Our fertilizer program is based around the condition of the soil, which is the foundation to a healthy lawn. The program consists of a variety of applications throughout the year which includes micronutrients that are often overlooked when fertilizing a lawn. One of the first parts to our program is to first take a soil sample to test which will allow us to know if there are additional applications that need to be addressed to bring your lawns soil to the optimal condition. This includes calcium (lime) which addresses the pH level of the lawn, organic matter which helps retain water and promote healthy micro organisms to thrive, and also magnesium which is essential to the function of passing the applied fertilizer to the lawn through a chemical exchange allowing for more of the nutrients to be absorbed into the roots of the plant.
What type fertilizer do we use?
We use several different brands of fertilizer throughout the year because not one brand meets our expectations of what we need to apply to your lawn to have it healthy. Throughout the year we apply different variations of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium which is your core three nutrients that need to be applied to every lawn. Each season requires different amounts based on the growth of the lawn. For example in the early winter we apply a high level of nitrogen to keep your lawn green throughout the winter and also promote the absorption into the roots while they are still growing during the dormant part of the season. This allows your lawn to be ready for the first good weather to come out of dormancy with a lush green color and have all the nutrients ready to grow.
There are 3 sub nutrients that we apply based on your lawns soil sample; Calcium, Magnesium, and Organic Matter. Calcium (lime) is the first we focus on because the pH of the soil has a lot to do with the quality of the lawn you will have. In the Richmond Virginia area we have a very acidic soil which means that in order to get to the ideal pH level there is a lot of lime needed initially. Then it is just maintenance applications included in the fertilizer program.
The ideal pH level for lawns grown in Virginia is 6.5-7 which allows the lawn to thrive, which in turn prevents weeds from out performing the growth of the lawn.
Magnesium (some people use epsom salts) has two functions, first is to help with the pH level just like calcium. Second Magnesium helps for the lawn to absorb the other fertilizer we put down. Magnesium does not need to have a high level count in the soil, but by ensuring there is enough it will maximize the results from the other nutrients we are putting down.
Organic matter is the last micro-nutrient we look at during a soil sample. This is where the most problems are originated. Thing of organic material as a sponge that allows the fertilizer to settle in before it is absorbed and to help with retaining moisture for the lawn as it is watered. This is also where all the micro-organisms live at which helps keep the lawn actively "alive" while nature does its magic by naturally composting the clippings that are left from mowing (you are leaving the clippings right?). Here is an easy comparison of fill dirt and then organic material being added to a lawn.
On the right side you can see that there is very little growth due to the fill dirt that was left from construction. This dirt does not have any way to absorb nutrients or moisture since most of Virginia has clay based soil. This makes the fill dirt essentially a clay plate that allows the water to literally run off it before the ground has a chance to absorb it. Part of our Lawn Renovations is to apply a top dressing of compost to address this very common issue with new construction sites.
Why Choose Chesterfield Lawn Services?
Our focus is on getting you a healthy lawn. We don't just apply fertilizer and hope that your lawn grows. We start at the very foundation of a good lawn then work on building it up. There does take time in order for this to work, but in the long run you will have a healthier, more resilient lawn than just throwing fertilizer at it.