Harmful algae blooms in coastal areas of the United States are estimated to have a yearly negative economic cost of at least $82 million, mostly because of their effects on public health and commercial fisheries, according to a 2006 report by the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.
In many Ohio waterways, agricultural fertilizers and animal manure are the biggest sources of dissolved phosphorus, said Jeff Reutter, the Ohio State University professor who directs the Ohio Sea Grant College program and OSU’s Stone Laboratory. Both study water quality in the Great Lakes.
The phosphorus-free Turf Builder already is on the shelves of many retailers, including Home Depot, said Scotts spokesman Lance Latham.
Scotts researchers learned that there is enough phosphorus in most soils to grow healthy turf, especially when grass clippings are left on lawns, said Bruce Caldwell, who leads global research and development at the Marysville company.
“We’re assuming this is going to take care of 95 percent of the lawn-care industry,” Reutter said. “It is very significant that Scotts has taken this action,” he said. “In some bodies of water, lawn-care runoff can be a very significant source of phosphorus. That is not the case in Lake Erie, but this shows farmers that they are not being singled out for action. This is a way for all of us to do our part.”
Scotts Turf Builder 32-0-4 contains 32 percent total nitrogen with 4.9 percent being ammoniacal nitrogen, 14.1 percent urea nitrogen, 11 percent other water-soluble nitrogen and 1.0 percent water-insoluble nitrogen. This product also contains 4 percent soluble potash, 7 percent sulfur and 2 percent iron. Nine percent of the product’s contents contains slow-release nitrogen from methylendiurea, dimethylenetriurea and water-insoluble nitrogen.
According to the Scotts Turf Builder Material Safety Data Sheet, the ingredients include urea, ammonium sulphate, potassium sulphate, sulfur and iron sucrate. These ingredients are in a slightly soluble, granular form and weight 40 to 55 pounds per cubic foot. The MSDS also states that the product is inherently biodegradable but can still contaminate your water supply in high enough volumes.
With thousands of lawn and garden supplements on the market, it often gets a little confusing as to which product to buy. While Scotts brand soil supplements often include nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), the amounts can vary, so check the packaging N-P-K statement. Your choice of supplement depends on the type of grass, length of growing season and level of maintenance required. There are also additional ingredients that you should be aware of.
Scotts Turf Builder products list the N-P-K ratios on the front of the package; a soil test will give you the correct ratio for your lawn. If you have kids or pets, look for the red and yellow banner that states “Kid & Pet Friendly!”; this statement is not found on all turf builder products and is only applicable when used as directed. Scotts Turf Builder also lists lawn care tips, the recommended feeding routine, first aid and storage information, cautions, warnings and the product’s guaranteed analysis. This information is not found on all turf builder products.
The guaranteed analysis panel of Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Food lists the N-P-K statement. All-purpose Scotts Turf Builder has an N-P-K analysis of 32-0-4. This analysis can vary among products as each one often targets specific problems such as poor soil. You may also see additional ingredients in other Scotts Turf Builder products that include herbicides for weed management and insecticides for insect control.
Based in Atlanta, Valerie Liles has been writing about landscape and garden design since 1980. As a registered respiratory therapist, she also has experience in family health, nutrition and pediatric and adult asthma managment. Liles holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Colorado State University and a Master of Science in technical communication from the University of Colorado.
Weed preventers, or preemergent weed killers, block weed seeds that are already in the soil, like crabgrass, poa annua, chickweed, and henbit, from germinating. Identify the type of weeds that are infesting your lawn and then make sure you choose a product that’s made to take care of it.
Warm-season turfgrasses grow best with average soil temperatures between 80 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm-season grasses thrive in warmer climates found in the Southeastern and Southwestern United States and include Bahia grass, Bermuda grass, carpet grass, Saint Augustine grass, and zoysia grass (Japanese lawn grass).
Excessive fertilizing can result in lawn burn, which is when the nitrogen and salt levels in the soil are too high and cause yellow to brown strips or patches of dead grass. A lawn, as with any type of plant, only needs fertilizing if the soil lacks the vital nutrients to help it grow. In situations like these, fertilizing your soil is essential.
In general, grass species are divided into two categories: warm season and cool season. The seasons do not refer to the time of year, but the climate and average soil temperature range.
Fertilizers can also contain secondary elements and micronutrients needed for healthy growth such as sulfur, calcium, magnesium, boron, iron, molybdenum, zinc, copper, chloride, nickel, and manganese.
Choose a weed-and-feed product based on the type of grass you have. Grass species have different nutrient requirements, so not all of them are safe for every species of grass. Using the wrong product can damage your grass.
Weed-and-feed products come in two forms: liquid and granular. Although the liquid forms are easier to apply and provide faster results, it’s more economical to use the granular form. Spray or liquid weed and feed are designed for small yards.