Not only fertilizer makes the lawn grow really beautiful and gives it a rich green color. The condition of the soil also plays a role. Over time, however, the soil itself needs help. A soil activator for lawns can help
- Soil activator for lawn is not a pure fertilizer
- Use is intended to increase soil structure and fertility
- application together with lawn fertilizer possible
- optimal time of application in spring and autumn
- simply spread on the lawn with a spreader and water well
Table of Contents
Definition: soil activator
When looking at a soil activator for lawns, it is quite easy to think that it is a kind of fertilizer. It is not a fertilizer in the conventional sense. According to the definition, a soil activator is a soil additive with very low fertilizing power. Its use is intended to result in an improvement in soil quality and provide long-term nourishment for plants. For this purpose, biological processes in the soil are improved and accelerated, and at the same time the reproduction of microorganisms living in the soil is stimulated. In other words the application of a soil activator brings the following benefits:
- Activation of soil life
- through new settlement and multiplication of microorganisms
- Improvement of soil structure
- increase of soil fertility
- optimal binding and release of nutrients
- protection against dehydration
- Establishment of biological equilibrium in the soil
- formation of new humus
However, the use of a soil activator alone is not sufficient to maintain soil fertility at a high level in the long term; additional additions of organic materials such as compost or horn shavings/horn meal are necessary.
Note: A soil activator differs from a conventional fertilizer in that it does not provide nutrients to plants as fertilizers do, but improves soil properties. In the long term, the use of a soil activator then has a positive effect on plant growth.
Composition and effect
A soil activator for lawns contains various ingredients. The composition may vary among different suppliers. Mainly included are:
- organic substances as a source of carbon and energy for soil organisms
- main and trace elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium as food for soil organisms, building proteins and strengthening cell tissue
- Lime to raise the pH for better reproduction of microorganisms in the soil
- clay minerals such as betonite to form clay-humus complexes for water storage
- dormant microorganisms to repopulate the soil and stimulate soil activity
Soil activator for lawns is available in granule form. This ensures good dosage and application. Already a few days after application, the soil activator for lawns unfolds its effect. The microorganisms living in the soil decompose the organic material and produce humus from it. Thus, nutrients contained in it can be released. The rest is then stored by the soil organisms as permanent humus in the form of a clay-humus complex. This makes the soil nice and loose and airy in the long run.
Note: However, a soil activator for lawns is not enough in the long term. In addition, the lawn should be mulched with grass clippings. Spreading mature compost or regular sanding with coarse-grained sand (grain size 0.5 to 2.0 mm) also supports the effect of the activator.
When to use?
Turf is an absolute monoculture. The soil is heavily stressed and after a certain time it tires. Remedy is then not provided by fertilizing the lawn, because this only provides the lawn plants with nutrients. The soil continues to be stressed. It is no longer vital enough and healthy enough under the lawn to ensure good growth. In addition, the soil is deprived of important nutrients by each mowing. It can then show the following symptoms:
- strongly compacted, very hard
- light spots
- lawn roots can only root through poorly
- rapid drying out
- inhibited lawn growth
- rapid matting of the turf
- microorganisms cannot decompose dead material fast enough
- rapid spread of fungi, moss and wild weeds
Now, not only do the lawn plants need nutrients in the form of fertilizer, but the lawn needs a soil activator.
Note: A soil activator poses no danger to humans or animals. The lawn can be walked on immediately after application and good watering.
Dosage and timing
The application of a soil activator for lawns can be done before a new lawn is planted and, of course, for existing lawns for regeneration and likewise for maintenance care of the soil. One to two applications per year are recommended. Normally, the activator can be used all year round. However, the best time is in spring in March/April and in autumn in September/October. The soil activator is easy to dose due to its granular form. The following dosages are recommended
- for new lawns, work 100 to 200 g/m² into the top layer of soil and water.
- for existing lawns: 100 to 200 g/m² in spring and autumn.
Overfertilization” or rapid leaching into the groundwater is not possible, as the materials are organic. However, the manufacturer’s instructions on the packages should be followed. If the lawn makes a healthy impression, one application per year is sufficient. However, you will have to fertilize the lawn as usual three times a year.
Instructions for application
The application can be done by means of a spreader, but also by hand. The soil activator has an optimal effect when the lawn is freshly mowed and scarified. If the following instructions are followed, the soil additive can begin its work after only a few days:
- First mow the lawn deeply
- then carefully scarify the lawn lengthwise and crosswise
- carefully rake off the combed out lawn felt
- distribute soil activator granules evenly over the area
- rake in lightly
- then water extensively
- Do not mow the lawn for at least one week
Otherwise the mower will pull the granules out of the lawn again.
By watering extensively, flush the granules between the blades of grass. Gradually it will dissolve and be washed into the soil. There, the conversion and decomposition processes can then be initiated. On very hot and dry days, it is advisable to water the lawn again the following day until no more granules can be seen.
Tip: It is also possible to mix the soil activator with organic lawn fertilizer and apply both together to the lawn.
Frequently asked questions
Are there also alternatives to a soil activator in the lawn?
Yes, the use of mulching mowers such as a robotic lawnmower or manual reel mower can replace the use of a soil activator. In this case, the grass is finely chopped and the clippings end up back between the blades of grass. This ensures a permanent supply of organic material, which serves as food for the microorganisms in the soil. Regular spreading of a thin layer of mature compost can also be helpful.
Is it absolutely necessary to scarify the lawn before soil activator application?
Not necessarily. The soil activator can also be applied directly to the freshly mowed lawn and lightly raked in, followed by watering. However, if the lawn is heavily matted, prior dethatching is recommended to remove moss and felt. Otherwise, the effect of the soil activator would not be really efficient.
Are there differences in soil activators for lawns?
By and large, the composition is the same, provided that it is a quality soil activator for lawns from well-known manufacturers. In the case of no-name products, it may well be that the mixture contains mainly sand. When buying should already pay attention to quality, even if it is a little more expensive.
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