Lawn Tip – Fertilizers
If you live in South Florida begin fertilizing your lawn in February. Do not use a weed and feed preparation. Choose a fertilizer without phosphorous or very little phosphorous unless you do a soil test and it indicates your lawn needs additional phosphorous. Use a controlled -release nitrogen fertilizer for longer lasting results and remember that fertilizer must be spread evenly and uniformly over the lawn to be effective.
Finding the right fertilizer can be a difficult task. Here is a break-down of the information you can find on a fertilizer label to help you make the right choice. If in doubt, contact your lawn care provider for recommendations.
The fertilizer label includes the following information:
- A Florida license number. The fertilizer license number is clearly identified on all fertilizer labels with a capital “F” directly before the license number.
- A licensee uses a”brand name” to identify the product. “Brand” designates a term, design, or trademark used in conjunction with different grades of fertilizer. The label includes a grade near the brand name.
- ”Net weight” is the actual weight of the package contents.
- The “name and street address” of the fertilizer manufacturer.
- If the term “organic” is used in the label of a fertilizer, the water insoluble nitrogen must not be less than 60% of the total guaranteed nitrogen.
- The “guaranteed analysis” section of the label is divided into the percentage of total nitrogen, (the sum of all forms of nitrogen present in the mixture), available phosphate, soluble potassium, and each secondary plant nutrient present in the mixture. Chloride is included for agricultural fertilizer but it is exempt for labeling of specialty fertilizers 49 pounds and less in weight. These specialty are most commonly used for residential lawns.
- In the “derived from” section you find a listing of the actual source materials of the primary and secondary plant nutrients guarantees.