Feeding and Weeding Your Lawn
CHEMICALS OR NO CHEMICALS?
One question has to be answered prior to feeding your
lawn. Do you wish to use chemical preparations or do
you only wish to use natural means? The evidence
suggests strongly that a better lawn can be achieved with the use of
chemicals, but this takes no account of the environmental impact of
chemicals. GardenAction describes both methods and leaves the
decision to you.
First let's consider the key elements of the ideal lawn
feeding programme which applies to both natural and chemical feeding.
Grass grows quickly with a lush green colour.
Chemical, grass cuttings, compost.
Spring and summer.
Healthy root system, early growth in spring.
Chemical, bone meal.
Improves resistance to disease and drought.
Spring or autumn.
Special cases only.
If grass is thin and very mossy, this can improve
Hydrated garden lime.
Option 1 Feeding
Your Lawn Naturally
Sprinkle a handful of bone meal per square meter (yard) over the lawn in
autumn / fall. The rate of application is not too critical because bone
meal will not burn the lawn and takes time to break down and release
nutrients. This will provide your lawn with a good supply of phosphate
throughout the year.
HOW TO INCORPORATE NITROGEN?
The best way to feed your lawn naturally with nitrogen is to leave the
the lawn cuttings on the lawn every other time it is cut. The grass
cuttings will quickly decompose and return nitrogen to the soil. Where
this is done, best results are achieved where the lawn is scarified a
couple times each year.
An additional source of nitrogen, is well rotted compost
which is crumbly and on the dry side. Well-rotted and crumbly leaf
compost is the very best addition to a lawn although all well-rotted
crumbly compost is good. Spread it over the lawn so
that it barely covers the surface, then rake it well into the lawn so that
none remains on the surface. This can be applied in spring or summer,
but is of best use when applied in spring.
This is not so essential for a good lawn. However, the best source is
well-rotted compost applied as described in the paragraph above.
There is no natural source of lime that can easily be applied to a lawn.
But if you keep your lawn in reasonable condition, there will never be a
need to apply lime.
Option 2 Feeding
and Weeding Your Lawn With Chemicals
There are three readily available lawn feed compounds, each designed for
a specific purpose. These are:
- Spring and summer feed compound. This is rich in nitrogen with a
small amount of phosphates. This should be applied in spring when
the grass begins to put on some growth.
- Autumn / fall feed compound. This is rich in phosphates with
little nitrogen. This should be applied in autumn when the grass
starts to grow more slowly.
- Lawn sand. This is a mixture of ammonium sulphate, iron sulphate and
fine sand. it is used to kill a wide variety of weeds and is
especially good at preventing and killing moss in lawns.
Additionally it provides a long term tonic for your lawn and has a
definite 'greening' effect. It is normally applied in late spring
but where moss is a problem it can also be applied in summer.
Study the instructions carefully before applying any of the above
treatments because over-application will result in damage to your lawn.
If the lawn suffers from over-application, water it very well for a day
and in all likelihood it will recover.
Apply the treatments when the weather is dry but there is the
prospect of rain in a day or so. If rain does not appear, water well for
a day. Do NOT apply any of the above to a new lawn - wait 12 months for
a seed sown lawn and 6 months for a turf / sod laid lawn.
When choosing any of the above, go for a well-known name and you will
be OK. In general, all the brands are the same, they merely vary the
balance of the chemicals slightly. One exception however is that some
brands have slow release formulas which release the chemicals into the
lawn over a longer time than standard varieties. It is well worth paying
the extra money for these brands.
Whichever method you choose, it is essential that the treatment is
applied evenly to avoid scorching the lawn in places.
APPLICATION BY HAND
First rule is use gloves and wash your hands afterward - remember, you
are using dangerous chemicals. The best method is to use half going up
and down the lawn then use the other half going crossways across the
Normally this means adding the treatment to a specific amount of water
in a watering can. Sometimes, there are attachments for hoses. This
method is quick acting and less likely to cause scorching.
The treatment is added to a container in a wheeled trolley which
dispenses the chemicals evenly as the trolley is moved along. If the
instructions are followed, this method ensures even distribution.