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3 tips for spring lawn fertilizing

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Your lawn is a little like a bear: it wakes up hungry in the spring. Take the right approach to fertilizing in spring, and you set your lawn up for a whole season of great growth. On the other hand, spring lawn fertilizing gone wrong can be a major setback.

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  • Less weeds
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Try these three tips and get it just right:

  1. Use a complete fertilizer. If you're using store-bought lawn fertilizer, it is always labeled with three big numbers: N-P-K. These stand for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Some seasons, you can choose fertilizers that zero out one of those ingredients, but in spring, your lawn needs all three nutrients.

  2. Don't overload with nitrogen. The general rule of thumb for spring lawn fertilizing is one pound of nitrogen per square foot of grass. Nitrogen is the ingredient in fertilizer that gives your lawn that big, green growth spurt; but in the spring, too much top growth can come at the expense of roots. The one pound rule keeps nitrogen in check, so the roots have time to grow deep.

  3. If you are overseeding, use a starter fertilizer. Winter can leave your lawn with bare patches. When you put down new seeds to help fill those areas, the new grass needs special lawn food called "starter fertilizer," which has higher levels of phosphorous and potassium. These nutrients help get your lawn off to a good start. To learn more about overseeding your lawn, check out Yardener's helpful articles on the subject.

With the right lawn fertilizing this spring, your grass will come out of hibernation feeling happy and looking green.

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