Frequently Answered Questions

Below is a list of commonly asked questions about fertilizer and general turf care. If you want more information, or cannot find the answer you are looking for, please use our contact page to ask us directly. .

Why fertilize?
The purpose of fertilizer is to replace the nutrients that the plant uses throughout its growing cycle. These include: Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (N-P-K). With grass, the focus is usually on nitrogen because it is the most difficult nutrient to supply. Typically grass requires one pound of nitrogen per thousand square feet, per season. The best way to do this is to feed the lawn four times (1/4 of a pound of nitrogen per feeding) throughout the season. There is less chance of the lawn being burned by dividing up the feedings. A well balanced fertilizer will also address the other nutrients that are needed by the lawn.
What is the difference between organic and synthetic fertilizer programs?
Organic means any product that contains carbon. Usually these products come from either plant sources or from animal waste. Synthetic fertilizers are typically man made or mined from the ground (nitrogen is made by taking it out of the atmosphere and potassium and phosporses are crystallized salts that are crushed and bagged ).
What does corn gluten do?
Corn gluten is used in the spring and again in the fall when weeds are starting to germinate. The product breaks down in the soil and releases protein. The protein then attaches to the root hairs of newly germinating plants. Timing is critical with this product. If timed correctly, this can be an affective non spray way to control weeds. It is also an excellent organic source of nitrogen. Because of its organic nature, it is by no means a 100% cure.
When is the best time of year to fertilize?
Ideally, a lawn should be fed three or four times throughout the season. By balancing the feeding of fertilizers, the lawn will receive the right amount of nutrient at the time that the lawn needs it. It is very difficult to provide the amount of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous (N-P-K) that a lawn requires in one feeding, without burning the lawn. Most fertilizer programs will typically feed in the early spring, again in early summer, mid summer and than in late fall. The late fall feeding is actually the first feeding for the next season.
Why is organic fertilizer more expensive than synthetic fertilizer?
Organic fertilizer contains less actual nitrogen, about 5%, then synthetic fertilizer, about 25%. This means that to get the same amount of nitrogen from an organic source, you will need to apply about five times more product. In other word, if your lawns needs 5 lbs. per thousand square feet of synthetic fertilizer, then you will need to use 25 pounds of organic fertilizer. This higher amount of product and the time to apply it all contribute to the extra cost. The benefits of this increased organic content, usually out ways the extra cost.
Can one fertilizer application help my lawn?
One fertilizing is better than nothing, but a balanced program is a much better solution for your lawn. It is very difficult to provide your lawn with the required nutrients in only one feeding. See also: When is the best time of year to fertilize?
Why is organic fertilizer slow to benefit the soil?
Organic fertilizers provide nutrition to the lawn by being broken down by the bacteria that is in the soil. This means that if a lawn has a low number of bacteria (it has been on a synthetic fertilizer program a long time) it will take longer for the fertilizer to be broken down. The benefit of this is, that if you fertilize with organics, you can do so at any time (hot, dry, wet or cold) because the fertilizer will just sits there until the conditions are right for the bacteria to work. This means you do not have to worry about burning or the nutrients being washed through the soil (leaching).
Why aerate?
Most companies will tell you that aerating opens the soil for air and water. This is common knowledge. But, the biggest benefit to aerating is having soil bacteria brought to the surface. That’s why core aeration is the best. Timing is also very important, because if it is done too early in the spring, you will not only smear the soil, sealing the core hole (which means no air or water movement), but the bacteria in the cold soil will not be active. What this means is, you are left with rock hard cores all over your lawn, and no bacteria to digest the thatch that is in the lawn.
What is soil structure?
Soil is made up of several different layers. In these layers are pockets of air, water and organic matter. Bacteria and other organisms (worms, ants, grubs, and ect.) depend on air, water and organic matter to survive. Poor soil structure limits the number of beneficial organisms and makes it difficult for plants to germinate, grow roots, and find water and nutrients. Soil structure can be improved by core aerating, feeding organic matter to the soil and over seeding.
Can one fertilizer application help my lawn?
One fertilizing is better than nothing, but a balanced program is a much better solution for your lawn. It is very difficult to provide your lawn with the required nutrients in only one feeding. See also: When is the best time of year to fertilize?
What are soil amendments?
Soil amendments are products that are used to fix problems in the soil. Using soil testing, we can identify what the main problems are. These problems can include pH (soil acidity or alkalinity) imbalances, low potassium counts and micro nutrient imbalances.
What is top dressing and why is it important?
Our top dressing is made from dehydrated compost and can be spread with a fertilizer spreader. Top dressing is a great way to increase the organic content and the number bacteria in the soil. Organic content is important in helping the soil to hold water and other nutrients. It provides food and shelter to helpful organisms and helps to improve soil structure.
What is slit seeding?
Silt seeding uses a machine that mechanically (rotating knives) cuts groves into the soil and then drops seed into the slits. This greatly improves the germination rate of the seed. Another advantage of this machine is that it also cut some of the roots, which encourages the grass plants to generate new shoots. All this has the affect of increasing plant population and thicken the lawn. The thicker the lawn, the more resistant the lawn is to weeds and insects.
Why take care of the soil when we see only the plants/grass?
The soil is what makes the plant. If the soil is poor, low in organic matter, low nutrition or high pH, then the plant will not be able to grow to its potential. Meaning, a lawn with any or all of these problems will have thin spots, suffer summer drought, and will be more susceptible to disease and weed pressures. A properly balanced lawn can resist weeds, summer drought, and disease pressures all without the need for chemicals.
What is the best length to cut a lawn?
Lawns that are cut at a height of 3 to 3.5 inches tend to resist weed seeds, drought, insect and disease damage because there is more plant available to produce food. This food can be used to make roots to provide water for the plant. If the lawn is mulched when cutting, it also benefits from the plant pieces being returned to the soil (increasing the soils organic content). This can actually return up to ΒΌ of the nutrient that the lawn will require for the season.