Many people still have the misconception that couponers and deal hunters can't be sleek and stylish. However, as the KCLs have shown us, being a deal hunter doesn't mean that you, or your yard, have to look sub-par. Your yard is one of the first things that people will see of your home.  It is important that it looks great! Fertilizing in an important step to achieve that green, luscious grass you have always wanted.

Below are my tips on how to save money on fertilizing your yard. Working in the golf course industry, it is my job to make sure the golf course is green and beautiful. Likewise, I need to make sure my yard at home looks great and is a good reflection of my skills! Both my job and my home require that I work on a budget.  I've developed some cost-saving strategies to ensure the golf course, and my yard, can please even the most discerning eyes.

Why Fertilize

Fertilizing is an important step in creating or maintaining a healthy yard. It provides nutrients that are essential for grass to have strong root structure and produces the thick, green grass blades you see in magazines or home improvement shows. Having green grass is an investment that will enhance your home's curb appeal and increase the property value of your home. By performing consistent and proper lawn maintenance, such as fertilizing, it will save money and require less maintenance in years to come!

Grass is also a great natural filter for harmful chemicals that may wash or run off your sidewalk, driveway, or roof and seep into sewer water…or even worse, your garden!

Purchasing Fertilizer

Store-brand, or generic, fertilizers work as well as the brand name fertilizers. There is no reason to spend the extra money on a brand name fertilizer to have great results. Since fertilizers often do not have coupons, the store-brand fertilizer will usually be the cheapest option.

When purchasing fertilizers, I recommend not purchasing combination products, such as Weed-&-Feed fertilizers. Combination products usually have fertilizer plus another ingredient (such as weed killer) in the same bag. These are usually more expensive than fertilizer alone and often do not perform as well as buying the products separately because the concentration may not fit your yard's needs.

Also, when you look at fertilizers, you will notice a set of numbers on the bag. These numbers represent the mix of nutrients in the fertilizer. The first number represents nitrogen. Nitrogen helps make your grass blades grow and your grass greener. You want a nitrogen value in the mid-20's (between 24-26). The second number represents potassium. Any number will be fine for potassium. Finally, the last number typically represents the amount of organic phosphates, or "pot ash", in the fertilizer mixture. Pot ash will help stimulate root growth in your grass, so you want to look for a high number.

When To Buy

Watch local and national chain stores for sales on fertilizer. Stock up when you see a sale or rebate option. Fertilizer can last a year or more, so when you see a great price, buy enough to last for a few applications. Usually, fertilizer will go on sale in the spring and fall.  Some hardware stores, such as Ace Hardware, may offer rebates in addition to the sale price. You can also sign up for The Home Depot Garden Club, Lowe's E-Newsletters for Products and Offers, or Ace Rewards to receive coupons via email.

When To Apply

Fertilizer requires water to work effectively. To minimize the amount of water you have to apply via sprinklers, watch the weather reports and try to apply before a good rainfall. Rain water is actually the best way to activate or "soak in" your fertilizer. Unlike the water you drink (especially filtered water), the acidic pH of rain helps break down fertilizer so the nutrients can better absorb into the soil. If you are using rain to soak in your fertilizer, make sure you receive a minimum of ½ – ¾ inches or more, otherwise you will still need to water your yard. (Rain gauges typically cost approximately $1.50 at a local hardware store.) Fertilizing without watering will burn your yard, destroying your grass and wasting time and money.

By following these tips of the trade, you too can have beautiful thick green grass and maybe even be the envy of your neighborhood!

This has been a guest post by JP from Minneapolis, MN
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Frugally Fertilize: How to Get Green Grass without Wasting Your Greens