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Approach Spring Lawn Fertilizer Carefully

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Once spring begins in earnest, one of the first lawn maintenance tasks most of us think of is applying fertilizer. What else will green your lawn up and get it going with such gusto? While an application of spring fertilizer isn't a bad idea, it's important to choose your fertilizer wisely and apply it correctly--or your heavenly spring fantasy may morph into a scorched lawn nightmare. Here are two spring fertilizer pitfalls to avoid.
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Don't Overdo Spring Fertilizer

A spring fertilizer that's especially high in nitrogen will likely do several things. The first is accelerate your lawn's growth. Sounds great, but the downside is all the early top growth typically comes at the expense of your lawn's roots, and during wet spring weather, an over-fertilized lawn can be especially vulnerable to lawn fungus. While some fertilizer is a great start to your season's lawn maintenance, in the spring consider a fertilizer with lower nitrogen content than you'd use at other times of the year, and be sure not to over-apply it.

Watch Out For Weed and Feed Fertilizers

Spring is a fresh start, and it can seem like a great time to tackle all your lawn maintenance tasks: fill in thin areas, kill weeds, and get your lawn growing vigorously again. Unfortunately, as wonderful as doing it all at once sounds, it's rarely that easy. If you're spreading any new seed, whether you're putting in an entirely new law, or just over seeding damaged patches, do not apply a weed and feed fertilizer. The herbicide will kill young grass along with the weeds. For now, a fertilizer without any herbicide is the way to go.

Spring fertilizer done right is an important part of a lawn maintenance program. Avoid these pitfalls, and your yard will be off to a great start.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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