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Spring Lawn Fertilizing and NPK

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

Many homeowners choose to feed their lawns on a quarterly cycle, which makes late May/early June a perfect time to add a nitrogen-rich fertilizer and water it into your grass. Your local lawn service companies can advise you on the right balance of nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (NPK) fertilizer that works best for your grass type and region. Here's the theory behind using NPK on your lawn.

NPK (K is the symbol for potassium) reflects the balance of the best chemical nutrients for most lawns. In the spring, many people use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer for greening up their lawns. Nitrogen stimulates leaf production. You might prefer to shift the balance toward the phosphorus side in the fall, since that nutrient stimulates root growth through winter months. Potassium promotes overall lawn health and resistance to disease.
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Finding the Right Balance for Your Lawn

Generally speaking, a lawn that needs nitrogen shows yellowing leaves and stunted growth. The ratio of nutrients is expressed right on the bag of fertilizer you buy at the lawn care shop or have applied by your lawn service. For example, a 16-4-8 ratio means you're feeding a compound nutrient that is comprised of 16 percent nitrogen. The remaining percentage of ingredients accounts for potassium (4%), phosphorus (8%), and filler (72%).

While you're reading the label, check to see what the fertilizer manufacture recommends. One rule of green thumb is a pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. However, there are other factors to consider. A fast-release nitrogen fertilizer will perk up your lawn in a hurry, but if you use too much your grass will burn up and die. Water-insoluble nitrogen is used in slow-release fertilizer. You run less of a risk in losing your lawn by using controlled release nitrogen, but you may have to wait longer to see results.

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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