grass you want to use, you can always contact a local garden cente
How to Avoid Over-Fertilizing Your Lawn
Lawns are a significant investment, not only do they require regular mowing and fertilizing but they must be properly taken care of with the right tools and/or machinery.
The best way to avoid over-fertilizing your lawn is by using granular fertilizers instead of liquids. Liquid fertilizers are easier for homeowners to apply because it is less time-consuming than spreading granules. However, liquid fertilizers provide an easy way for homeowners to overspray or overapply the fertilizer which could lead to excess nutrients that could be washed into the rain.
Steps to avoid over-fertilizing your lawn
Use Granular Fertilizers
Small seeds, such as grass seeds, are mixed in a liquid solution with water before being applied to the lawn. However, liquid fertilizers [fertilizer solutions] should never be used on a lawn that is already sprouting weeds or grasses. If you have a weed infestation or other type of growth problem, use granular fertilizers instead of liquid fertilizer.
Chemical fertilizers are another way to keep your grass green when they become dry or frail due to a lack of nutrients in the soil. It is important when applying chemical fertilizers that their needs are met according to package directions since excess amounts can burn grass tissue. This will result in leaf discoloration which at times may turn brown or crispy if it does not receive the required amount of moisture.
Instead of using quick-release fertilizers, you should go organic and use slower-release fertilizers like compost and mulch. These fertilizers slowly take in water and provide nutrients to plants and trees over a period of time instead of giving them too many nutrients at once. This will decrease the chances that plants receive excess nutrients because they will gradually get the required nutrients they need to grow healthy leaves.
Give Your Lawn A Period Of Rest
A common mistake made by home gardeners is to treat their lawns like they would any other garden bed: constantly adding nutrients and water in an effort to keep whatever grass has managed to survive alive and growing. This will result in excessive amounts of fertilizer building up in your soil and eventually moving into the water supply. If you’re worried about your grass dying, treat it like any other plant and give it a period of rest between fertilization.
Fertilize Your Lawn Only When Needed
Don’t fertilize your lawn with every rainstorm or during extended dry periods. Most professional landscapers recommend fertilizing your lawn only when needed rather than with set monthly intervals.
Starting at the end of winter and continuing into early spring, temperatures are warm but the soil remains chilly enough so root growth occurs slowly. The average low temperature during March is 43 degrees F (6 C) with an average high of 57 degrees F (14 C). Soil temperatures remain lower than air temperatures, sometimes by as much as 10 degrees F (5 C).
If you have yet to decide whether or not you need to fertilize, do keep an eye on your lawn throughout this year as a healthy yard should look dark green and lush when seen from afar. If it looks pale yellow or brown or if there are bald patches appearing from nowhere, then it might be time to start considering a fertilizing routine.
Only Use Organic Matter To Amend Soil
You should also go organic and use slow-release fertilizers instead of quick-release fertilizers. Quick-release fertilizers can cause trees and plants to grow too much, so they need to be cut back which causes them to lose their leaves earlier than usual. When the leaves fall off early, it decreases the amount of sunshine that each leaf receives, which decreases photosynthesis.
Instead of purchasing chemical-laden fertilizer from your local hardware store, purchase organic matter with which to amend the soil instead. This organic matter is far more effective at improving the health of your soil for less money than conventional products that are available commercially.
Manure can be used to fertilize your lawn; however, it is important to avoid over-fertilization and burning your lawn which will result in browning and dead patches of grass.
Not only can a lawn be fertilized by manure, but it can also be given nutrients from the use of lawn composts or mulches. Lawn compost is great for providing your grass with essential minerals and nutrients that will promote thick and healthy blades of grass. In addition to being used as a fertilizer, many people add leaves, hay/straw, and pine needles to their compost piles; this enables them to create an even better type of fertilizer that helps their lawn stay green over the winter months.
Water Your Lawn Regularly
One quick way to tell if your lawn is receiving too many nutrients or not enough is by checking the moisture levels. If your grass is too dry, provide it with more water through natural rainfall or a sprinkler system. If your grass appears wet at any time during the day, reduce watering to once a week instead of every other day.
You should make sure to water your lawn regularly so it will take up the nutrients from the fertilizers you apply throughout the year instead of letting them wash away into lakes or ponds.