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Read This Before You Do Your Fall Yardwork

Fall is here and with that comes important lawn care tasks necessary to preserve lawn health over the winter months and promote growth in the spring.


According to a July 2013 article from Consumer Reports, fall fertilizing helps keep lawns healthy where growing seasons are long and reduces the length of a dormant period during which the lawn is brown.


If you are thinking about fertilizing your lawn, consider the amount of phosphorus you are applying. When too much phosphorus is applied to lawns, pollution to water and excess algae could result.



According to the University of Vermont Extension Department of Plant and Soil Science, research has shown that when soils become saturated with water, there is a potential risk that some phosphorus can be pulled out of the soil and into runoff water. The risk is much higher when soil test levels are in the high to excessive range for phosphorus.


To make sure that your lawn’s phosphorus level is sufficient, take a soil test periodically. If the tested soil is high in phosphorus, there’s no need to add more. If your lawn’s phosphorus level is low, adding phosphorus through fertilizer will improve lawn density and reduce water runoff and pollution.


So before you apply fertilizer to your lawn at the lake this fall, check your soil's phosphorus levels. Pick up a soil test kit at your local hardware store.


Tips for applying fertilizer

  • Consumer Reports recommends two applications: the first soon after Labor Day, the second around the last time you mow for the year.

  • If you look at a bag of fertilizer, phosphorus is the middle number, example: 5-3-4. The higher the middle number is, the more the phosphorus contained in the fertilizer.

  • Apply when soil is dry to moderately moist.

  • Water lightly after applying.

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