If you didn’t fertilize your lawn last spring, you still have time to fertilize and get your lawn in good shape before fall.
Along with mowing and watering, early August is a good time to fertilize your lawn, says LSU AgCenter turfgrass specialist Ron Strahan. St. Augustine and zoysia grasses both respond well to fertilizer applications.
“Bermuda grass is an even bigger fertilizer user and can be fertilized from three to eight times during the growing season, especially if you like to mow grass,” Strahan says.
St. Augustine grass, Bermuda grass and zoysia can be fertilized in early to mid-August.
Carpet grass and centipede grass, on the other hand, are not big fertilizer users.
Usually, one application in April and another in July will take care of centipede grass, and one application in April will be sufficient for carpet grass.
You can calculate the amount of fertilizer to apply by first finding out the analysis of the material you’re using. The first number in a fertilizer analysis is always the percentage of nitrogen in the mixture. For example, 13-13-13 fertilizer contains 13 percent nitrogen. By dividing that number into 100, you can calculate how much of the product will provide 1 pound of nitrogen. In this example, 100 divided by 13 equals 7.7. That is, 7.7 pounds of the product contains 1 pound of nitrogen.
You can use this calculation to determine how much complete fertilizer to apply. For a summer application, St. Augustine grass, Bermuda grass and zoysia should be fertilized with 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Centipede grass should receive only ½ pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
Make sure lawns are getting adequate amounts of moisture during summer, but don’t overwater, Strahan says. Water deeply only once or twice per week — or as needed, based on the amount of rainfall.
Centipede grass is the least tolerant lawn to drought, so take care to provide adequate amounts of moisture, especially during dry periods.
Keep up a good fertility program through early- to late-August, Strahan says.
“Remember to apply all granular materials on a dry lawn, then water soon after application,” he says.
Got a gardening question? Write to GardenNews@agcenter.lsu.edu.