What Nutrient Makes Grass Green?

There’s a lot that goes into having and maintaining a lush and healthy lawn, and providing your grass and soil with the right nutrients is an important part of the process.

Nitrogen, which is the nutrient that makes grass green, needs to be readily available in the soil to give your lawn a dense and flourishing look and feel.

There are several ways to add more nitrogen into the soil such as fertilization and organic composts.

Continue reading below to learn more.

What nutrient makes grass green?

Signs of a Nitrogen Deficiency in your Lawn

It’s fairly easy to tell if you have a nitrogen deficiency in your lawn just by the overall look of the grass. It won’t be as green or dense, and there may be areas without any grass at all.

Some other signs include:

  • Thinning areas of your lawn
  • Large dead spots of grass
  • An influx of weeds
  • Slow overall growth or other diseases

Without a sufficient supply of nitrogen, the root system in your grass won’t be at full strength, which causes the yellowing and dead areas in your lawn.

How to Add Nitrogen to your Lawn

Fertilizing with a high-nitrogen lawn fertilizer is one of the easiest ways to add nitrogen into the soil to help your grass look as green and vibrant as possible.

The two most common options available are slow-release and high-release fertilizers.

Slow Release Nitrogen Fertilizers

Adding slow-release nitrogen fertilizer to your lawn is a great way to gradually build up the amount of nitrogen and other nutrients your grass needs to grow.

Although your grass won’t find any nutrients immediately available upon application from slow-release fertilizers, the gradual release will allow your lawn to stay greener for a longer period of time, without needing to apply another layer.

For example, this slow-release fertilizer from Milorganite can last up to 10 weeks after application.

Fast Release Nitrogen Fertilizers

Fast release nitrogen fertilizers work the exact opposite as their counterpart above. Your grass and soil will immediately benefit from the nutrients being applied and can help your lawn quickly boost past any disease.

Unfortunately, fast-release fertilizers don’t last as long, so you’ll find yourself needing to apply them more regularly than slow-release fertilizers. This could also lead to burning or even killing your lawn with over-application, so use them cautiously.

We recommend only using fast-release nitrogen fertilizers when you need to give your lawn a quick aesthetic boost.

How to Add Nitrogen to Your Lawn Naturally

Adding compost to your lawn is one of the ways to naturally get more nitrogen in the soil to promote greener grass. If you’re starting a new lawn from seed, position a few inches of compost into the soil before the grass seed is planted. Fully grown lawns can have a layer of compost added once or twice a year. It’s also important to make sure you don’t add too much compost where your grass or seed can’t get the necessary oxygen and sunlight it needs to thrive.

If your grass isn’t too tall, mulching your lawn is another great way to naturally add nitrogen and other nutrients back into the soil. According to the University of Missouri’s Department of Horticulture, lawn clippings are made up of 4 percent nitrogen, which can indirectly help your grass maintain a dark green color.

Can You Have Too Much Nitrogen in Your Lawn?

A spring lawn with fresh green grass high in nitrogen

While adding too much nitrogen to your lawn is not something you normally need to worry about, it can happen if you use too much of a quick-release high nitrogen lawn fertilizer at one time. You’ll know you’ve reached this point if you start to notice giant burn or dead spots in your grass after application. As mentioned, start with a slow-release fertilizer and slowly add more as needed to avoid killing your lawn.

A study done by Rutgers University suggests adding one pound of nitrogen-rich fertilizer for every 1,000 square feet of your yard. Again, we recommend starting with a little less and gradually adding more fertilizer over time. It’s always easier to add more than take some away.

Nitrogen Makes Grass Green

In summary, nitrogen makes grass green and is a necessary component of a healthy and strong lawn.

If you find yourself with yellow grass, a lawn full of weeds, or large dead patches in your yard, try applying a high-nitrogen lawn fertilizer, organic compost, or grass clippings to give it the extra nitrogen boost it needs.

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