Your lawn is a living thing, just like you. It needs food, water, and care to look its best, just like you. While it can be tempting to simply roll a mower over the top of it every week or two and water it when it looks dry, in order to get the most out of it you should really be doing more.
Fertilisers can be the difference between an okay lawn, and a lawn that is the envy of your street. You only get out what you put into your body, and your lawn is no different. Providing it with the nutrients it needs to thrive is a sure-fire way to have it growing dense and vibrant.
Fertilisers can essentially be put into two categories – quick release and slow release. The difference, if you hadn’t already picked it up, is how quickly they release their nutrients into the soil. A quick release fertiliser will inject all of its nutrients into the turf almost instantly, which, in some situations, can be exactly what you need (bringing back damaged or dormant lawn, for example).
But here at McKays, we recommend a slow release fertiliser for more general lawn upkeep. There are a few reasons for this; let’s take a look at them, and how your patch of turf might benefit from the sprinkling of a slow-release meal.
The Grass is Greener
Most slow-release fertilisers are nitrogen heavy, which, handily, is the nutrient primarily responsible for the greenness of your lawn. Using a nitrogen heavy slow release fertiliser just twice a year (spring and autumn are the ideal seasons) will have your lawn looking its very greenest, with the slow release nature of the nutrients enabling them to work throughout the six months following the application.
A good slow-release fertiliser will deliver a sustained period of steady growth. This means you can set a solid lawn maintenance routine in place, and be confident that you’ll be able to stick to it. If you choose a quick release fertiliser, a period of rapid growth may be followed by a period of no growth, and on top of that, you may find yourself having to balance your nutrients out after perhaps overdosing your lawn with a fast-acting fertiliser.
Likewise, not fertilising at all can have your lawn growing inconsistently, as it relies on Mother Nature to allow it to grow.
Avoid Fertiliser Burn
Fertiliser burn is an issue most associated with quick-release fertilisers. These fertilisers use excess amounts of nitrogen salts to allow the fertiliser to quickly dissolve and be utilised by your plants. The flipside of this quick action is that the salts can burn your plants if not properly applied. If there are clumps of fertiliser that concentrate these salts on one point of a plant, the resulting hit can ‘burn’ the plant, browning it off and putting it under severe stress.
Slow release fertilisers avoid this issue almost entirely. Due to their slow acting nature, the plant isn’t hit with such a concentrated amount of salts and nutrients all at once
A well fed lawn is a healthy lawn, which means that there’s less chance of it contracting any diseases. Strong, steady growth can also help ward off the growth of fungus, and the resultant thick mat that comes with a healthy lawn will make it difficult for weeds to invade. A quick release fertiliser, on the other hand, may result in turbo-charged growth, but this can actually weaken the grass, as it pushes the upper limits of what your lawn is capable of. When your lawn is exerting all its energies growing, diseases can be a real threat.
While there are certainly times when a quick-release fertiliser is the wisest choice for your turf, for year round health and preventative maintenance, nothing quite competes with a good slow-release fertiliser.
If you’ve got any questions about the right fertiliser regime for your lawn, contact the friendly team at McKays.