If you are a DIY lawn care weekend warrior, we hope this article helps you achieve better results. If you are trying to understand if your current lawn care service is doing a good job, compare your invoice descriptions to our fertilization and weed control guide to find out.
If you are looking to hire the best lawn care service in Spokane, this is how we create beautiful lawns for our clients at Spokane’s Finest Lawns. Contact us for a free, no-pressure estimate for us to professionally care for your lawn.
‘Slow-Release’ Fertilizer Is Key!
Using a quality fertilizer and a fertilizer with the correct nutrient ratios for the time of year is very important to achieve a great-looking lawn.
The use of a ‘slow-release’ fertilizer will help your lawn stand out from the neighbors. Slow-release fertilizers slowly break down and become available to the turf over the following 6 weeks or so after they are applied. Slow-release fertilizers are either coated or bind to the soil to release into the soil over time instead of all at once.
The benefits of using a slow-release fertilizer are that there are no sudden growth spurts and the grass plants can use more, if not all, of the nutrients contained in the fertilizer.
Macronutrients & Micronutrients Build Soil Chemistry
Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the 3 main macronutrients found in lawn fertilizers. These 3 elements are often listed at N, P, and K on bags of fertilizer. A fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 21-0-3 contains 21% nitrogen, 0% phosphorus, and 3% potassium. The rest of the material in the fertilizer is an inert material and other macronutrients and micronutrients.
Calcium, magnesium, and sulfur are considered macronutrients or micronutrients depending on who you ask. Iron, zinc, and manganese are micronutrients that are also beneficial to the soil. It is important that the fertilizer applied to the lawn is not solely nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium with inert filler material comprising the rest of the ingredients.
Humic Acid, Fulvic Acid, & Sea Kelp In Lawn Care
Along with macronutrients and micronutrients, introducing organic material will also greatly improve the overall health of your lawn. Humic acids, fulvic acid, and sea kelp are big components of our lawn care program at Spokane’s Finest Lawns.
The way your lawn looks on top is a direct reflection of the health of the soil beneath it and how strong the turf’s root system is. Dumping fertilizer on a lawn does not create desired results! Without organic matter in the soil, the turf’s root system cannot extract the nutrients from the soil as well as it should so it can thrive.
Controlling Common & Hard To Control Weeds
In Spokane and nearby, we have some common weeds often found in lawns and some weeds that are a little less common but are very hard to control.
- White clover
Common weeds can be controlled in as little as 1 herbicide application. White clover and dandelions are rampant weeds in our area that are very easy to control. We recommend spot spraying weeds in your lawn every 6 weeks or so when the next round of fertilizer is applied to keep common, pesky weeds under control.
- Japanese clover
- Black medic
Some weeds are harder to control than others and will require more frequent applications of herbicide or weed control products and may require a more specialized weed control product to be effective.
Remember, a ‘selective’ herbicide should be used when spraying weeds found in a lawn surrounded by desired grass plants! Non-selective herbicides will try to control any plant material they come in contact with.
Crabgrass is best controlled by applying a pre-emergent herbicide to stop the crabgrass plants from ever emerging from the soil.
Lawn Maintenance Best Practices To Follow
The information above is a solid foundation as far as what to apply to your lawn to get a healthy, weed-free lawn as an end result. Let’s quickly cover other lawn maintenance best practices you will also need to follow to get the results you expect.
- Lawn mowing
- Insect control
- Aerating and/or aerating and overseeding
The key to lawn mowing is to mow often enough that no more than 1/3 of the grass blade is removed during a single mowing. It is also very important your lawn mower blades are sharp and grass clipping buildup is removed from the underside of your lawn mower’s deck.
If drought conditions occur during the summer months, watering the lawn with a hose or sprinkler system will be necessary to maintain a healthy lawn. Remember to ‘water deep’ and less often instead of watering daily for a short period of time. You want the water to really soak deep into the soil so the roots dig deep to get to it.
Insect control primarily refers to white grubs. White grubs can quickly destroy a lawn by feeding on the root system. A well-timed insecticide application should minimize the chances your lawn will be negatively affected by grubs.
Aerating is also a very beneficial thing you can do for your lawn. Aerating decompacts the soil and allows water and nutrients to more easily travel deeper into the soil. If your lawn has thin or bare spots, spreading grass seeds in these areas after aerating is a great way to fill them in with new grass plants.