Fertilize Appropriately

Plants need nutrients to grow and thrive. However, it’s not always necessary to add conventional fertilizer on a regular basis. A plant’s nutrient needs depend on a number of factors, including species, age, and location in the landscape. All plants, including your lawn, obtain nutrients from soil minerals, organic matter, fertilizer, and even the atmosphere. Therefore, accurate application of fertilizer is key. Too much fertilizer can weaken a plant, promote disease, and invite pests, in addition to wasting money and harming the environment. It also means more pruning and mowing. So, it is important to consider your plants’ needs carefully before applying any fertilizer.

Many states in the Midwest have passed phosphorus fertilizer bans that prohibit commercial landscapers from applying any fertilizer that contains phosphorus except 1) if a soil test shows the soil is phosphorus-deficient or 2) to establish new grass seed and sod. While the law differs from state to state and does not always apply to property owners, a phosphorus ban indicates everyone caring for lawns and landscapes should be more attentive to the products they choose and be mindful of any phosphorus applications.

Read on to learn more about how to develop a fertilization plan appropriate for your lawn.

Handful of dirt with nutrients

A soil test can tell you what nutrients might be lacking in your soil. | Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

To learn more about research and extension related to Fertilize Appropriately, visit the Dig Deeper page.