The benefits of liquid fertiliser for lawns
Author: Stefan Palm Date Posted: 24 October 2023
You may not have considered liquid fertiliser when it comes to fertilising your lawn, however, you may be surprised to know that there are quite a few advantages that stack up to make a compelling case for giving it a try!
Maintaining a lush, vibrant lawn is the dream of every homeowner. To achieve this, it’s essential to provide your lawn with the nutrients it needs to thrive. For most people, solid fertilisers have always been the go-to for lawns, and it makes sense – it’s easy to apply, you only have to apply three times per year, and you get the green results you’re looking for.
There will always be a place for solid fertilisers; however, as with most things, there is a “next level” when it comes to fertilising your lawn, and it comes in the form of liquids. Liquid fertilising is gaining popularity as an efficient and effective alternative. In this blog, we will explore the benefits of liquid fertilising for your lawn and why you might consider making the switch.
Before I get onto liquid fertilisers, let me summarise the granular type. These are the types of fertilisers you buy in bags and spread with a spreader or by hand. They are solid in nature and must be watered in immediately after application to prevent them from burning your lawn. In watering them in, you also carry out the essential function of transporting the nutrient down to the root zone, where it is taken up by the lawn. Solid fertilisers typically have a high amount of nutrients and, in most instances, have a balanced ratio of essential elements like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous. Some have extra goodies like iron and trace elements. They can have a combination of slow-release and fast-release components but typically release a significant amount of nutrients quickly on application, which is why you’ll see your lawn turn green and grow faster within a week of application.
Three to four weeks after application, the greening effect may start to fade, and the initial growth surge will also begin to tail off. This will be a gradual effect as the nutrient in the soil becomes depleted, either by being used by the lawn or by being leached out by water. It will be time to fertilise again at about the 10-12 week mark.
As the name suggests, these fertilisers are sprayed onto your lawn. You buy them as a concentrate, mix them with water and apply them using a pressure sprayer, watering can or hose on applicator. Liquid fertilisers are not watered in like solid fertilisers as they are absorbed through the blades of the lawn rather than through the root zone. This method of fertilising is fast-acting and almost immediately available to the lawn. Like solid fertilisers, their liquid counterparts generally have a range of nutrients in them, but they are also available in individual elements and trace elements, making this type of fertilising extremely versatile and customisable. The general concept with liquid fertilising is that you apply low amounts of nutrients, often with a typical application rate being once every two to three weeks. Liquid fertilising is about maintaining a close to constant level of nutrition in your lawn without the highs and lows of a solid fertiliser regime.
The following chart illustrates how these two forms of fertiliser act on your lawn. The yellow line represents solid fertilising, with the red dots on the line representing an application of fertiliser. You can see that when the fertiliser is applied, nutrient levels in the lawn rise dramatically, resulting in a dark green colour and fast growth. The nutrient levels slowly fade over time, resulting in the lawn gradually losing its colour. When they become too low, another dose is required, which repeats the same cycle. The blue line represents liquid fertilising, again with the red dots representing fertiliser applications. You can see that the level of nutrients doesn’t rise as much as it does with solid fertilising; however, you don’t get the extreme highs and lows of nutrient availability as you do with solid fertilising either. One of the most significant advantages is that the nutrient levels stay fairly constant, which is good for the lawn. Stable nutrient availability in the lawn means it stays at a consistent level of green. You also won’t get the growth surges you do when applying solid fertilisers.
It is worth mentioning again here that a two to three week application schedule (during the warm seasons) is essential in making a liquid fertiliser program work for your lawn.
The benefits of liquids:
Quick Absorption and Faster Results
One of the most significant advantages of liquid fertilisers is their rapid absorption by the grass. When you spray a liquid fertiliser on your lawn, it is immediately absorbed through the blades and roots, making the nutrients readily available to the plants. This fast absorption translates into quicker results, with your lawn showing signs of improvement in a matter of days, as opposed to solid fertilisers, which can take much longer to break down and be absorbed.
Reduced Risk of Burn
Solid fertilisers can sometimes cause fertiliser burn if not applied correctly. This burn occurs when the concentrated nutrients in granules come into direct contact with the grass blades, causing damage. Liquid fertilisers, on the other hand, are less likely to cause burn because they are diluted in water before application.
Improved Nutrient Efficiency
Liquid fertilisers are often formulated to be more readily absorbed by plants, making them more efficient in terms of nutrient uptake. This efficiency means that your lawn gets more of the essential nutrients it needs, which can lead to healthier and greener grass. Additionally, liquid fertilisers are typically more environmentally friendly, as they tend to release fewer excess nutrients into the soil, reducing the risk of nutrient runoff into waterways.
Applying liquid fertiliser is less physically demanding than spreading granular fertilisers. Liquid fertilisers can be sprayed onto your lawn using a hose-end sprayer or a pressure sprayer, saving you time and energy compared to the manual process of spreading granules evenly across your lawn. You also don’t have the added burden of having to water the fertiliser in after application.
To sum it up, both liquid and solid fertilisers are good in their own rights, and each has a place in lawn maintenance. Given the high frequency of application, liquids aren’t for everyone; however, they will deliver genuine results for your effort.
At the end of the day, whether you use liquids, solids or a combination of both, maintaining good lawn nutrition is an important step in keeping your lawn healthy, more disease and pest-resistant and for keeping it looking good year-round.
In my blog next week, I'll let you know about some great new liquid fertilisers that have been recently released. I'll also talk more about how to apply them.