Category: fertilizer

Organic Lawn Fertilizer

Although I’m not opposed to the judicious use of chemical fertilizer, I am a much bigger proponent of organic fertilizers.  When you put organic fertilizer on your lawn you are feeding your soil not just your grass.  And soil health is crucial to any type of gardening.

Organic fertilizers use natural ingredients like compost, bone meal, feather meal, molasses, corn gluten meal, and  potash among other ingredients to create a mixture that contains a blend of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K).  Just as important as the NPK blend are the extra micronutrients and beneficial bacteria organic fertilizers impart to your soil.  Unlike chemical fertilizers that deliver the NPK on inert ingredients, organic fertilizers use beneficial material like compost for the foundation of their products.  Plus the organic materials have staying power, providing long-term benefits for your plants.  It is a win-win situation for your lawn.

Benefits of organic lawn fertilizer:

  1. Beneficial bacteria and micronutrients are added to your soil.
  2. Increased bioavailability of nutrients to your plants.
  3. Organic matter stays in the soil for a longer time than chemical ingredients.
  4. Very difficult to ‘burn’ plants when using organic fertilizer.
  5. Environmentally friendly by decreasing nitrogen and phosphorous ‘run off’.

ladybug fert

One of our most popular organic fertilizers is the Ladybug Brand 8-2-4.  It’s a great all purpose fertilizer to have on hand because it can be used on the lawn as well as in the flower bed or vegetable garden.  Gaddy’s carries it in 6# or 25# bags.

As some of you might have noticed, we’re in the middle of rearranging the store at Gaddy’s.  To make shopping the organic gardening products easier, I’ve put them all in one spot.  Come by and check out our new line of Jobe’s organic products.  Jobe’s has a fabulous line of organic soils as well as organic fertilizer spikes.

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The Brown Bag is Back

If the unseasonably warm weather has you thinking about fertilizing your yard, our spring shipment of Gaddy’s Brown Bag Fertilizer is here.  If you’re new to Pflugerville you may not have heard about our Brown Bag Fertilizer, so let me tell you a little bit about it.  Over 25 years ago, my in-laws, Frank and Lynn, were searching for a fertilizer that would work well for the alkaline clay soil in our area.  They wanted a slow-release nitrogen formula with added sulfur, iron and micronutrients.  Unfortunately the only products they found that fit the bill also had a steep price tag.  Not ones to be deterred, Frank and Lynn decided to have their own fertilizer made.  And because all the money goes into the product and not the packaging, the fertilizer comes in a plain brown bag with an analysis tag.  We, and our customers, refer to it as our Brown Bag Special.

The Brown Bag is a 2o-5-10 blend of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.  It immediately releases a 15-5-10 ratio which is recommended for lawns, then the extra 5% nitrogen is slowly released, helping your grass stay green longer.  The micronutrient package contains sulphur, iron, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc.  One bag covers 6,000-8,000 sq feet.  An average size yard is 4,500-5,000 square feet, so you may even have a bit left over for the next application.

 

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Get a free spreader rental with any purchase of fertilizer at Gaddy’s

 

If you are using a chemical fertilizer it is important to use it properly to maximize the benefit to your yard.   First thing, don’t fertilize too early.  A lawn doesn’t need to be fertilized until it is actively growing in the spring.  A good rule of thumb is to fertilizer after you have had to mow your grass at least one time.  Your grass can’t really use the fertilizer until it is awake and actively growing.  How would you like to eat a huge Thanksgiving meal at 5:30am?  Let your lawn wake up and get moving before you feed it.

Fertilize again in the summer only if your yard is green, growing, watered, and healthy.  Adding fertilizer to a lawn that is struggling due to summer heat or stress can add to the problem instead of help.  Also during summertime avoid fertilizing in the heat of the day to minimize the chance of burning your yard.  And always water the fertilizer in well after application.  If any fertilizer gets on your sidewalk or driveway, wash or sweep it up to prevent staining.

Many gardeners apply fertilizer in the fall to winterize the yard.  Time this feeding to your grass’ needs.  Wait for the weather to cool down and for your yard to recover a bit from summer heat stress.  As with the first feeding of the year, fertilize in the fall when your grass is actively growing.  Use the fall growing season to get your yard fed and healthy before it goes dormant over the winter.

There are also plenty of organic methods available at Gaddy’s to keep your yard fed and healthy.  Organics tend to be a bit more pricy, but they help keep your soil healthy as well as provide many longer lasting benefits to your yard’s ecosystem.  One of the best things you can do for your yard is to spread some organic matter, like compost, over the grass in early spring.  More on organic fertilizers in another post.

What do the numbers on fertilizer bags mean?

The three numbers on a bag of fertilizer represent the percentage of three elements commonly found in fertilizer–nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K).  Nitrogen is used for leaf growth and helps plants stay green.  Because of this many lawn fertilizers have a higher percentage of nitrogen, like in a  15-5-10 fertilizer.  Phosphorous, represented by the second number, helps plants form new roots, fruits and flowers.  Many ‘super bloom’ type fertilizers have a high phosphorous number like a 9-58-8.

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Potassium, represented as the third number on a bag of fertilizer, promotes overall plant health.  Soluble potash is a source of potassium.

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A common garden fertilizer is a 13-13-13 blend.  There are equal amounts of N, P and K in this fertilizer blend.  So what’s the difference between a 13-13-13 and a 10-10-10?  They both have equal ratios of N,P and K in them but the amounts of N, P and K compared to the inert ingredients in the bag is different.  The N-P-K numbers also represent the percentage of each ingredient by weight.  A 13-13-13 bag has 13% N, 13% P, and 13% K.  In a bag of 13-13-13, 61% of the weight would be due to the carrier ingredients, often clay.  In a bag of 10-10-10, 70% of the weight would be due to carrier ingredients.

15-5-10

Organic fertilizers will also have a N-P-K number.  The numbers are usually lower than on a bag of chemical fertilizer, but the carrier products are often times beneficial materials for your yard such as compost.  Plus many products such as the Ladybug garden fertilizer shown below, have added organic micronutrients and beneficial mycorrhizal fungi.

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