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How to Apply Fertilizer to Lawns
Lawns are living things. Like other plants in your garden they do best with some food to keep them healthy. Mowing removes nitrogen, which can result in a yellow-looking, lifeless lawn. You can get both organic and inorganic lawn fertilizers and these are usually applied in spring and autumn. You will also find "weed and feed" products, which will help to control lawn weed problems at the same time as feeding the grass. These are best applied in spring. Its important to apply lawn fertilizers evenly to avoid damaging, or even killing, areas of grass, or creating variations in growth patterns. This workshop shows you the basics using a mechanical spreader if you have a large area or doing it manually. For further tips see Workshops: How to do Autumn Maintenance of a Lawn and How to do Spring Maintenance of a Lawn.
you will need
Fertilizer; gloves, a bucket (if fertilizing manually); 2 small plant pots, one inside the other so that the holes are closed (if fertilizing manually); 1 m canes (for fertilizing large lawns manually); a spreader (can be hired from tool hire shops - essential for larger lawns, more accurate than manual application). Optional: dust mask; tape to measure (for larger areas); scales to measure (for larger areas if no measure included with fertilizer).
If using a spreader, measure your lawn and work out the application rate of the fertilizer you have chosen. Measure out half this amount -it's easier to spread in two batches, in two different directions to ensure even coverage. Put the first half in the spreader, making sure that the spreading holes are closed. If doing it manually, divide up your lawn into square metres using the canes. Work out the application rate of the fertilizer you have chosen, measure out and put into a bucket. Measure into the plant pots the correct amount for 1 square metre. Mark with a felt tip pen where this level is on the inside pot.
If you're using a spreader, apply the first half of fertilizer to your lawn working up and down in strips, as you do when mowing. Close off the supply hole as you turn at the end of each row. Each strip should join but not overlap the last. You may want to set out canes on the ground as a guide, or use a garden line - both can be moved as you proceed. If you're doing it manually, fill the double pots with the right amount of fertilizer for a square metre. Slide the two pots slightly so that the holes open a fraction. Shake evenly over the first square metre. Remove cross canes so that you can see your progress. Continue in the same way until you have covered the whole lawn.
If you're using a spreader you'll need to fill the spreader with the second half of the fertilizer. Apply this working across the lawn at right angles to the first application strips. Each strip should join the last but not overlap. Close off the supply hole when you turn at the end of each row. Continue until you have finished the lawn.
Use canes to mark out your lawn into square metres
Apply the recommended amount of fertiliser to each square
Spreaders distributer a regulated amount of fertilizer

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Other Maintenance and Tools Articles
   Applying Fertilizer to Lawns        Applying Fertilizer to Plants
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   Choosing a mower        Choosing your first tools
   Choosing/Applying Weedkiller        Collecting/storing rainwater
   Control Greenhouse pests        Coping With Problem Soils
   Dead-heading        Dealing with Tough Weeds
   Enjoying Your Greenhouse        Greenhouse equipment
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   Making Leaf Mould        Making Potting Compost
   Making Your Garden Secure        Mulching for borders/beds
   Preparing a Border for Spring        Preparing a Border for Winter
   Renovating an old lawn        Smartening Up a Fence
   Spring lawn maintenance        Testing soil pH/acidity
   Winter care for border plants        Winter care for shrubs/climbers