55 March 29, 2008

Let’s take some time to talk about the 4 Step. No, not the 4 step dance, the 4 step lawn fertilizer program.

At this time of the year, you will see many ads for a 4-step lawn-fertilizing program. You will purchase 4 bags of fertilizer that are applied at specific times during the lawns growing season. This sounds like the best way for many people to give their lawn the 4 applications of fertilizer that should lead to a better lawn. However, the 4 steps that you buy may not be the 4 steps that your lawn needs for optimum growth. Let me tell you why the regular 4-step program may be costing you extra money.


When you buy a 4 – step package of fertilizers, the first step is a combination of lawn fertilizer with a crabgrass control added to the fertilizer. The fertilizer feeds your lawn and the crabgrass control prevents any crabgrass seed from growing in your lawn. What if you didn’t have any crabgrass growing in your lawn last summer? If you didn’t, then you don’t need to apply a fertilizer and crabgrass control. What your lawn would need is just an application of lawn fertilizer.

The second step is lawn fertilizer and a broadleaf weed control. The fertilizer feeds the lawn and the weed killer kills and dandelions and other broadleaf weeds that are growing in your lawn. What if your lawn doesn’t have broadleaf weeds growing in the lawn? If that were the case, then your lawn would just need an application of fertilizer. Take a minute to think about these first two steps. If you needed to apply just the fertilizer, you would save a lot of money by not applying the added 2 applications of weed control. As an added bonus, you would be helping out our environment by not adding un-necessary weed killer to our soils. If your lawn needs these control methods, then you can use them. Once crabgrass and broadleaf weeds are under control, then you should not need to be applying these controls year after year.

The third step is usually a fertilizer plus an insect control. This would feed your lawn and control any insects that are damaging your lawn. But what if there are no insects damaging your lawn at the time you need to apply your third step of fertilizer? You may need to apply just the fertilizer to help your lawn through the summer. Again, why apply an insecticide if it is not needed on your lawn. By applying just the fertilizer, you are saving money and not adding un-necessary insect killer to our environment.

The 4th application is a fall or winter type of fertilizer. This fertilizer helps to develop a stronger root system in your lawn. This is definitely a fertilizer that can benefit any lawn.

Let’s take a few minutes to review what I have said. Your lawn needs 4 applications of fertilizer to grow at its best. But you may not need the 4 steps that are being sold at this time of the year. What your lawn may need is 4 applications of just lawn fertilizer. Think of the money you can save by just buying lawn fertilizer. The added bonus is that you won’t be applying un-necessary pesticides to your lawn and to everyone’s environment. If your lawn needs these pesticides to control weeds and insects, than you should use them. But you don’t have to use these control measures year after year if there are no weeds or insects to control. There is so much concern over going green to save our world. Maybe you can do something by taking the time to find out what your lawn needs and then applying the necessary lawn care products to help your lawn grow at it’s best.

In some cases, there are also organic control methods to control weeds and insects in your lawn. I’ll tell you about those in my next column.


Speaking of my next column, you may be hearing some heavy moving equipment in the background. The sound you hear is the column moving to Wednesdays and being located in the Home section of the Daily News. Look for my next column on Wednesday, April 9th.

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