If you’ve ever applied fertilizer to your lawn only to have the grass turn yellow and brittle, you’ve experienced fertilizer burn. While the results of fertilizer burn can be disheartening, understanding why it happens and how to avoid it are key to keeping your lawn healthy and lush. Let’s take a look at what causes fertilizer burn and how you can apply fertilizer safely.
What Causes Fertilizer Burn?
Fertilizer burn is caused by an accumulation of salts from the nitrogen- and potassium-rich fertilizers that are used on lawns. The salts can accumulate in the soil due to over-application or if the soil does not drain well, leaving no room for the salt to leach out into other areas of the soil. This buildup of salts in a single area creates a concentration gradient that draws moisture out of the plant roots causing fertilizer burn.
How Can You Avoid Fertilizer Burn?
The best way to avoid fertilizer burn is by applying small amounts of it slowly over time instead of one large dose all at once. Applying smaller amounts more frequently allows for the nutrients in the fertilizer to spread further throughout your lawn rather than collecting in one spot. Choosing fertilizers with a low salt index will also help reduce the risk of fertilizer burn. Simple Lawn Solutions liquid fertilizer formulations will generally have a lower salt index than granular fertilizers since the fertilizer salts are already dissolved in solution, which can allow for decreased osmotic pressure in the soil compared to granulars. If you do apply granular fertilizer, try to water it in as quickly as possible, or apply prior to a forecasted rainfall event that wouldn’t cause flooding or excessive leaching in the soil.
It's also important to pay attention when you are applying fertilizer so that you don't get any on non-lawn surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, or patios where it can easily seep into other areas and cause damage. Finally, always remember to follow package instructions when using any type of chemical on your lawn - this includes fertilizers! Putting too much or too little onto your grass may lead to issues such as burning or underfeeding, so make sure you read up before application!
Fertilizer burn is a common problem for homeowners who don't understand how much or how often they should be applying their lawn care products. By following these tips and paying attention when applying fertilizer, you'll be able to keep your grass looking healthy with minimal risk of burning it! With proper management and upkeep, maintaining a beautiful green lawn doesn't have to be difficult; just remember that slow and steady wins the race! Contact us today for your winning lawn plan.