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Fairy Ring Facts

Organic Lawn Fertilizer

by Linda Paquette

Your lawn can be only as good as the soil under it. When you use slow release, organic lawn fertilizer, you provide your lawn with nutrition that grows healthy, disease and drought resistant green turf. Although you may want to be the first on your block to have a green carpet in front of your home, healthy grass needs to grow at its own rate. Organic lawn fertilizer feeds your lawn from the soil, allowing it to grow naturally and establish a deep and expansive root system that is necessary to growing strong and healthy turf.

Over fertilization actually grows your lawn to death. Chemical fertilizers basically leave all their nutrients on the surface of the soil, killing the microorganisms that work to keep soil healthy. High nitrogen fertilizers are foliar feeders; they help top-growth, which looks good and deceives you into believing you have a healthy lawn. However, half of all soluble nitrogen leaches out of your soil before it can be absorbed. If all your "lawn food" is on your soil instead of in it, your grass has no need to develop a good root system.

Organic lawn fertilizer breaks down slowly, feeding your lawn as it adds nutrients to the soil. Roots feed from these nutrients and build up a reserve of carbohydrates keeping your lawn healthy and promoting steady growth during times of stress caused by disease or drought.

Start with a soil test before you fertilize. Knowing the present condition of your soil helps you develop a solid organic lawn fertilizer plan that addresses your soils long term needs by providing a balance of needed nutrients with organic lawn fertilizer and soil amendments.

A good organic lawn fertilizer of fine ground compost allows the particles to fall between the blades of grass and reach the crowns or stolons of your grass and its roots. Apply sifted compost with a drop spreader and to an established lawn as a tonic. Top dressing with compost both improves the soil and nourishes your turf.

Remember, a truly healthy lawn takes time to develop. Grass that is growing well doesnt need fertilizer. Fertilize to supply missing nutrients to the soil using a slow-release or water in-soluble organic lawn fertilizer that releases nutrients at the rate your turf needs them. When looking for a specific type or brand of organic lawn fertilizer, a good place to check is the extensive list maintained by attra,(
Linda is author of The Lawn Care section of

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