Selecting A Lawn Fertilizer

By Todd Fratzel on Landscaping

In my previous post,Lawn Soil Test Report, I talked about the results of a soil analysis that I had done on our lawns soil. The resulting report recommends that I apply a fertilizer with a ratio of 3:1:3 where 1 lb of Nitrogen is applied to every 1,000 sq. ft. This is where the confusion starts to set in. The ratio is a ratio of Nitrogen: Phosphorus: Potassium. If you start looking at the bags of fertilizer that are available on the shelf of your local home store you’ll realize where my confusion comes from.

Seeing it’s spring I started looking at the bag of Scotts Turf Builder With PLUS 2 Weed Control (Yellow bag) that is recommended for Spring fertilizing. The ratio listed on that bag is 28:2:3 or 14:1:1.5. Obviously that ratio isn’t close to having the appropriate amount of Potassium in it for my soil conditions. Next I looked at Scott’s Turf Builder with SummerGuard (Orange bag) that is recommended for Summer fertilizing. The ratio listed on that bag is 28:0:8. Again this ratio doesn’t have enough Potassium for my soil.

At this point I was very frustrated so I called the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension (the folks that did the soil test) and I asked them what kind of fertilizer I should use. The simple answer is you’re not going to find a perfect 3:1:3 ratio. Furthermore, my soil tested in the optimal range for Phosphorous (P) so I could go with any ratio that has a “high:low:high” type of combination.

So when I looked more at the Scott’s brand fertilizers I found that the Scott’s Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Lawn Fertilizer has a ratio of 22:2:14. This is as close as I can come with Scott’s brand fertilizer to a “high:low:high” ratio. The big problem I think I’m going to have is finding someone that stocks that brand in the spring. With any luck I can find someone that has some left over from last fall.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the author of Tool Box Buzz and Today's Green Construction. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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