Tag Archives: lawn care

Grass Nutrients: Stuff a healthy lawn needs

Nutrients for a healthy lawn
Nutrients for a healthy lawn

Nearly all lawn fertilizers contain large amounts of nitrogen and small amounts of phosphorus, potassium and other elements. This is because nitrogen is the element missing from most soils and its the stuff that grass uses the most.

While nitrogen may be the top nutrient, its not the only one required. Actually there are 17 nutrients that are essential to lawns. All 17 are equally important and must be present for a lawn to survive. They vary only in how much the grass uses. Macro-nutrients, such as carbon, hydrogen, magnesium, and calcium, are picked up by the plants in the largest quantities. Micro-nutrients, such as nickel, manganese, molybdenum, chlorine, boron, copper, zinc, and iron, are used in small amounts. Most come from the soil, but some are obtained from the atmosphere.

Because yellowing and poor color are common symptoms among most nutrient deficiencies, its difficult to identify which element is missing from the lawn.

The Big Three


A key component of many chemicals within a plant, nitrogen takes part in nearly every plant function. It is critical to chlorophyll, the chemical that gives plants their green color and allows them to manufacture their own food. When nitrogen is low, lawns turn pale to yellow and grow slowly.


Most soils contain plenty of phosphorus, which is a mineral. However, it may not be readily available to plants. The main role of phosphorus is in shoot and root growth. Deficiencies are rare. If grasses do need phosphorus, they first turn unusually dark green, then purple, and they may be susceptible to disease.

The main time you might see problems is when starting a lawn. Phosphorus is immobile in soil and a small developing root system may be unable to tap the supply. Once the roots grow, they are better able to obtain phosphorus.


Potassium is in involved in overall plant health, resistance to stresses such as excessively high and low temps, disease resistance, wear tolerance, and cold hardiness. No easily recognized color changes occur, so it’s hard to identify a deficiency.

Other Important Nutrients


Iron is the most likely micro-nutrient to be deficient, particularly in high pH soils. It is involved in chlorophyll production, so a deficiency turns the grass yellow. Many high quality lawn fertilizers contain iron.

Calcium and magnesium

Because of its involvement in cell wall development, cell division, and growth of young shoots and roots, calcium is important to plant vigor. The main symptom is slow growth.

Magnesium is a constituent of chlorophyll, so the primary symptom of a deficiency is yellowing. Lime, used to raise soil pH, supplies both calcium and magnesium.

If you need grass cutting, we can help.

Lawn Care Basics: How grass grows

How grass grows
How grass grows

The way grass grows is what allows it to form a lawn. It’s how it is able to withstand abuse.

Lawn Grasses

Most plants can’t survive mowing. This is because their growth points are on the ends of stems at the top of the plant. Grasses, however, grow from the base of their leaves, close to the ground. Below the mower’s reach. Of the more than 10,000 species of grass, only about 50 can be grown as a lawn.

Food Sources

Grasses get their green color from chlorophyll, a key component in photosynthesis. Through photosynthesis, plants take carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the plants food, which fuels shoot and root growth.

Any excess carbohydrates are stored within the plant as food reserves. Stored carbohydrates allow grass to form a dense turf in the spring.

Mowing removes the leaf tissue the grass uses for photosynthesis. Lawn grasses compensate for the loss by becoming a denser turf, i.e. growing a larger number of leaves. The plants must use carbohydrates to constantly replace the leaves at the cost of root growth and storage. The shorter you mow the grass, the greater the effect.

Fertilizing helps to compensate for mowing. By fertilizing, you ensure the grass leaves are loaded with chlorophyll so that they continue photosynthesizing at a normal rate.

Keys to Success

Grow a grass right for your climate. Feed it at least 3 times a year during the appropriate seasons. Mow often and high. Give the lawn long drinks of water.

If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, give us a call and we’d be happy to help with your lawn mowing service needs.

Lawn Bare Spots: A simple guide to repair

Repair Lawn Bare Spots
Repair Lawn Bare Spots

Lawn bare spots in your yard can be annoying and unsightly, they also can be pesky and stubborn to fix.

Here are some simple steps that will work every time.

1. Loosen the soil with a garden weasel or rock rake.
2. Use sun or shade friendly grass seed depending on conditions.
3. Put a little planting soil or top soil on top.
4. Lightly water the spot once a day just to keep the area damp.
5. For an added bonus, put a little fertilizer down in the repaired spots as well. Use what’s called a “starter” fertilizer. This fertilizer will contain more potassium which is important for sprouting grass.

Grass loves lose, damp soil. As long as you apply the seed to those areas, you’ll have a fuller looking lawn. Just remember to keep the soil moist until the grass has really taken hold and is starting to grow. Don’t let your lawn’s bare spots dry out on hot days.

We recommended Alexander’s Lawn and Garden in Newark, DE for picking up you grass seeds, fertilizer, and other lawn care propducts. The staff really knows their stuff and the prices are much better than the big box home stores.

If you’re not the do-it-yourself type, give us a call and we’d be happy to help with your yard cutting service needs.

Stewart Bros. Turf, LLC
Servicing Wimington, Brandywine, Pike Creek, Newark, Hockessin, Delaware