The best fertilizing program provides a balanced amount of nutrients and micro nutrients for your lawn. Most of you will get bombarded with mailers from fertilizing companies over the course of the next several months. Most of these companies will be trying to sell you on the cheapest price, not the best fertilizing program for your lawn. All products and companies are not equal. It is important to understand what each company offers and what their fertilizing program consists of in order to make an informed decision about who will be taking care of your lawn. Most companies will sell you a “slow release fertilizer application”. What exactly does this mean? There is a wide variety of slow release products that will produce different results in your lawn. There are a few blogs that I wrote previously explaining what slow release fertilizer is. They can be found here and here. The first blog explains what sulfur coated urea is and the second explains what infused products are.
The best fertilizing program should also include weed control.
The best fertilizing programs also include a solid weed control program as well. In zone 5, there are two main types of weeds that require treatment. The first is crabgrass. Crabgrass control is not as easy as sprinkling some pellets on your lawn. When choosing a company, make sure to find out what their active ingredient is and what rate the product is applied at. Most crabgrass preventative products can be put on light or heavy. A light application would be around 3 pounds per 1,000 square feet. A heavy application would be closer to 5 pounds per 1,000 square feet. It is important to understand what rate the company is putting down the product at. The low rate of 3 pounds will theoretically give you 3 months of control (1 pound= 1 month control). This only happens with a perfect case scenario, which never happens. Realistically you can expect about a month in a half or two months coverage. Meaning if your company applies this product the first part of March and we have a rainy season, the product could actually be gone by mid to late April. This means that you will have crabgrass even with a pre-emergent application. Our company puts a crabgrass preventor on at the manufacturers full rate and we apply this application later in the spring. This way the product is at its maximum effectiveness.
The best fertilizing program should also include two liquid broadleaf weed control applications during the year. On in the spring and one in the fall, with spot treatment of weeds between applications. Granular broadleaf weed control products do_not_work. The only effective way to treat broadleaf weeds is by spraying the chemical directly on the plants leaves.
We recommend a 5 step fertilizing and weed control program with a grub preventative application in the summer. Check out our program here.