Several years ago, the researcher from Texas A & M University, Jim Beard, discovered that the extinction of the spring root occurred during most of the years. After that event, the formation of new roots started, and the St. Augustine grass begins to grow rapidly. This natural phenomenon is another reason to delay the spring applications of fertilizers.
I am horrified by the general acceptance of the growth of winter weeds on the lawn. People who depend on lawn maintenance companies to manage their gardens do not seem to worry about paying extra cuts. For them, weeds cut to an even height appear as regular grass. Furthermore, the general public does not realize that the seeds produced by these weeds are distributed to other lawns in cutting equipment. An uninterrupted group of winter algae adds at least one month to the annual cutting programs.
The St. Augustine Grass
St. Augustine grass has a medium to dark green color and dense consistency. It also has a low and compact growth habit. It grows well in almost all types of soil. Moreover, it tolerates shade, heat, salt and, to a certain extent, drought. It does not endure flooded land or prolonged periods of cold weather. St. Augustíne grass is an aggressive species. It spreads rapidly through the soil growth structures called stolons. If managed correctly, the St. Augustine grass forms a dense cover that handles light traffic. Also, this thick cover competes well with most weeds. The St. Augustine meadow is the most resistant shade grass in the hot station.
Texas Common, Raleigh, Seville, Palmetto, and Floratam are some varieties of St. Augustine commonly used lawn of his home in the southern United States. Each set has features that make it better in certain situations. Contact your county extension agent for more information on the variety that best suits your position.
A Simple Guide
The best way to determine when to apply spring fertilizer to St. Augustine’s grass is to determine when the lawn needs mowing. Put the application of the fertilizer on hold until sufficient growth occurs to justify cutting. Some are waiting for the second harvest. Do not be fooled by the turf maintenance activity started at the end of February. They are cutting weeds, not grass.
Once established that the constant growth began in the spring of St. Augustine grass, select a commercial fertilizer suitable for your needs. Most modern formulations have less phosphorus than they once were due to accumulation problems. Phosphorus is the formulation number of the medium. The first number indicates the percentage of nitrogen. However, the third and the last number represents the percentage of potassium.
Next, determine if you want a high, medium or low maintenance site. If you want a high-maintenance lawn, use the maximum amount of fertilizer specified in the bag. Lush growth will occur, and a lawn cut will be required once a week. The irrigation needs will be more significant and the potential for diseases, such as brown spots, will increase.
To keep the St. Augustine’s lawn in good condition, follow these guidelines for fertilizing the soil. Because many factors influence turf growth, these are general recommendations.
From March to May
Start fertilizing three weeks after the grass turns green. This is when there is little chance of a late frost. Apply 1 pound of soluble nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of turf every eight weeks or 1½ pounds of slow-release nitrogen every ten weeks.
Has your soil been analyzed to determine what additional nutrients your lawn might need? For information on soil testing procedures, contact your county extension agent. If you, however, have not analyzed the soil, use a complete fertilizer with a ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium 3-1-2. For Examples: 15-5-10, 21-7-14, etc. Each bag of fertilizer has The analysis nutritional printed on the bag.
To determine the amount of fertilizer needed to equal 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, divide 100 by the first number in the fertilizer analysis. For example, if you are using a 15-5-10 fertilizer, then you need 6.6 pounds per 1,000 square feet. To determine the amount needed to apply 1½ pounds per 1,000 square feet, replace 150 per 100.
100 ÷ 15 = 6.6
Then determine the size of the area for fertilization. If your lawn measures 5,000 square feet, you will need 33 pounds of fertilizer 15-5-10. (5,000 ÷ 1,000) x 6.6 = 33 pounds of fertilizer
From June to September
Continue the fertilization program started in the spring, applying 1 to 1½ pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet every 8-10 weeks. Without soil test information, it is advisable to use ½ a fertilizer containing only nitrogen (21-0-0, ammonium sulfate) or having a low phosphorus content; for example: 03/06/21 or 15- 0- 15 to reduce the possibility of excessive accumulation of phosphorus in the soil. Such accumulations can lead to iron and zinc deficiencies.
Moreover, to prevent yellowing caused by ferric chlorosis, apply liquid or granular iron fertilizer throughout the growing season. Follow the instructions on the label for the application rate. Iron-based fertilizers can stain cement, brick or stone surfaces.
From September to February
Continue to fertilize as recommended for up to 4-6 weeks before the first frost provided. At that time, apply a low-nitrogen and potassium fertilizer, for example, 5-10-10. Do not use more than ½ pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. To calculate the amount of product needed per 1,000 square feet, replace 50 percent in the spring formula.
If you want a low maintenance lawn, go the opposite direction. You probably will not win the “yard of the month” award, but spend less time and money on lawn maintenance. The decision is yours.
Are you probably worried about the development of winter weeds? Plan to apply an approved herbicide by the end of this autumn. These products stop weed sprouting and kill emerging seedlings. Read the precautions on the label and use the product according to label recommendations. With proper maintenance, you can help keep your St. Augustine lawn healthy and attractive.