What is wrong with quick-release fertilizer?
Quick-release is also called “fast-acting” and water soluble nitrogen (WSN) fertilizer.
Quick-release fertilizer applied to established lawns is mostly lost to runoff and leaching, polluting waterways.
Using quick-release fertilizer can force too much growth too fast. This overabundance of nitrogen can stimulate rapid shoot growth while slowing down root growth. There is an increased need for more frequent mowing, which can result in less stress tolerance and slower recovery from any injury to the turf.
Too much nitrogen can also result in thinner leaf tissue, which increases moisture loss and creates a greater need for water.
Quick-release fertilizer stresses grass plants making them more susceptible to weeds and pests.
Lawns pollute when we put quick-release fertilizer on them.
Treat your lawn like the better golf courses do. They only feed grass as needed and make sure none of the fertilizer goes anywhere other than to the intended grass.
What is good about 100% slow-release fertilizer?
Slow-release fertilizer comes in a granular or pellet form. The coating takes time and moisture to break down. It is water insoluble (WIN), feeding the lawn over time only during suitable grass growing conditions.
Applied in the fall, slow-release is more efficient and economical because the turf is able to take up all the nutrients over time and none is lost to runoff.
Steady-on with 100% slow-release fertilizer. It is good because it…
Promotes a healthy root system, roots go deeper into the soil stretching for nutrients;
Allows for more uniform grass growth (unwanted thatch and possible disease problems are less likely to occur);
Promotes healthier soils (components of the fertilizer coating feed soil microbes);
Will not burn the lawn.
Anything less than 100% slow-release (for example 30% or 50%) calls for more to be spread. This pushes the limits of burning the grass, and will pollute with nutrients that are not bound up as slow-release.
Slow-release costs a bit more than quick-release. However, one half pound per thousand square feet in the fall will be much less than five applications of one pound per thousand square feet, as called for on fertilizer bags.
Slow-release saves time and money.
Slow-release builds stronger grass, capturing more carbon.
MA Department of Agricultural Resources say: To stop polluting use only 100% slow-release fertilizer on lawns in the fall.
Pledge to not use quick-release fertilizer on established lawns and to use only compost or 100% slow-release in the fall, if needed.
Pledge to help a community win The Blue Sky Over Massachusetts Challenge to Capture More Carbon with Lawns.