Despite what some companies advertise about excessive nitrogen fertilization – those companies that claim that three applications yearly is all you need – that makes about as much as someone telling you that all you need to eat on a daily basis is a bedtime snack.
The issue, of course, is that nitrogen fertilizer isn’t free, and for the sake of competitive pricing there are all kinds of promises made that three applications, if timed properly, are sufficient to make your lawn green, healthy, and strong enough to withstand summer stress. And it’ll save you money. But we would ask…does that really make sense?
Grass is a living organism, just like people. So if someone says that one meal a day is sufficient to make you strong and energetic do you believe that? Plants need feeding on a regular basis because there’s never any guarantee that each individual application, whether you do it or it’s professionally supplied, is absorbed efficiently.
Spring feedings are often subject to spring showers, which often leaches nitrogen through the ground, or by runoff, before plants can benefit. They say that if you properly fertilize in the fall that spring feeding is not necessary at all. And while there’s some truth to the theory of fall feeding, there’s no guarantee that winter weather and soil conditions will cooperate. In short, there are just too many variables to make any statement about over-feeding your lawn being wasteful.
Like people, when plants awake in spring they appreciate a meal, and a shot of nitrogen, regardless of how much you put on in November, is readily absorbed and and you can tell within days. And the argument against…that over-feeding promotes insufficient sustaining root growth…is simply unfounded. That’s more a matter of overall soil condition than too much nitrogen.
So don’t hesitate to feed, knowing that if it’s a wet spring you’ll need to feed your lawn again, because that’s just how nature works. We all get hungry. We all appreciate a meal. And we all respond to good and routine nutrition.