Lawn Fertilizer Basics | Sward Yard
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Lawn Fertilizer Basics

NPK Lawn Fertilizer

Benefits of Fertilizing Your Lawn

The obvious and most visible result of fertilizing your lawn is that it turns green (that's the point, right?). Yet there’s more happening out there than just a simple color change. Just like you all plants require nutrition to grow and stay healthy. A balanced diet with proper application timing will result in a better root system and healthier overall plant. 

This results in that beautiful green that everyone wants in a lawn but also makes the grass more resilient against weeds, pests, drought, heat stress, foot traffic, and other factors that can kill or harm an unhealthy lawn. 

What does a ‘balanced diet’ look like for grass? There are three classes of nutrients for plants: Primary Nutrients (Macro), Secondary Nutrients, and Micro Nutrients. Different plants require a different balance of nutrients, we’ll stick to the nutrients that are important for your yard here.

healthy green grass

How Much to Feed?

Each product we ship to you will have instructions on the rates of application, and the total amount in your shipment should be close to the amount needed for feeding your yard the nutrients it requires to stay healthy. Depending on your program you may see loss of color at some point between applications. YARDboss™ provides an economical 3 annual applications so you will notice some performance decline in the appearance of the grass between applications. YARDking™ provides the maximum amount of annual nitrogen so your yard will not see a decline in performance (or minimal decline) between application dates. Our programs range from between 3.6 to 6.2 lbs of actual nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. per month between March and October which provides adequate levels for feeding your yard and pushing turf performance.

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Nitrogen (N) is the most critical nutrient applied for grass. Most lawn fertilizers will have more nitrogen than any other nutrient for this reason. Nitrogen aids in production of protein/amino acids, chlorophyll production (for that dazzling green color), and cell formation. Nitrogen is available to lawns in two forms: nitrate and ammoniacal. Nitrate is readily available to the plant as-is and works well for a quick green-up or when temperatures are a bit cooler. Ammoniacal nitrogen is available after being converted by bacteria in the soil to nitrate.

Many of our products use a high percentage of slow release nitrogen which makes it available to your lawn over a longer period of time while also reducing the amount of nitrogen that can run off into the environment.

While not as critical as nitrogen and not needed in the same quantities, phosphorus (P)  plays an important role in the overall health of your yard. Phosphorus aids in root development which improves your lawn’s ability to take up water and nutrients.

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away for humans, then potassium (K) is the apple for your yard. Potassium helps your grass stay healthier and hardier by building up cell walls and improving the plant’s immune system.

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Lawns require lower levels of secondary nutrients than primary nutrients. These nutrients are calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Soils typically have some level of these nutrients already present, one we focus on in our products is sulfur (S). A sulfur deficiency can cause an intense yellow color (called chlorosis) while having an adequate concentration of sulfur improves the color, density, and growth of a typical lawn.

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The micronutrients are iron, manganese, zinc, boron, copper, molybdenum, and chlorine. Lawns require very limited quantities of these nutrients. Like macro and secondary nutrients, most soils contain some amount of micro nutrients. Two of our products (Dr. Fe Good™ and Sward Star™) include iron (Fe) for its ability to provide a shimmering dark green color without triggering excessive growth. Iron is especially important in high pH soils like those found in southern Idaho. The high pH ties the nutrient up in the soil so adding iron through fertilization is very important.

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