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Time to feed your lawn!

Between now and the end of October is the best time to feed your lawn – which needs a yearly application of Nitrogen or it’ll keep getting thinner and weedier.  (Why? Because turfgrasses are not sustainable plants, y’all!  They’re one of the very few garden plants that really, really needs to be fed.)  Typical cool-season grasses in our area need 2 pounds of added Nitrogen each year per 1,000 square feet, some of which you can give your lawn by leaving grass clippings on the lawn (about a half-pound of Nitrogen per year), but that’s not nearly enough.

It’s best to apply lawn fertilizer in two applications – one in September and one in October – which is exactly what’s recommended by Maryland’s Dept of Agriculture, the agency charged with protecting the Chesapeake Bay and our rivers from pollution by fertilizer.

If your lawn really needs rejuvenating, then rent a core aerator and use it first, before applying the fertilizer

I asked the experts in Behnkes’ Garden Pharmacy Department to name their personal favorites among all the lawn fertilizers on offer, and here they are:

  • For the budget-conscious, they recommend the Turf Trust slow-release synthetic fertilizer – because it’s local, so the product and their recommendations for application are geared to the weird Mid-Atlantic region.  (Our region is called the transition zone, where neither cool-season nor warm-season grasses are ideal.  Continent-wide generalizations don’t work here)  And because it’s formulated to be released slowly, it won’t run off into our waterways the next time there’s a heavy rain.  They also like the added micronutrients provided by Turf Trust, compared to other brands.
  • Among the all-organic fertilizers, the favorite is Espoma Organic Lawn Food, which is a poultry-based product.  (Espoma’s also a Mid-Atlantic company)

turf-trust-pf  espoma organic lawn fall


Posted by Susan Harris.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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