Fertilizers and Pesticides A Homeowners Introduction

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Balance in nature is everything and balance in your lawn and landscape is equally important. Of course, there are many different areas of a lawn and landscape to balance including color and species selection. One important area to focus on is the chemical makeup of your lawn. Many people might cringe at the thought of having “chemicals” used or incorporated into their lawn. What most people don’t understand is that chemicals are present regardless, and it’s up to you as the keeper of the land to make sure the balance of these naturally occurring nutrients, chemicals, and elements are present. This is most often done beyond the roots of the vegetation that inhabits your lawn and lies within the soil itself. The best way to take care of your lawn on the foundational level is through the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and even herbicides. Each of these has an essential and specific function. Knowing the basics behind each of these critical tools for taking care of a lawn will help you keep the beauty of your yard as healthy as possible.

Pesticides and Insecticides are one of the most common tools homeowners use in conjunction with other types of pest control methods. Pesticides, in general, can act as a broad spectrum solution or target specific species. The most important thing to be careful of when deciding between the two is the recognition and knowledge of any organically beneficial insects that help your lawn. When it comes to life and health of your plants, you should always be aware of what you can fix versus what you can control. Make sure to read all labels carefully. The building up of resistance to your pest control methods is natural and will happen over time no matter what pesticides you might use. Learning through observation about this resistance will go a long way in preventing headaches down the line of routine maintenance. The difference between retail pesticides and professional ones is concentration. Retail pesticides are heavily diluted with small quantities of the active ingredient. Professionals tend to use much higher concentrations formulas that will make a more significant and long lasting difference. The application should always be as limited as possible with the desired result, as overdoing it with pesticide will not make your job easier in the future.

Fertilizers are probably the most important of all the additives to your lawn that you can incorporate. Fertilizers provide your plants with three key nutrients that determine how well your lawn prospers. Those three nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, each of the natural earth elements that each affect plants in different ways. Most fertilizer bag labels will represent how much of these elements are present per 100 pounds through a dashed number system (ex. 10-10-15). Soil testing and water testing are strongly recommended to understand the needs of your lawn. As with most natural products, there are organic fertilizers, and there are your typical commercial fertilizers. The cost of organic is typically higher but can be sourced locally for free. However, most commercial fertilizers have no major proven risks and are used widely among landscapers and homeowners. When it comes to fertilizer you’ll want to avoid potential runoff or leaching off the soil; the goal is to get the fertilizer to soak in. As with Pesticides, over-application of fertilizer will work against your interests in the long term.

These two categories also include herbicides which are another soil additive that controls species on the plant level similar to the pesticides. The same advice applies to herbicides as well as the pesticides and fertilizers. Taking control and balancing out the soil, the foundation of your lawn and landscape helps all aspects of-of the maintenance and the look of your lawn. The combination of these three soil care products will be the key to success in a lush green lawn.

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