Keeping a lawn in top condition can be challenging, especially in a climate with extreme winters and temperate summers like Calgary and Edmonton.
Many homeowners in Alberta struggle with when and how to fertilize their lawns, while others don’t know which fertilizer is right for optimal grass growth.
If you are here, you are probably struggling with spring lawn care and we are here to help!
Our lawn care professionals have created this guide to help you get your lawn ready for spring.
Follow these easy 4 fertilization steps to prepare your yard for spring.
When to Fertilize
The timing of the fertilizer application can be just as important as the type of fertilizer used.
Spring lawn fertilizer should be applied throughout the spring and summer to ensure that the grass receives the nutrients it needs.
We recommend making the first fertilizer application between March and early May.
The snow should be completely thawed, and all debris should be removed with a spring-tine rake.
Clearing the top-layer will ensure that the fertilizer directly applies to the top layer of soil.
What Tools Are Required?
When attempting to lay fertilizer, the right tools are essential.
Do not try to spread fertilizer by hand, as fertilizer can irritate human skin and is poisonous if ingested.
For the best results, we recommend using a fertilizer spreader to avoid any potential fertilizer burn, increase efficiency and save you time.
Spreaders fall into two categories: drop and broadcast.
Broadcast spreaders are typically used for larger spaces, while drop spreaders are ideal for smaller patches of lawn.
Before buying a spreader, there are a few things you should take into consideration for your buying decisions:
- The size of your lawn: you should get a handheld spreader if your lawn is small, while a push-along spreader is commonly used for moderate to large lawns.
- Efficiency: If you would like to know exactly where you’re spreading the fertilizer, a manually operated spreader might fit your needs. A battery-powered spreader might be the better option for those who prefer automated tools.
- Durability: For homeowners with a large piece of land, tow-behind spreader offers the right durability and quality you’ll require. Other types of spreader might not be as long-lasting when used for larger areas.
A few things you should keep in mind:
- Before application, you should adjust the settings on the spreader to fit your needs, then apply the fertilizer to the ground.
- Be careful to avoid re-entering the area until the product is completely absorbed.
- Pay attention to your product’s re-entry period for best results.
What Is the Best Lawn Fertilizer for Spring?
Many homeowners take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to fertilizer.
However, it is important to note that not all fertilizers are created equal.
Your fertilizer should be rich in nutrients and complement the type of grass in your yard.
The best spring fertilizer for grass is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, all of which are essential for plant growth.
Choose a slow-release fertilizer over short-release products. A slow-release formula will ensure that the lawn receives nutrients over a longer period.
Alberta contains several different types of soil throughout the region and a soil test may be required to determine which fertilizer will best suit your lawn before applying.
Here are a few steps to performing a simple soil “squeeze” test:
- Take a handful of moist soil that is not wet from your garden. Give it a firm squeeze.
- Open your hands and give it a slight poke
- If the soil its shape and crumbles when poked, you have the ideal soil! It means that your soil can retain moisture and nutrients but doesn’t stay soggy.
- If it holds its shape but doesn’t crumble when poked, you might have clay soil. It means that your soil is nutrient-rich but doesn’t drain quickly.
- If the soil falls apart as soon as you open your hands, your soil might be sandy. This means that your soil drains quickly and it doesn’t retain nutrients and moisture well.
How to Effectively Fertilize Your Lawn
To effectively fertilize your lawn, be aware of which types of fertilizer work best with the soil and grass.
Different fertilizers will provide different results, and not all of them will work well with every lawn.
Consult an expert for more information about which type of fertilizer will work best.
The amount of fertilizer you need will depend on how much seed was planted, the type of grass, and the size of the yard.
Check the fertilizer’s label for recommendations on how much fertilizer is necessary during applications.
After Fertilizing Your Lawn
After fertilizing the lawn, consider applying a weed control treatment to the yard.
This treatment will ensure that the nutrients in the fertilizer are not soaked up by unsightly weeds.
In addition to the treatment and fertilizing, it’s important to water the lawn regularly to ensure that the soil stays hydrated.
Remember to keep children and pets away from the fertilized area until it has absorbed into the soil completely.
If you live near a body of water, know that you need to follow extra safety precautions to avoid contaminating the water.
We recommend making a 5- to 10-foot buffer between the water’s edge and your fertilized land to be safe. If possible, use fertilizer without phosphorous to prevent contamination.