What Does Nitrogen Do For Your Lawn

By Allyn Paul, filed under Lawn Tips.

If you want your lawn to be green, then you need to give it nitrogen. In fact, nitrogen is the primary element found in most lawn fertilizers. Keep in mind that lawn fertilizer is NOT lawn food. Grass and other plants make their own food (in the form of sugars) through the process of photosynthesis.

Lawn nutrients like potassium, phosphorus and, yes, nitrogen, support the process of photosynthesis.

In short, nitrogen is what makes your grass green, and the greener the grass, the more photosynthesis can occur and the thicker the lawn gets. But be careful!

Too much nitrogen can create big problems for your lawn.

First off, too much nitrogen causes the lawn to overgrow, meaning you may have to cut it two or three times per week. If you don’t, then the turf gets too long and when you do cut, you stress it out. That’s not good.

In addition, with too much nitrogen and too much top growth, the lawn’s root system cannot support the vigor of the plants. If the roots cannot support the top, they get stressed and thin out even more. It’s like a child who eats too much candy and then crashes out to sleep after a couple hours of frenzied energy.

How much nitrogen?

As a basic rule, I recommend 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn in the spring, and another pound in the fall. During the summer you can apply very slow release organics to your grass just to give it a nice, long feeding. Simple!


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