Nurturing Your Lawn: Reviving Nitrogen-Starved Grass for a Vibrant August Recovery

Aug 15, 2023
Nurturing Your Lawn: Reviving Nitrogen-Starved Grass for a Vibrant August Recovery

You’re not the only one with heat exhaustion.

Our lawns just spend 31 days cooking and burning on the hottest sun grill in human history.

“Hot, hotter, hottest,” USA Today’s Doyle Eice writes. “July will end up as the Earth’s hottest month on record and quite possible the hottest single month in some 120,000 years, scientists reported.”

While your lawn may look and feel like it lives in Death Valley, we can give it relief and prepare it for a greener and more lush tomorrow.

What does your lawn need beside a good four inches of rain or so to keep breathing this August?

Good nutrition.

Our lawns are starving for nutrients. After two months of a relentless searing from the sun, grass is dangerously low on nitrogen, a nutrient vital to its summer survival. Lawns missing nitrogen are also likely missing two other essential nutrients: Phosphorus and Potassium.

“Nitrogen in the soil is the most important element for plant development,” The Spruce’s Kelly Burke writes. “It is required in large amounts and must be added to the soil to avoid a deficiency.”

The Low Nitrogen Problem

The irony of grass’ struggle to access nitrogen during summer droughts is it’s actually the most common element in our atmosphere. It makes up 78% of the air we breathe each day (atmospheric nitrogen).

“Plants cannot use it until it is naturally processed in the soil or added as fertilizer,” Burke notes.

And laws with a severe nitrogen deficiency in the dog days of summer will lose their green color and begin to turn yellow.

For without nitrogen, grass can’t absorb the other nutrients it needs to weather a red hot Iowa summer.

Signs of a Lawn With a Nitrogen Deficiency

  • Slowed Growth
  • Yellowing Patches
  • Thinning Patches
  • Weed Growth (especially clover, oxalis and trefoi)
  • Pale Coloring
  • Fewer Clippings When You Mow

 A soil testing kit (which is available at most garden centers or hardware stores) can confirm whether your lawn is suffering from a nitrogen deficiency. Or contact Creekside Turf Management for a free consultation.

The Nitrogen Effect

With nitrogen, grass and plants produce more chlorophyll, which gives them their lush green glow.

So how can dull August grass regain the nitrogen it needs to thrive next spring and summer?

Thankfully, the answer is easy: A High Nitrogen Fertilizer

How Do You Find the Right High Nitrogen Fertilizer?

Alas, locating the exact right high nitrogen fertilizer for your lawn is a little more complex. You need a fertilizer that is going to assess your lawn’s weaknesses and your overall goals for your grass. A liquid nitrogen fertilizer brings green and growth, while providing nutrients that enhance root development and aid your lawn in withstanding harsh weather.

Using an organic source nitrogen fertilizer builds healthy soil rather than just feeding the plant. Opt for a slow release nitrogen fertilizer to prevent it from absorbing into the ground too fast.

The first number on every fertilizer bottle will designate its nitrogen level and content. A 10-10-10 fertilizer provides equal measurements of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

The best fertilizer for a nitrogen-deficient lawn? Nitrate or aluminum-based fertilizers work the quickest. The Spruce recommends Milorganite Slow-Release Nitrogen Fertilizer.

The Nitrogen Grass Rule

Be sure to choose a nitrogen fertilizer that meets your lawn’s needs not just for the dog days of August but also next season.

Nitrogen is just as vital to a lawn’s overall health as water. It sends nutrients in soil to optimum levels and enables soil to move nutrients freely to strengthen roots.

Make sure your grass isn’t starving for nitrogen this August when it needs it most.

After all, nitrogen is “the Number 1 way to bring a visual response to the lawn’s color,” The Lawn Nut’s Allyn Hane writes.

Our Approach

We offer a 5-step program that gives ideal results for Iowa lawns. Have a question or concern about your lawn?  We’d love to hear from you.  We can address it promptly with a FREE consultation and quote.