Tips on feeding your lawn
Fertiliser is important. Giving your lawn the right amount nutrients will ensure a green lush look.
Often people can find the right product, but apply it wrong. Or do everything right but have the wrong product.
These errors can cost you money, and waste your time. Not to mention that it can have adverse affects on your landscape.
What fertiliser do I use?
The N-P-K ratio is on nearly all fertilisers and tells us what macronutrients the fertiliser is made up of. Each Element serves a purpose, and some are needed more than others.
On the back of your fertiliser your will find N-P-K followed by three numbers. The first number will represent how many parts of Nitrogen (N) the fertiliser contains. The second will tell you how much Phosphorus (P) is present. The final number tells us how much Potassium (K) is in the fertiliser.
Generally a lawn fertiliser will have a high N rate and relatively low P & K rates.
Lawns thrive when given a good supply of nitrogen. In good growing seasons you will want a high nitrogen fertiliser.
To promote root growth and winter nutrient storage you can use a fertiliser with a higher ratio of Potassium. These fertilisers will have a higher ratio of K in the N-P-K ratio.
Another option you have, is to use a natural fertiliser. Compost is great for this.
These natural fertilisers won’t have the density or ratios of their man made counterparts. But are great for the environment and allow organic gardeners the chance to produce a flawless lawn.
When to apply fertiliser to your lawn?
Nearly all lawns in New Zealand need a spring application. September to October is a good time to apply. If you wish to maintain a very green lush lawn regular fertilisation will be needed.
Most Auckland soils are fairly dense with clay.
These soils have very poor nutrient uptake due to the lack of oxygen and water flow.
Using large amounts of natural fertilisers by topdressing is by far the best option for clay soils. Organic matter from these fertilisers will greatly improve the soil structure.
If using a synthetic fertiliser refer to the bag for instructions. Your fertiliser bag will say how often to fertilise, in general you will want to fertilise every 6-8 weeks.
Using a lot of fertiliser at once in a clay soil will be wasteful as little of will reach the plant through the soil. Therefore more regular fertilisation is necessary.
To fertilise more regularly use a lower the grams per metre squared ratio indicated on the fertiliser.
Heading into autumn you can use a fertiliser with a higher ratio of Potassium. As previously mentioned this will help the lawn through the winter months.
How do I apply fertiliser?
Firstly, you will need to check the application rate. This will tell you how much fertiliser to use per metre.
The two main techniques to apply fertiliser is by hand and spreader.
Manually spreading fertiliser can be tricky. You’ve got to ensure you apply at the rate stated on the bag. And spread it evenly.
Any areas which are inconsistent can result in green patches or burnt lawns.
The alternative is to purchase or hire a fertiliser spreader. This is a much more precise way to spread your fertiliser.
These can be hired from your local hire shop. Speak to them about their machines application settings, to ensure your spreading the correct amount of fertiliser.
Ensure that whilst using the applicator you walk at a steady pace to avoid uneven distribution.
Finally, ensure you follow the fertiliser with a good water.
Check out this video for a few tips on how to use a spreader: