Lawn fertilizing tips from the pros

(NC) -- Choosing a lawn fertilizer shouldn't be difficult, but many people wonder what to buy and when to apply it for a great result. The Canadian Fertilizer Institute says they make it their business to know fertilizer and offer us the following tips for application and to keep our green space healthy:

• Read the bag. The three numbers listed (like 10-0-5) indicate the ratio of three key nutrients included in all fertilizers. These nutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), listed in this order. If a bag reads 21-0-3 it contains 21 per cent nitrogen, 0 per cent phosphorus and 3 per cent potassium.

• The timing of your fertilizer application will differ between varieties, so get acquainted with your lawn and identify your variety of grass. Choose the right source of food by buying a fertilizer recommended for the type of grass you have.

• As the rain returns in spring and the ground warms up, grass will begin to green, and in this case, green means 'go'. Generally, early-and late-spring, and fall are the best times to fertilize.

• Apply fertilizer at the right rate by using a good quality spreader. Read the instructions on the product bag to determine how much you need to apply.

• Fertilizer can't do its job if it's not in the right place. Sweep any of the mixture that has landed on hard surfaces (such as sidewalks and driveways) back onto the lawn where it can get to work.

All grasses have the ability to go dormant in periods when water intake is reduced – and this can happen in the driest parts of the summer, and while the ground is frozen throughout the winter. Grass turns brown as the plant focuses its energy on the roots. During dormancy, don't feed your lawn - let it rest.

Additional information on best practices for fertilizer use and storage is available online at


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