Skip Maine state header navigation
Step five: Fertilization
|Like any other living organism, grass needs basic nutrients for survival. But how much and what kind?||A soil test analyzes existing fertility of the soil and its pH (degree of acidity or alkalinity ). This information is essential for developing a nutrient program.|
must read between 6.0 - 7.0. Most Maine soils are acidic with a pH of
4.8 to 5.2. Lime increases pH and can be applied anytime during the
growing season. Pelletized dolomitic limestone works best.
Measure your lawn area to determine square footage. Then calibrate your spreader to apply the correct amount of fertilizer. Excessive use harms the environment, is costly, increases need for mowing and can burn grass plants.
Nitrogen in fertilizer is the element needed in the greatest quantities by the grass plant, but it should never be over applied. Treat your lawn only when a soil test indicates the need. Best time to apply is late August or September. Use slow release formulations of nitrogen (water insoluble nitrogen, some manures, activated sludge, sulfur-coated urea) that "spoon feeds" small amounts of the nutrient over many weeks. Do not apply before heavy rainfall! Excess nitrogen washed into Casco Bay promotes algae growth and chokes marine life.
Phosphorus in fertilizer is rarely essential for established Maine lawns. Since a soil test will likely reveal ample phosphorus, use phosphorus-free fertilizer on existing lawns. Small amounts of phosphorus may be desirable, however, for improved germination when seeding a new lawn. Mix starter phosphorus into root zone and never apply on soil surface. Follow soil test recommendations.
How much green is too green? The iridescent, emerald-green lawn acquired by overfeeding with fertilizers, especially nitrogen, is actually unhealthy turf thatís under stress. In this condition, the lawn is vulnerable to plant diseases, weeds and drought.
Back to Bayscaper Home Page