Lawn fertilization is the method of providing essential nutrients to your turf grass. A healthier lawn is more resistant to lawn disease and weeds. Proper methods are essential to the health and beauty of your lawn. The key to proper fertilization is the spread rate & method, the quality of the product, and the release rate of the product.
Spread rate generally refers to the weight (lbs) of fertilizer per 1000 sq ft. Fertilizers are labeled with this information on the bag so the products are not over-applied. An over-applied product can have highly unfavorable results which can result in fertilizer burn (typically nitrogen burn), which is very similar to a yellow “pet stain” in the lawn. The stain (as well as an over-applied fertilizer) causes a heavy, damaging nitrogen spike in the soil which damages the turf. It is caused by a heavy concentration of nitrogen salts that essentially dry up the root system and the grass causing a browning or yellowing.
A proper method consists of an even constant rate of spread over the entire lawn. This is done by properly executing evenly spaced, overlapping passes. The applicator should allow the fertilizer to overlap only the amount necessary to get total lawn covered while trying to avoid excess over-lapping, and therefore over-application. In some instances of improper lawn care, a striping throughout the entire lawn will occur. This is not a problem as long as the initial settings for spread rate are properly calibrated. Improper calibration will cause a heavier overlap concentration on each pass, resulting in a nitrogen spike and potential burn in the form of stripes. The burn can be sometimes be remedied by heavy watering in the affected areas over the period of 1-2 weeks to wash out the excess nitrogen salts in order to restore the proper balance back into the soil.