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The Grass is Greener on My Side of the Yard

by Kristin Marino, All About Lawns Columnist

fertilizer, garden fertilizer

Where I live, near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. This past winter has been particularly arctic-like. The lawn doesn't look too worse for the wear, considering the fact it was under snow, sometimes as much as 2 ½ feet, for most of the winter.

I think my lawn maintenance-obsessed husband was secretly glad to have a break from yard work. He's a perfectionist when it comes to our lawn, and he has an ongoing rivalry with my parents, who live nearby, to see who can cultivate the greenest lawn.

As cold as it has been, and as unsettled as the weather still is, we did turn on the sprinkler system last week. As we were in the front yard surveying the winter's damage and planning our lawn's spring revival, the little old lady next door waved hello and then said "Oh, good. You've started watering your lawn."  True, she had been watering for a few weeks, and her lawn was starting to green up a little around the edges, but really!
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A Greener Lawn

We did something else on that day. A week later, our lawn is greener than our neighborly friend's lawn. How could this be? After all, she has been watering for weeks longer than we have. One word: fertilizer. The day the sprinklers were turned on, the lawn was fertilized. And now we are on the road to emerald city, while our observant friend's lawn is sporting more brown than green.

My Best Fertilizer Tips

Lawn fertilization is not brain surgery. An appendectomy, maybe, but certainly not brain surgery. The following four tips should help with your lawn care needs.

Tip #1: Get Advice

Some experts suggest having your soil tested. I haven't done this. But I did speak to one of the experts at a trusted gardening center in my area. These folks often have a lot of knowledge about your particular area, and can supply you with some good advice about the soil, best types of grass, and fertilizer needs of the lawns in your area.

Tip #2: Use the Right Amount of Fertilizer

To determine the amount of fertilizer needed for your yard, find the total square footage of your lawn. Most fertilizers work best when you use one pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet of lawn. Don't forget to read the package. You'd be surprised how many people skip this step. In the case of lawn fertilizer, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Too much fertilizer will burn your lawn.

Tip #3: Use a Spreader

You must use a fertilizer spreader. The handheld fertilizer spreaders work fine for most yards, although big yards may benefit from a push spreader. A fertilizer spreader will help you apply the fertilizer evenly and is part of any comprehensive lawn maintenance program.

Tip #4: Fertilize Regularly

At the very least, fertilize in the spring and again in the fall as part of your regular lawn maintenance regimen. My husband plans on fertilizing again before it gets really hot.

The addition of regular fertilization to watering can dramatically increase the health of your lawn. If you're looking for ways to make your lawn greener, look into the possibility of fertilizer.

About the Author
Kristin Marino has been a homeowner for ten years and really does have the greenest lawn in her neighborhood. Kristin holds a bachelor degree in English from the University of Nevada.

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