If you don’t already know, there are two main types of lawn fertilizers: liquid fertilizer and granular fertilizer.
Granular fertilizers come in the form of pellets and slow-release fertilizers. They aren’t as easy to apply as liquid fertilizers and release nutrients over a long time.
Whereas liquid fertilizers are quick-release lawn fertilizers, and they usually come in the form of liquid. Unlike granular lawn fertilizer, a liquid one is easy to apply and releases nutrients to the soil and grass as soon as you apply it.
But how do you apply liquid fertilizer to a lawn properly? Let’s find out.
How Does Liquid Fertilizer Work?
Liquid fertilizer adds nutrients to grass and plants in two different ways:
- Directly through the leaves and grass blades, known as foliar absorption
- Through the roots, from the soil
As liquid fertilizer is applied in the form of liquid, it doesn’t need any time to break down, and it starts offering nutrients to grass right after the application. This feature makes liquid fertilizer a great option for dying grass that needs immediate attention.
However, there’s a trade-off that you need to bear in mind.
Liquid fertilizer is absorbed by grass and plants quickly, which means you need to apply it to your soil more frequently than granular fertilizer.
Important Note: The total number of nutrients that a certain amount of liquid or granular fertilizer offers is roughly the same.
Types of Liquid Fertilizers
Generally, the following are the three different types of liquid fertilizers that you can use.
Water Soluble Fertilizer
Water-soluble liquid fertilizers usually come in the form of powder. As the name implies, you need to add water to these fertilizers to create a solution before applying them.
Water-soluble fertilizers are commonly used for houseplants, not for lawns. However, if you’re on a budget, you can also use them for lawns because of their low price point.
Liquid fertilizers mostly come in the form of concentrated liquids. You need to add them to water to create a solution that you can apply to your lawn. It’s a more user-friendly option than water-soluble ones that come in a powdered form.
The most important thing to remember while using a concentrated fertilizer is to follow the correct ratio instructions while mixing it with water. Most products come with instructions that you can easily follow to mix the two materials correctly.
Ready to Use Fertilizers
If you’re a beginner and want to avoid the hassle of mixing fertilizer with water, you can’t go wrong with this liquid fertilizer type. As the name suggests, these fertilizers are ready to use and allow you to save time and effort.
Most ready-to-use liquid fertilizers come in a hose-end sprayer, which allows you to attach your garden hose to the fertilizer bottle.
How to Apply Liquid Lawn Fertilizer: Step-by-Step Guide
If you’re planning to use liquid fertilizer, consider using the steps listed below to complete the process effectively.
Step 1: Perform a Soil Test
The first step is to perform a soil test to determine its pH level and the amounts of different nutrients. Collect a soil sample and submit it to a local nursery, and they’ll inform you about the pH level and nutrient content in your lawn’s soil.
It’ll allow you to choose the fertilizer with nutrients, such as potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen, that your soil needs.
Step 2: Select the Correct Time of the year
There are two different types of lawn grasses, including the cool season and the warm season grasses. The type of grass you have will determine the time of the year you should choose to apply liquid fertilizer.
Generally, you should apply fertilizer to cool-season grasses in the fall before the severe cold season arrives (when the temperature is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit).
Whereas summer is the best time to fertilize warm-season grasses (before the severe heat) when the temperature is around 80 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 3: Calculate the Amount of Fertilizer Needed
The easiest way to determine how much fertilizer you need is to calculate the area of your lawn in square feet.
If you have a square or rectangle yard, you need to multiply the length and width of your lawn to get its area.
If you have a triangle lawn, you’ll need the following formula:
(Height x Base) / 2
Additionally, if you have a circular lawn, you can use this formula to determine its area.
Radius x Radius x 3.14
If your lawn is irregular, you can divide it into multiple parts and use the combinations of formulae discussed above to calculate its area.
Step 4: Ensure Safety
Whether you have a synthetic or organic fertilizer, make sure that you ensure your safety before using it. Wear safety gear like protective gloves, goggles, and a face mask. You should also wear heavy-duty long boots, a full-sleeved t-shirt, and long pants to protect your skin from fertilizer.
Step 5: Prepare Fertilizer
Once you have bought fertilizer in the right amount, prepare it if it’s not the ready-to-use type. Mix the amount of fertilizer recommended by the manufacturer with water to create the solution. After that, add the solution to the backpack or hand-held sprayer.
If you have ready-to-use fertilizer, it would already have a hose-end spray bottle that you can attach to the garden hose.
Important Note: Don’t mix the fertilizer and water on the lawn. Perform this step on your patio or driveway to prevent accidental spills from damaging the grass.
Step 6: Apply Fertilizer
Water your entire lawn (a couple of hours) before applying liquid fertilizer. After that, start applying fertilizer evenly across the entire lawn, and make sure that you walk slowly across your yard in straight lines.
Pay attention to the throw of your sprayer to understand how far it reaches. It’ll help you avoid applying fertilizer twice to the same area, and you also won’t miss any spots.
Keep in mind that if you don’t apply the liquid sprayer evenly, you’ll have a patchy lawn. Once you’re finished, use a leaf blower to remove excess fertilizer you accidentally sprayed on the sidewalks, patio, or driveway.
Step 7: Wait a Couple of Hours
You must never water your lawn right after applying liquid fertilizer. That’s because water will wash away the fertilizer before grass/plants can absorb it. So, wait for at least a couple of hours to let the fertilizer dry, and then water the entire lawn thoroughly.
Important Note: Protect your pets and kids from the lawn while applying fertilizer. Plus, wait 48 to 72 hours before letting your kids and pets return to the grass.
Step 8: Store the Sprayer
If you have leftover fertilizer on your backpack or handheld sprayer, add it to an airtight bottle and store it in a dark, dry, and cool place. Next, rinse the sprayer thoroughly with fresh water and store it safely. Your gardening supplies should be stored away from pets and kids.
Benefits of Using Liquid Fertilizers
Liquid lawn fertilizers offer a wide range of benefits, including the following.
Ease of Use
Liquid fertilizers are available in ready-to-use form, which is pre-diluted and doesn’t involve any measuring, mixing, or calibrating work. You only need to attach them to your garden hose to start applying them.
Quick Release Formulation
Grass and plants can absorb liquid fertilizers as soon as you apply them through foliar absorption. If you have a lawn that needs immediate attention, you can use liquid fertilizer to save it.
Mitigate Runoff Risks
Liquid fertilizers dry quickly and are designed for frequent and light applications. Therefore, excess fertilizer runoff is less likely to damage neighboring water sources.
Easy to Track
Liquid fertilizers are easy to track and help you ensure that you don’t apply them twice on the same spot, and they also help you avoid missing small areas of your lawn.
To make the process even easier, you can add a pattern indicator dye to the solution that temporarily changes the grass's color. It’ll help you see the areas that you have covered to prevent under or over-fertilization.
Liquid lawn fertilizer allows you to make a versatile lawn care cocktail to accomplish multiple tasks simultaneously. To achieve the advantages of each product in a single application, combine a liquid fertilizer with soil additives such as a humic substance or liquid aerator.
Whether a beginner or a seasonal gardener, you can use liquid fertilizer on your lawn to keep the grass green and healthy. Fertilizing your lawn will provide all the nutrients your plants and grass need to thrive and grow faster.
Make sure that you apply a liquid fertilizer during the growing season, which can vary depending on the type of grass you have. Lastly, apply the fertilizer evenly on your lawn to prevent it from becoming patchy.
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