How To Apply Granular Lawn Fertilisers

Written by Ian Thompson

Ian holds a Masters in Turf Management from Sydney University, has over 20 years experience working as a golf course Superintendent, turf manager, product formulation and development. We call him our resident Lawn genius.

Fertiliser is a given for most lawns. After all, we need to repair it from those family cricket games and keep up with the Jones’s when it comes to that beautiful colour that turns your neighbours green with envy.

While lawns can draw nutrients from the soil, it’s important to replenish the soil before it runs out. For that, we need to include some quality lawn fertiliser to maintain a high-quality lawn.

A granular lawn fertiliser is a really simple option. It’s as easy as spread-and-water but in this article we’re covering some of the frequently asked questions we get.

Getting started

Selecting the right lawn fertiliser

Well it all starts by getting the right product for your lawn. At The Lawn Shed, we have kept it pretty simple. 3 distinct products for 3 distinct lawn uses:

LawnPlay Underlay– Perfect for the start of your lawn journey. This uniquely designed starter fertiliser is perfect for establishing new lawns

LawnPlay All Rounder– The All-Rounder, ongoing maintenance lawn fertiliser. With slow-release technology and added microbes, this product has a lot to be excited about.

LawnPlay Renovate– A lot of lawns get to a point where they need restoring (we’re not judging), so we created a product to help restore the lawn and, more importantly, the soil.

Measuring your lawn

Measuring your lawn to ensure the right amount of lawn fertiliser is applied is a critical step. 

If you apply too little then you’ll need to order more, apply again and it feels a little hollow with the ordinary results and all the time you’ve wasted. Alternatively, not measuring and over applying can be just as bad. Over application can result in excessive growing (and the need for mowing) and the worst result – over-application of lawn fertilisers can actually result in burning.  

We do love a “Genius Tip” at The Lawn Shed and our one for this is not to run out with your tape measure and try to do the math for your area. Google Earth is a great tool for measuring your lawn and garden areas (you will need Google Chrome or to download the app).

Simply zoom into your lawn, click on the ruler tool on the left and then click little dots around the edge of your lawn. Once you’ve gone all the way around double click the original dot and you’ve got your lawn size.   

Choosing an application rate

Now when you get a bag of lawn fertiliser, it will come with a usage rate on the back of the pack. This is usually a range e.g. 1-2.5kg/100m2. So where do we go, the 1kg rate? The 2.5kg rate or somewhere in between? The answer is wherever you feel comfortable. We usually recommend you try the lower rate first and see if it achieves the results you are after, you can always apply more lawn fertiliser but once it’s out it’s out.

Calculating your product

It’s not as scary as it sounds, there’s no calculus involved in this one and nothing about pies…

Simply take your lawn size, divide it by 100, then multiply it by your usage rate.

E.g. Lawn Size- 80m2

Lawn Fertiliser rate- 2kg/100m2

80/100= 0.8

0.8 * 2 = 1.6kg to be applied over the whole lawn

Before applying

One last thing before you get spreading. Make sure the lawn is dry. It’s best to apply granular lawn fertilisers to a dry lawn, simply because they start to break down the moment they come into contact with water. So, if you’re applying while the dew is present, the lawn fertiliser will start to break down. This can result in the burning of the leaf before you get the chance to water it in. There are no problems with applying after mowing so it’s a good idea to use this process to help dry out the lawn by removing the dew. 

Applying the product

Why a spreader is a good idea

Applying lawn fertiliser can be done by hand. As we all know though, just because you ‘can’ do something doesn’t mean you ‘should’. In good conscious we can’t recommend you put it out by hand, it’s just too hard to apply evenly.

Always do the odd-shaped areas and perimeter first. So it’s a bit like “cutting in” when painting, then you can start with some longer runs and fill in the areas not done. Lawn fertilisers have more readily available fertiliser than your normal garden fertiliser so it’s important to avoid applying your granular lawn fertiliser to the garden bed. Once completed, check for any lawn fertiliser on paths and blow off before watering in.

While applying it may be tempting to add more fertiliser to weaker areas. This can be done if you are using the lower rate (remember that range we talked about). However, if you are at the higher end then it is better to leave it and apply to these areas with a higher frequency as opposed to once at a really high rate.

Watering in

How long does it take to water in lawn fertilisers? It’s one of our frequently asked questions that’s for sure. Well, it’s complicated but doesn’t need to be. Until the prill (that’s just a term for the granule) has disappeared or the prill has moved down past the leaf into the soil.

How long will this take, well that’s a bit of fun maths involving the area covered and the sprinkler output. Unfortunately, this varies from suburb to suburb, sprinkler to sprinkler. 

Another one of our “Genius Tips” for you. When using a granule lawn fertiliser the nutritional components are drawn up through the roots of the lawn, these are taken up in the water. So, not just adequate watering in, but even distribution of water in the soil, is the key element of even fertiliser success. We recommend when fertilising to have either use a fertiliser like LawnPlay Renovate, which has a wetting agent included, or apply a wetting agent like LawnPlay Aquaturf over the top of the lawn fertiliser before watering in. 

Hopefully, that gives you the confidence to get out and give your soil the feed it needs to support your lawn. If you have further questions, or are confused about anything written here, don’t hesitate to contact The Lawn Genius today.

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