Recommender: What types of fertilizer combinations do you use and why?

March 31, 2021 -  By
Person spreading fertilizer (Photo courtesy of Patrick Vaillancourt)

Many lawn care operators use custom-blended fertilizers to fit the needs of their region. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Vaillancourt)

What type of fertilizer combinations do you use and why?

Patrick Vaillancourt

Patrick Vaillancourt

Patrick Vaillancourt
Owner, Northern Turf Management
Van Buren, Maine

“I use primarily granular products and prefer to use only custom products that I work with my distributor partners to design. While there are some good options off the shelf, being able to deliver exactly what I want for macro and micronutrients, biological supplements and other amendments is key to providing premium results. Many of my core fertilizer products are at least a 2:0:1 ratio of N-P-K, with some being 1:0:1. They also all include soil-building supplements to build and maintain soil biology without necessarily having a separate ‘supplement’ program. In addition to using a premium controlled-release, polycoatings provide the elite results I expect out of my programs.”

Ryan Evilsizor

Ryan Evilsizor

Ryan Evilsizor
Owner, Total Tree & Turf Care
Manalapan, N.J.

“We have taken many soil samples around the state we service and customize plans based on those results. We do six applications a year, and, depending on the application timing, we will add potassium, humic acid, micronutrients, iron, phosphate, calcium and lime. We also use a Class A granular biosolid fertilizer as our base. We start the season with a crabgrass preemergent with fertilizer and potassium to give our lawns a nice green color coming out of winter dormancy. From there, we go with a slow-release fertilizer with different nutrients depending on what temperatures we are applying in. We also apply our fertilizer with grub and surface insect control and potassium during the summer to prevent any damage that can occur. In some cases, we will need to add soil amendments.”

Kerry Bennett
Owner, KB Lawn Care
Norfolk, Neb.

“I use a 30-0-0 liquid fertilizer; I use that with 50 percent slow-release nitrogen because I do four applications in a year. The idea being the 50 percent slow-release keeps yards more even in color and growth instead of the spiking highs and lows of all fast-release nitrogen. It’s a lot better for the environment. By running all liquids, I can change my mixtures of fertilizer and micronutrients and iron to each specific area. In the areas with sandy soil and irrigation, you only have so much time for the roots to grab the fertilizer before irrigation can push the fertilizer past the root system, and it is a waste of money and product. With the slow-release fertilizer, it is absorbed better, and I have seen much better long-term results.”

Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University. She can be reached at

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