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How to fertilize the lawn

We recommend you to fertilize your lawn at least once every three months to keep the nutrients always available for your grass.

With time, the fertility of the soil decreases due to rain and other weather factors that may wash out the surface of the soil. 

 The step by step tips for fertilization 

  1.  Before starting the fertilization of the lawn, it is recommended to trim the grass.
  2.  After trimming, the grass can be fertilized with the substrate and fertilizer. The substrates corrects the pH (the acidity) of the soil, replenish the nitrogen and magnesium that are essentials to the development of plants. It also helps on water retention capacity and the soil aeration.
  3. The fertilized soil is essential to keep the grass always beautiful and healthy, which helps on the maintenance and recovery of the lawn.
  4. The fertilized soil can also be used to cover the grass. It can be spread all over the lawn. This process is recommended to be done at least once a year, preferably in the beginning of the winter time.
  5.  Note: Real Gramas also supply fertilized soil in bags of 30kg and 50 kg, ready to be used.
  6.  The grass must be watered abundantly, mainly on the first 30 days of planting.
The fertilizers

There are two main types of fertilizers in the market: the chemical and the organic ones.

 Organic fertilizers, also known as natural fertilizer, are those that are the result of decomposition of animal or vegetable matters such as manure, bagasse and compost that may be produced by human from the waste. Since its composition and nutrient ratios are difficult to be determined, these fertilizers are sold as soil conditioners rather than fertilizers.

 Chemical fertilizers, also known as inorganic, synthetic, manufactured or artificial fertilizers, are those obtained by mineral extraction or petroleum refining. Extracted phosphates, carbonates, chlorines and Chile saltpeter are bound with fillers in specific ratios.

Chemical fertilizers are found in the market as NPK fertilizers (N = nitrogen, P = phosphorous, K = Potassium) and can be found in several formulations. Normally, it is recommended to use the NPK 10-10-10 (50 g/m2) composition which offers a balanced composition for your lawn. However, it is of note that this fertilizer is very strong and cannot be mixed to the soil. Instead, this chemical fertilizer granules should be thrown over the lawn so that this fertilizer don’t get in contact directly to the roots of the grass. The nutrients will be slowly absorbed by the soil, and later by the grass as the lawn is watered.

Advantages 

 The advantage of the organic fertilizer is on its duration time (half-life) in the soil. Normally, the organic fertilizer is mixed to the soil so that it becomes more fertile. In addition, organic fertilizers may improve the structure of the soil increasing the ability to hold water and nutrients, making the soil and therefore the grass healthier and stronger. However, since the nutrients absorption occurs more slowly, it requires a longer time to be completely absorbed. But this can be another advantage since over-fertilization might not to happen.

Another advantage to use the organic fertilizer is on its preparation mode. Since it is prepared from the compost, urban residues of organic origin are recycled minimizing the garbage produced in the cities. In addition, it lowers the quantity of organic garbage that could have been thrown in the rivers or sea. Furthermore, organic fertilizers can be produced easily at home by composting.

Disadvantages

 The advantages of using chemical fertilizers rely on its ease of use. Since the nutrients are in the ionic form, the chemical fertilizers are quickly absorbed by the soil. Besides, the chemical composition of this fertilizer can be calculated and produced depending on the necessity for specific soil.

Due to its quick absorption, the effect of the chemical fertilizer is shorter and the improvement may occur in days. However, it will require a more frequent fertilization of the lawn, normally once every 3 to 4 months.

The disadvantages of using chemical fertilizer rely on the ease of over-fertilization. The excessive use of the chemical fertilizer can cause environmental disasters, which can change the soil composition a lot, making it less productive and causing damages to the ecosystem.

In addition, the long term use of chemical fertilizer may change the characteristics of the soil, resulting on increase of toxic chemicals (cadminum, arsenic or uranium) in the soil and/or change its pH, which may unbalance and upset beneficial microbial ecosystems, increasing the incidence of pests.

 The best thing to do is to know well the properties of the soil that you will be working on. Then, you can make a balanced combination of the organic and chemical fertilizers.

 In case of doubt, do ask for a professional gardener, an agronomist or agricultural engineer.

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