Glenn Hardebeck, Agronomy Department
Fertilizer misapplication can lead to more problems than the obvious growth and color differences. Excess nitrogen produces succulent tissue, increases thatch development, and reduces plant carbohydrate stores all of which lead to weaker, disease susceptible turfgrass plants.
Spreader settings on the fertilizer bag should not be relied on alone. While proper spreader calibration is preferred, at minimum, the turf area should be measured and the proper amount of fertilizer calculated for the area. Then apply half in one direction, readjust the spreader if needed and apply the other half perpendicular to the first direction.
Finally, go easy on the fertilizer this spring. Cool season grasses such as bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue perform much better with the majority of the nitrogen applied in the fall.
For more information, please refer to Purdue's Extension Publication: AY-22, Fertilizing Established Lawns.
Click on the small image to view a larger image. (Photo by Zac Reicher)
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Last updated: 9 April 2002/tlm.
The Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University.