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Have you done your 'lawn health' check-up?

(NC) After a long winter's nap, your lawn and garden are starting to emerge – and guess what? They're hungry.

Nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P)—for lawns younger than two years old—and potassium (K) are the nutrients that together make up the NPK in fertilizer, which is the food all growing plants need to thrive.

Properly-fed grass is not only greener, it's thicker and healthier, better able to crowd out weeds and withstand drought in the dog days of summer. Fertilizer helps your lawn produce a deeper root structure, capable of reaching water more deeply stored in the soil. And a thick, healthy carpet of grass cools the environment surrounding your home while providing a soft place for kids and pets to rest and play.

When it comes to fertilizer, be sure to use up anything stored from last year. Fertilizer doesn't go bad as long as it's been kept dry. When buying and using fertilizer, consider these four simple steps:

• Right Source: Buy the right fertilizer for your lawn. Review your options at a lawn and garden centre by reading the bag. The three numbers on the bag indicate the ratio of NPK, the three key nutrients needed for growing plants.

• Right Rate: Know the size of your lawn, buy only what you need, and follow the instructions on the bag. Using a quality lawn fertilizer spreader or handheld model will ensure even distribution for your lawn.

• Right Time: Spring and fall are the best times to fertilize. Don't apply if heavy rain is expected or while the ground is still frozen.

• Right Place: Fertilizer can't do its job if it's not on your lawn or garden. Sweep any fertilizer that lands on sidewalks or driveways back onto the lawn, avoiding sewers and waterways.

Additional tips for maintaining your lawn's health are available online at

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