Fertilizing

Most states have two categories for fertilizing and pesticide application licensing in regards to landscape applications. One is for turf or lawn applications the other is for ornamental applications (flower beds and landscape areas other than a lawn).

In relation to the landscape a pest is considered to be any undesireable plant, disease, insect, animal or other condition. Anything used to control a pest is subject to licensing.
Some states have considerable fines in place for each offence of those not properly licensed.
Most states have a pesticide training office and usually a separate pesticide regulatory office too. Proper education, training and testing is required to obtain licensing.
There may be a few things to consider before choosing the right fertilizing service.
Fertilizers can be applied in liquid or granular applications. There are pros and cons to both methods. For example if the climate is currently hot and dry (no sprinkler system or substantial amount of rain) then a liquid application would be most effective.
If there is sufficient rainfall or a sprinkler system currently in operation then a granular application may be preffered.
The drawbacks are if you apply a liquid fertilizer and it rains too soon afterward then all the benefits could be washed away with the rainwaters.
The opposite can be true for granular fertilizer if it is applied and then there is insufficient rainfall or no sprinkler system water to dissolve the pellets into the soil after it is applied, then any benefits will also be lost until water is also introduced by some means.
Liquid fertilizer is sprayed directly onto the blades of grass and top of the soil so food is supplied to the lawn immediately upon contact. This will usually bring quick results and can cause the grass to grow more rapidly
usually in the first week or two after an application and many times you may notice that the results fade quickly after that.
Granular fertilizer on the other hand can ( if water conditions are ideal ) distribute the food over a longer period
of time making the effects last a bit longer and go a bit further.
Heavy rains in either case are usually detrimental when they occur too soon after an application and may quickly wash away most of the benefits regardless of which method you use.
Spring treatments may include a pre – emergent application which was developed to kill weed seeds that are present in the lawn before they have a chance to germinate and grow. One draw back to this is that it will also kill grass seed too and may continue to do so for a period of 4 to 6 weeks afterwards.
So if you intend to do any re-seeding work on the lawn during this time period you may want to bring this to the attention of your applicator as soon as possible and skip the pre – emergent altogether  or better yet ask them to substitute a good slower and milder starter fertilizer instead to better assist your new grass seed to thrive.
When you sign up for a fertilizing program, most companies will usually include the following applications:
March / April – Pre- Emergent
April / May – Regular Fertilizer
May / June – Weed & Feed
June  / July – Insect Control
July / August – Regular Fertilizer
August / September – Regular Fertilizer
September / October –  Regular Fertilizer
October / November –  Lime Application
Many fertilizing companies also offer Aeration Service. Aeration is usually done in the fall by use of a machine that pulls plugs out of the lawn. This loosens hard compacted areas a bit and allows air, water and nutrients to get to the roots of the lawn better and promotes a healthier fuller lawn. The plugs that are automatically discharged from the tines of the machine are deposited on top of the soil. This in turn also provides some loose soil to make for a more favorable environment for new grass seed to grow. So this is also a good time to throw down some grass seed afterwards.
While fertilizing a lawn 2, 3 or even 4 times a year is better than none, a regular fertilizing program will take care of more aspects and provide the most benefits.
Many landscapers that regularly cut grass also do fertilizing applications but some do not. You may want to consider that if the same guy who mows your lawn also applies your fertilizer, then he will be there just about every week and will be more familiar with your lawns good and healthy areas and also the not so good areas too. This will give him a good idea as to better determine what it is in the way of fertilizer treatments that your lawn really needs.
Being a landscaper myself along with my experience in doing both grass cutting and fertilizing has given me another perspective on things. I noticed that all to often many fertilizing companies hire new or less experienced people who many times tend to over fertilize a lawn especially when spraying liquid fertilizers.
Over fertilizing can actually do more harm than good and burn out the lawn. If fertilizer is concentrated too much in one specific area it will literally just kill the grass there. I have seen people spill fertilizer in one spot and kill the grass there and nothing would grow in the area for years afterwards. I have had to actually dig down deep and remove the saturated soil completely from an area and replace it with new soil in order to re-establish the growth of grass there again.
As both the grass cutter and the fertilizer applicator, I have learned to better choose the right formulation of fertilizer as needed so as to properly feed the lawn but also to not make it grow at a ridiculously fast and overwhelming rate. Grass that is over fertilized will take longer to cut, you will have more debris to dispose of and be more difficult and messy to maintain. When you are in business the last thing you want to do is create more work for yourself especially if you are charging a set price.
I learned that due to the greater amount of rainfall in the spring it is better to apply a slower growing formulation of fertilizer to avoid making the grass grow excessively.
I also would avoid using the pre-emergentweed & feed and insect control formulas on lawns that really don’t need it. Why use a bunch of unnecessary chemicals on a lawn when you really don’t need too.
So the choices are up to you. You may wish to have the same company that cuts your grass to also apply the fertilizer if that option is available. You may wish to use a granular application as opposed to a liquid one, and again it is your choice.
You may find landscapers and fertilizing companies both here on our site.
Thank you,
                Tom