Overfeeding the Lawn

Yes, your lawn needs food. Fertilizer is food. But over fertilizing causes damage not only to our water ecosystem, but to your grass too.

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Every living thing needs food, including your lawn. But following the recommendations of fertilizer manufacturers and most lawn service companies creates a very unhealthy lawn and depleted soil. High nitrogen applied in large doses causes your lawn to green up and grow very quickly, requiring frequent cutting and heavy thatch building up faster than it can decompose and benefit your soil. Heavily fertilizing builds up soluble salts in the soil. These salts along with all the excess nitrogen that your lawn cannot use quickly enough, eventually leaches out of the soil in heavy rain and run off into groundwater, streams and lakes. This first causes algae bloom which can eventually uses up the oxygen that fish, animals and beneficial water plants need.

But back to your lawn, as a living thing it does need food. So does everything else growing in your landscape. Large trees especially will quickly drain moisture and nutrients from the soil. Take the time to truly determine what your trees, shrubs and grass need for food, how much they need and when they need it. Do a soil analysis either with a test kit from the garden center or university extension service. Then feed specifically if you can. Trees feed heavily in the spring and can be fed at the root level with specially formulated fertilizer spikes. Research the true requirements of your shrubs and feed them appropriately. For the lawn also, it is always best to feed often but in very small doses. This will make sure that the food is taken up completely by plants rather than leeched out. It will maintain slow healthy top growth and a strong root system. It may take some time to shape up a lawn so be patient. A healthy lawn will survive short periods of drought, choke out weeds, and require less water and mowing.

Sharon DwyerComment