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New research shows that lawns need less fertilizing.
Follow these tips to get great results at a lower cost to you and our environment.

Do a soil test

  • You don’t know what your lawn needs without one!

Fertilizer basics

  • Unless you have a soil test that identifies a need for phosphorus and potassium, all you need is nitrogen. Look for 10-0-0 on the bag (cornmeal gluten is a good choice).
  • For free fertilizer, always return the clippings to your lawn.
  • If an unfertilized lawn is acceptable, then don’t fertilize!

Older lawns – 10+ yrs old

  • Lawns older than 10 years need only clippings.
  • If fertilization is deemed necessary, start with 1/3 of the amount recommended on the bag label, monitor the lawn, and apply more only if the lawn needs it. Don’t apply more than 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet.

New lawns – under 10 years old

  • Younger lawns need nitrogen.
  • Start with 1/3 of the amount recommended on the bag, monitor the lawn, and apply more only if the lawn needs it up to a total of 2 pounds per 1000 square feet.

When should I fertilize?

  • The best time to fertilize is between August 15th and September 15th.
  • Grass needs to be growing to take up fertilizer.

Use slow-release organic fertilizer

  • Improves soil health and fertility.
  • Slowly releases nutrients so they feed your lawn, not our streams, rivers, and groundwater.
  • Most come from sustainable, renewable resources.
  • Look for corn meal gluten, a byproduct from milling corn. It’s a great source of Nitrogen for your lawn!

Notes on synthetic fertilizers

  • Derived from natural gas, a nonrenewable resource.
  • Many contain soluble nitrogen that can wash into rivers and streams, wasting your time and money.
  • If you do use synthetic fertilizer, look for slow-release nitrogen. Using slow-release nitrogen helps ensure that your lawn’s root system takes in the nutrients before they wash away.

Other tips

Annotation 2019 09 25 141141

Credit: Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District.
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