The answer is maybe. In order to have a healthy and thick lawn your fertilizer program needs just three simple numbers: 25-2-4 or 40-0-20 which would indicate that they are 25% Nitrogen, 2% Phosphorus and 4% Potassium. These numbers provide the most important nutrients needed to feed your lawn without over fertilizing it which can do more harm than good. There is no need to buy a fertilizer that has more than these three numbers unless you just want the “extra kick” of another nutrient. This common garden supply will provide your grass with nutrients, but it may not meet the specific needs of your turfgrass. Understanding the makeup and benefits of different types of fertilizers can help you choose the best product for your lawn.
Is 15-15-15 fertilizer good for new lawns?
This is probably one of the most common questions I get from new home owners who are trying to establish a nice looking lawn. The first thing new homeowners should know about their yard is that it will never look as nice or be as healthy as a lawn that has been well taken care of over the previous years. New homeowners, since they are new to this turfgrass, lack the skills and knowledge that is achieved through proper fertilization practices, mowing height, watering habits and weed control techniques. If you’re like most new home owners chances are your soil is less than desirable (sandy, acidic and infertile). However, the good news is that you can fix this problem in one or two years with proper care and maintenance.
Before we get into the specific fertilization program to use for a new lawn let’s briefly discuss what makes up a well-fertilized lawn. A well fertilized yard will have a thick green carpet of grass with no brown or dead spots. This indicates that the turfgrass plants are healthy and actively growing. The fertilizer program, in conjunction with proper mowing height, watering and weed control techniques will provide your lawn with the fundamental building blocks it needs to become strong and healthy.
In order for fertilizers to do their job they need to be “available to the plant”. This means that the fertilizer granules have been broken down into their smallest unit which are called “nutrients.” Once this occurs nutrients can be absorbed by the grass via its root system. The most common nutrients in fertilizers are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). It is important to note that these nutrients work in a specific order and each nutrient will affect the turfgrass differently.
For example, Nitrogen promotes new growth and color and is used more than any other nutrient in fertilizers by lawns in the United States. Phosphorus helps with root development, disease resistance and fruit production in lawns. Potassium helps improve the strength of the stems and stalks, disease resistance and overall vigor of turfgrass plants.
Without proper fertilization your lawn will have poor color, be thin in some areas and require more water which can lead to fungal problems that cause brown spots even around the green areas. As I stated before it will take several years for you to achieve a well fertilized lawn, but the good news is it’s much easier now than it will be in 4 or 5 years from now.