Lawn feed. It’s important all year round, but this spring, lawn feed is more vital than ever. Here’s why…
We’re used to “interesting” weather conditions in Scotland. We’re no stranger to waterproofs and wellies. But this last winter has been really cruel to plants.
Persistently waterlogged and cold soils have been really challenging for grass plants and lawns. And it shows. If your lawn looks a bit “off-colour” it’s probably in need of some warm sunshine and some really good nutrition.
Winter weather saps the energy from grass lawns. When the weather starts to warm up and days get longer, lawns will need a good feed to help them recover.
Wet winters lead to depleted soils
Soil nutrients – the ones that our lawns need to help them look amazing – are water soluble. A little bit of water in the soil is a good thing. It dissolves small quantities of the soil nutrients so that the plants can suck them up through their roots. The more water there is, the more of the goodness in the soil gets dissolved. That’s great if the plants are able to absorb them. But, in winter time, the plants are semi-dormant. They can’t use the water/nutrients fast enough and so, as the water drains away, it takes some of the soil nutrients with it.
All of the rain and snow we’ve had this winter has surely left our soils depleted. So as gardeners and lawn lovers, it’s time to take action.
How to get nutrients back into your soil
Mother Nature has some fabulous systems for managing soil nutrients. They’re called the carbon cycle and the nitrogen cycle – you can probably remember them from school. Minibeasts and microbes in the soil break down dead leaves, dead roots, gasses in the air, and yes, disgusting stuff like animal poop and dead worms. It’s the ultimate in recycling because things that are no longer living get broken down into molecules that can be used as plant food.
Mother Nature’s way is slow and it has evolved to work for natural landscapes. However, the lawn and most other elements in our gardens have been enhanced. Compare your lawn to an unmanaged road verge. The plants in the lawn are closer together and with all that mowing they’re under stress too. So they need more nutrition.
If you want a beautiful lawn, you need to help Mother Nature to boost the nutrient levels in the soil and that means adding a little lawn feed.
At Stewarts Turf we recommend applying a nutritious lawn feed in early spring or as soon as the snow has melted. Then follow up with a second feed in early summer.
If your lawn works this hard it will need good nutrition to keep it performing well. Just like the athletes that are playing on it!
Choosing the right feed for your lawn
There are a lot of different choices for lawn feed. If you are a greenkeeper looking after a really special playing surface, you will probably want to test the soil in order to get the right balance of nutrients. If, like me, you have a family lawn, then an “off the shelf” lawn feed will be perfectly OK for you.
Price isn’t always an indicator of quality. So don’t go buying the cheapest because you think it will be good value or the most expensive it must be better.
Look for something that is formulated for spring summer use. That discounted autumn winter lawn feed is no good for this time of year.
The feed you choose MUST contain Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Sometimes written as NPK.
Find something you can apply easily and evenly. If the packet contains lumps and dust, then it will be hard to spread. Look for nice, evenly sized granules.
Do you need a feed and weed product? That’s your choice. Personally I’m not a fan of using herbicides unless they are really needed. I’d rather feed the lawn and then spot treat or dig out any weeds. It seems odd to me that farmers have to follow really strict regulations about storing and using herbicides yet those same chemicals are available for ordinary untrained folks like me to buy in the garden centre. That’s a whole other subject though……
Before you feed your lawn
Think carefully about whether it needs aerating and scarifying. I would strongly recommend both so that the lawn feed you apply will have the best chance of helping the plants.
And if you’re wondering what else needs doing this spring, take a glance at our lawncare calendar
Stewarts Turf recommends
Great value for larger lawns. Evolution spring summer feed includes Iron for long lasting greenness and hardiness. 1 bag treats approximately 450 square metres of lawn.