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Green Grass, Superb Soil, and Necessary Nutrients: The Basics of Lawn Nutrition
What is Lawn Nutrition?
A well-maintained lawn can be an extension of your home, like a living room outside. It’s where you can eat, entertain, play sports, and lounge, all while enjoying the sun and breeze. But lawns are more complicated and delicate than furniture and you need to do more than dust and vacuum to maintain your lawn’s beauty, cleanliness, and health.
Your lawn is an entire ecosystem, a network of living, interdependent organisms hard at work. Getting a lush and healthy lawn means understanding all the factors that can affect it and how they work together: grass type, soil type, climate, pests that make their home there, fungi, sun and shade exposure, and the proportion of different nutrients. Because all these factors have to work together, caring for lawns requires understanding how all the pieces work together.
Microorganisms and Nutrients: A Match Made in Green Lawns
The key to a healthy lawn is healthy soil. The key to healthy soil is a healthy lawn. It’s a harsh reality that a beautiful lawn is like a chicken-and-the-egg riddle. As tricky as it sounds, there is a solution: getting your soil and grass to a place where they both help each other. Truly Nolen’s knowledgeable technicians are experts at finding the right balance of microorganisms and nutrients.
Rich and fertile soil has lots of microorganisms living in it like
- Bacteria: lawns can have both healthy and unhealthy bacteria for them, just like humans. While many bacteria need to be present for lawn soil to be healthy, there can be some harmful bacteria that will need to be identified and eradicated.
- Fungi: typically take up the most space underground of the lawn microorganisms. Like bacteria, there can be beneficial and harmful lawn fungi. Beneficial fungi form a symbiotic relationship with plant roots. Harmful fungi can cause diseases and devastate certain plants and grasses.
- Actinomycetes: assist with the breakdown of organic matter.
- Algae: tends to be beneficial for lawns because they generate their own energy through photosynthesis.
- Protozoae: single-celled organisms that decompose organic materials and consume many bacteria.
Just like humans need to have certain good bacteria to maintain their health, so does soil. Soil microorganisms are important because they cycle nutrients into the soil. Without them, any nutrients you put on your lawn wouldn’t be digested. It would be like taking a vitamin that your body couldn’t break down.
All of these microorganisms need to eat in order to survive and continue to replenish the soil. Their preferred meal includes tasty nutrients like nitrogen phosphorus, potassium, and more. Bon appetit, tiny creatures!
Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium, Oh My!
Lawns require certain essential nutrients to help the grass grow. The following nutrients contribute to the mineral composition of your soil and are beneficial to your grass.
- Nitrogen: is responsible for the green coloration of plants, which is necessary for photosynthesis to occur. It also helps plants produce chlorophyll, a basic catalyst for photosynthesis.
- Phosphorous: aids plants in growth and development. It is one of the essential macro elements necessary for plant growth.
- Potassium: helps your grass develop improved resistance to stress and harsh environmental conditions. To improve the potassium concentration organically in your soil, you will need to implement mulching of grass clippings.
- Sulfur: improves the disease-resistance ability of your lawn grass by boosting its immune system against disease infestation. Production of amino acids, vitamins, enzymes, and other proteins are made possible by sulfur nutrients.
- Calcium: contributes to the structural development of your plant’s cell wall. It helps in developing the grasses’ support system for its vascular activities. A calcium-deficiency in the grass is characterized by weak lawn grasses looking bent or run over.
Finding (pH) Balance
Soil pH is a very important factor in lawn health – if your soil is too acidic or too alkaline, your grass won’t be able to absorb nutrients properly, and your lawn won’t grow. pH is measured on the acidity-alkalinity scale of 0-14 where 7 is neutral, 0-7 is acidic, and 7-14 is basic. The ideal soil pH for lawn grasses is 6.5 to 7.0, either neutral or slightly acidic. It’s important to take into account the other plants in your yard before attempting to adjust the pH level of your soil since some flowers and shrubs thrive in a slightly higher or lower pH soil.
You can test the pH level of your soil by using a simple and easy-to-use test kit, available at home improvement retail stores. Knowing what to do with that information can be a little trickier. There are some things you can add to your soil to change the pH level. The difficult thing is that not all ingredients require the same kind of application or the same amount of time to take effect. Truly Nolen Lawn Care services can take the guesswork out of the equation.
How to Maintain a Lawn’s Fitness
What happens if you stop exercising? You lose your fitness. The same can happen to lawns. Once a lawn achieves a balanced pH level and healthful levels of nutrients and microorganisms, it still requires care, attention, and monitoring to maintain those levels.
To maintain your lawn, you’ll need to make sure that it’s being mowed to the proper height, watered the correct amount, and that any trees are trimmed to let enough sunlight in. It is an ongoing process that requires both extensive knowledge and skill. If you’d like help achieving your optimal lawn and maintaining its health and beauty, call Truly Nolen today.