Fertilizer Burn

What is a Fertilizer Burn And How to Avoid It?

If you like gardening and take an avid interest in it, then you do not need to be told about the importance of fertilizers. But do you know about the concept of fertilizer burn? This is equally important to know. Continue reading for more details.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Apr 22, 2018
Every gardener, or even someone who is interested in gardening, knows for a fact that for the health of the plants, crops, and lawns, fertilizers are as important as water is for them. Fertilizers provide them with the necessary supplements that are important for their healthy growth and survival. They also protect them from other factors like weed control and diseases that might cut into their nutritional value. So it's agreed that fertilizers are good for lawn care, as well as for crops and plants. But too much of something can never be good news, and the same rule applies in gardening as well. The result of overfeeding your lawn with fertilizers is that it can cause your lawn to have a fertilizer burn―when the lawn turns white, brown or yellow, or if there are stripes formed on the lawn, then it is known as a fertilizer burn.

To explain in greater detail, when your lawn gets dehydrated it causes for a burn. The fertilizer that is added, contains huge amounts of salt. And therefore when you add a lot of chemicals, it leads to a salt buildup. This salt buildup will in turn curb the lawn from absorbing any water, and result in the grass dying.

The following are certain steps by which one can avoid fertilizer burns in their garden.

The Right Fertilizer
It is extremely important to choose the right fertilizer. Never settle for a cheap fertilizer, as this may have fillers in it, which are detrimental to the soil and the lawn. Always buy good quality fertilizers. So also, it is important to know what kind of a fertilizer your lawn requires. If there is high amounts of a particular nutrient in your soil, then adding that is not necessary. Similarly, you may have to add a combination of perhaps, 2-3 nutrients that are necessary, instead of a complete mix of fertilizer. In fact, adding a mix which has all the nutrients may be more detrimental to the lawn. Make sure that the fertilizer has a combination of slow-release and fast release nitrogen in it.

Time is the Essence
Knowing when to add the fertilizer is key in avoiding a fertilizer burn. Always fertilize your lawn in the spring and fall seasons for maximum effect. Some people end up fertilizing their lawns in the middle of the summer, which is an absolute no-no. Dehydration in the summer is a possibility to begin with, add to that excess fertilizing and you'll have for yourself a really bad fertilizer burn.

Study Soil Quality
Make sure that you study the quality of the soil regularly. You can do this by using various soil-testing methods to know your garden's soil pH levels. This is important because it will help to determine what the soil deficiencies are. It will also help one to understand the kind of nutrients that need to be added along with the fertilizers. Sometimes, the excess usage of fertilizers and the deficiency of some other nutrients will lead to a severe burn. Having a soil quality check will help avoid the same.

Method of Application
Always apply solid fertilizer with a lawn fertilizer spreader and a liquid lawn fertilizer with the help of a hose. Make sure that you are careful in applying these. It should lead to the right amount of application of solid granules and the correct flow of liquid fertilizer.

Points to Remember
  1. Cover yourself well before applying the fertilizer.
  2. Never cross the limit of fertilizer that is written on the packet. In fact, apply only half of what is recommended.
  3. The lawn should be dry when you spread the fertilizer.
  4. Apply the fertilizer in the way that has been instructed on the packet.
  5. Always water the lawn within a day of applying the fertilizer to avoid the burn.
  6. In case of excess dumping of fertilizer, try and vacuum the lawn or dilute it by watering it.
Following these steps will help prevent a fertilizer burn and ensure a healthy garden all year round.