A lush green lawn can be a thing of beauty, and the right kind of fertilizer can help you to achieve this as long as it is applied correctly. There are many kinds of fertilizer on the market, and one of the best known is 10-10-10 fertilizer. When fertilizer is being considered for a lawn, 10-10-10 is one type that may be effective.
What Is 10-10-10 Fertilizer?
Manufacturers make different grades of fertilizer for different kinds of plants and grasses. These are made with at least two nutrient sources to form blends. These are called "mixed fertilizers." Others have only one primary nutrient, like sodium nitrate or liquid nitrogen.
The three main nutrients that lawns require are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N, P, K). So, to calculate the pounds of a nutrient in a 50-pound bag that is marked 10-10-10 fertilizer, you can multiply 50 x 0.10. This bag will have 5 pounds each of N, P and K and some added filler, such as granular limestone or sand.
Experts recommend different kinds of lawn mixes, including 10-10-10 fertilizer along with 5-10-5, 5-10-10 and 8-0-24. A 10-10-10 fertilizer is an all-purpose mix and is also used for plants. If you are unsure about which fertilizer to choose, it is best to have your soil tested first. You can buy these kits at home and garden centers or obtain a test from a state soil testing lab.
Choosing a Lawn Fertilizer
The type of fertilizer you choose should depend on the kind of results you want. Whether you are looking to control insects and weeds, starting a new lawn, preferring to go organic or just wanting it to be thick and green, there's a fertilizer for you. Other features for which to look include smaller granules that won't get mowed up, ingredients that are safe for pets and long-lasting applications that don't need to be reapplied often.
Experts agree that nitrogen is the lawn's most essential nutrient, so when choosing nitrogen fertilizers, you will want to see what is actually included in the product. The nitrogen used can be fast-release or controlled-release. Controlled-release nitrogen sources are recommended for lawns. They are less likely to burn grass and be lost through the air and soil. In addition, they also create a more uniform grass growth across the lawn.
How to Fertilize a Lawn
When considering how to fertilize your lawn, you'll need to choose from several kinds of fertilizer spreaders: broadcast/rotary, drop, handheld broadcast and battery-powered spreaders. Broadcast/rotary are good for large lawns, and drop spreaders offer more controlled fertilizer distribution. Handheld broadcast spreaders are great for smaller lawns and so are the battery-powered, pre-calibrated, handheld ones.
Always read the directions on the fertilizer package before using the product and water your lawn well a day or two before fertilizing. Apply the fertilizer and water again but lightly this second time. You might be able to time it so it rains before and/or after fertilizing but never fertilize when a heavy rain is expected; that will simply wash it all away. Fertilizing during a drought when the grass is brown and dying is also not a good idea.
- North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services: A Homeowner's Guide to Fertilizer
- Gardening Products Review: State-by-State List of Soil Testing Labs at Cooperative Extension Offices
- Family Handyman: 6 Best Lawn Fertilizers for Any Type of Grass
- University of Illinois Extension: Choosing Fertilizers for Home Lawns
- HGTV: 13 Tips for Fertilizing Your Lawn