Californians spend literally millions of dollars a year trying to feed and grow the perfect lawn. Unfortunately, a great deal of that money is wasted and many times the efforts that people put into trying to improve their lawns is actually counterproductive and does a great deal more harm than good.
Growing a beautiful lawn is both an art form and a science and while only experience can teach you how to read your lawn and know what it’s telling you, science can be a great help in starting you in the right direction, when it comes time to fertilize your lawn.
Please keep in mind that California is a very large state with a wide variety of climate and soil conditions spread over its width and breadth and that every type of grass has its own preferences as to soil content and fertilizing needs. This means that the information here should only be used as a general guide.
For the best results, you should have your soil tested and then seek the advice of an expert for more detailed guidance. Whittier Fertilizer offers soil testing kits that you can send to a lab for an analysis. These cost around $85. You can also take samples of your soil to a local lab, such as Wallace Laboratories, and gets the results back in around two days.
How Much Fertilizer Do I Need
As a general rule, in California, both cool and warm weather varieties of grasses should only require about 4 to 6 pounds of actual nitrogen per year per 1000 sq./ft. By “Actual Nitrogen” we mean that if your fertilizer is 25% nitrogen like “Best Super Turf” You will need to apply 4 lbs of fertilizer to be adding 1 lbs of actual Nitrogen to your lawn.
How Often Should I Fertilize My Lawn
This should be broken up into 4 or more applications over the course of the year with more being better for both your grass and the environment at large. When you over fertilize in a single application you not only risk burning your grass, but you will lose more, of what you apply, to run off and ground seepage. This harms the environment and means you have wasted your hard earned cash and efforts; to no good end.
So think smaller, more frequent fertilizer applications or use a slow release fertilizer like “GreenAll Sure Start“. Slow release fertilizers allow you to wait 6-8 weeks between applications and feed your lawn at a more constant rate allowing for better utilization of the nutrients they provide.
Sun, Shade and Dry Areas
Turf in heavily shaded areas will only require about half of that needed by grass growing in direct sunlight, so apply fertilizer sparingly under trees and around shrubs. The same can be said for grass growing in drier areas.
Growing a beautiful lawn isn’t rocket science, but it is science. Just like a body needs the right nutrients in a proper balance to stay healthy, so does your turf and just like a person overfeeding can cause just as many problems as underfeeding. For the best results, contact a qualified lawn care professional, in your area and seek their advice.