How do I deal with fertilizers

10 tips for lawn fertilization

1. The right time is critical to success

With three to four fertilizers per year, a lawn shows its most beautiful side. It starts as soon as the forsythia bloom in March / April. Long-term lawn fertilizers are ideal for the spring cure because they release their nutrients evenly over several months. A gift after the first mowing is ideal. A second portion of fertilizer is available at the end of June, or optionally in August for heavily used areas. In mid-October you should apply a potassium-accentuated autumn fertilizer. It makes the grass harder to winter. The granulate (for example from Compo) can be distributed most evenly with a spreader.

2. Orient the amount to the needs

The lawn is one of the garden areas with the highest need for nutrients. On the one hand, grasses are by nature not a food lover, on the other hand, they have to compensate for the weekly loss of substance through mowing. If you are unsure: A soil analysis will show which nutrients are sufficient or perhaps even in excess and which need to be replenished. The chargeable soil sample is sent to a laboratory, for example the agricultural research institutes (LUFAs) of the federal states. In addition to the analysis, fertilizer recommendations are usually also received from there.

If there is a lot of moss in the lawn, it is often recommended that the area be limed. Although moss loves acidic subsoil, its appearance can also have other causes, for example compacted soil or lack of light. Since lime only makes sense on acidic soils, you should first check the pH value of the soil with a test set from specialist dealers (for example from Neudorff). For lawns it should be between 5.5 and 7.5. If it is lower, carbonate of lime helps. The best time to apply is in autumn or early spring. Spread about 150 grams per square meter. Lime is also best dosed with a spreader. Caution: lime and nitrogen are antagonists. After liming, wait at least three weeks before applying another fertilizer.

4. Are children and pets allowed on a freshly fertilized lawn?

When used normally and properly, lawn fertilizers are harmless to humans and animals. To be on the safe side, you should wait after fertilizing until the components of the fertilizer have dissolved and have penetrated the soil. Experience has shown that this is the case after two waterings or a heavy rain shower. To be on the safe side, you can wait for the next lawn cut before the fresh green becomes a playground again. Store used lawn manure in a cool, dry place inaccessible to children and pets.

Immediately after applying a pure lawn fertilizer, the lawn should be watered for 20-30 minutes so that the fertilizer dissolves well and can develop its effect. However, if a fertilizer is applied with a weed killer, the lawn should already be damp when it is used; in this case, water it beforehand, because the best effect is achieved when the weed killer sticks to the weeds for 1–2 days. Then water again 2-3 days after application.

6. Mulching mower fertilize with lawn clippings

A mulching mower relieves the manure work because the clippings trickle back into the turf, where they decompose and are used as organic fertilizer for the lawn. Incidentally, this also applies to the increasingly popular robotic lawn mowers. Mulching mowers (for example from AS-Motor) cut the blades of grass in a closed cutting deck. The stalks are held in an air stream generated by the knife, shredded several times and then fall back into the sward. There, small organisms of all kinds convert them into humus. However, the blades of grass must not be too long or too hard. During the growing season this means mowing every 3–5 days on average. It is best to only mulch when the lawn is dry.

Every garden culture has its own requirements. In special lawn fertilizers, the main nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) are optimally matched to the needs of the green carpet. Since a lawn should not produce flowers or fruits, but mainly green stalks, lawn fertilizers are nitrogen-rich. So do not spread a normal universal garden fertilizer on your green carpet.

8. Avoid oversupply and undersupply

Follow the dosage recommendations on the fertilizer packs - because much does not help much! If the lawn is oversupplied, it can actually do more harm than good. Over-fertilized lawn then looks like burned. The brownish color often occurs where areas have been fertilized twice. If you sprinkle out of hand, there is a particularly high risk that areas will overlap. Grasses over-fertilized with nitrogen are softer in the tissue and therefore more susceptible to fungal diseases. Too much is also a concern for the environment because harmful nitrate can be leached into the groundwater. On the other hand, the lawn should of course not be undersupplied - otherwise it will remain pale green and gaps.

Organic lawn fertilizers not only benefit your lawn, but also the environment, because overfertilization is not possible with such products. In contrast to mineral fertilizers, they do not directly supply the grasses, but the soil and the organisms living in it with important nutrients. These in turn release nitrogen, phosphorus and other important trace elements, which the grass roots can then absorb. Organic lawn fertilizers such as "Manna Bio lawn fertilizer" also have a natural long-term effect, as the various organic ingredients decompose over a long period of time. The lawn fertilizer from Manna works very quickly for an organic product, because a certain amount of nutrients is available to the lawn shortly after fertilization. You don't have to worry about your children or pets either: the product does not contain castor meal or other harmful ingredients.

9. Unwanted lawn guest: moss

There are lawn fertilizers with moss killers, which are also said to have a positive side effect against algae. Preparations with the active ingredient iron (II) sulfate are mainly available. With moss killers, however, only the symptoms can be eliminated, not the causes. Moss and algae show the hobby gardener that the area is heavily compacted or wet. Other possible causes: lack of nutrients, unsuitable seed mixtures such as "Berliner Tiergarten", too little sun, too deep or too seldom cut.

Basically: Regular fertilization and mowing is the best remedy against unwanted weeds. Rosette-like plants such as daisies, dandelions and plantains can be cut out with their roots in small areas. Lawn fertilizers with weed killers contain special growth substances that penetrate into so-called dicotyledonous weeds via roots and leaves. Because they rapidly accelerate the growth of the weeds, they die. These herbicides have no effect on the monocot turf grasses themselves.

If the white clover grows in the lawn, it is not so easy to get rid of it without the use of chemicals. However, there are two environmentally friendly methods - which are shown by MY SCHÖNER GARTEN editor Karina Nennstiel in this video
Credits: MSG / CreativeUnit / Camera: Kevin Hartfiel / Editor: Fabian Heckle