Lawn Fertilizer in North Texas
Your lawn needs to be fertilized to keep it healthy. We hope you are signed up for our fertilization and weed control program to make sure your lawn is getting everything it needs to stay healthy. If you aren’t using our services, are you sure you are fertilizing your lawn correctly? Every bag of fertilizer is labeled with three numbers. Those numbers represent the percentages (by weight) of three key nutrients plants need: nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium. For example, a fertilizer bag labeled 20-10-20 contains 20 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorus, and 20 percent potassium.
Lawns in North Texas need nitrogen for green lush top growth. Lawns need phosphorus and potassium for strong root and disease resistance. So, in this bag, there would be 20%N, 10% P, 20%K and 50% filler. If you bought 2 50-pound bags you would have 20 lbs of N, 10 lbs of P, 20 lbs of K and 50lbs of filler. The filler doesn’t have any nutrients in it.
Lawn fertilizer comes in two forms of Nitrogen: quick release and slow release. Slow-release fertilizers usually affect lawns for three to ten weeks. Use slow-release nitrogen during the growing season to produce steady, constant growth. Quick-release nitrogen fertilizers affect lawns for about a week to three weeks. If someone is treating your lawn with a liquid fertilizer, that is fast release Nitrogen. Slow release fertilizer is granular and is coated with sulfur or other products to slow down release. As the outer coating dissolves the fertilizer is released. In some types of slow release, the outer coating is made to let the fertilizer go through the coating little by little.
Some fertilizer bags just show the source of the nitrogen they contain. Others show the slow-release or quick-release forms they contain. A typical bag might show something like 21-0-0 Urea Nitrogen or 38-3-11 40 % slow release with 40% Biosolids 10% FE.
Organic lawn fertilizers are gaining popularity. Most of the nitrogen they contain is slow-release. Also, the amount of nitrogen these fertilizers contain is low compared to conventional lawn fertilizers. This more organic fertilizer, by weight, will be needed than conventional fertilizer. For example a typical bag of organic fertilizer would be 5-3-2. A Bermuda or St. Augustine lawn needs about 4-5 pounds of actual N per year. That would mean having to put on about 100 pounds of organic fertilizer per year to meet the requirements of the grass.
To calculate the amount of fertilizer to put on your lawn, first determine the size of your lawn. Fertilizer application rates are based on the area of your lawn in square feet. Area is determined by multiplying the length of your yard by the width.
Second, determine what type of grass you have. In North Texas, you will likely have Bermuda or St. Augustine. There are also some Zoysia lawns and some Tall Fescue in Shady areas. Assuming it is St. Augustine or Bermuda, plan on 4- 5 pounds of Nitrogen, 1.5 pounds of Potassium, and 2.5 pounds of Potassium per year. Zoysia needs less Nitrogen, plan on 3.5 pounds.
Determine how many pounds of fertilizer you will need to apply and divide it up between treatments from around April 15th to August 15th. Be sure to calibrate your spreader to put out the right amount. If you buy fertilizer that is slow release fertilizer that will release over 5-6 weeks your lawn should stay looking good and be healthy throughout the year.
Turf grass also needs other nutrients, referred to as Macro- and Micro Nutrients. Examples are Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, and others. We will address these in another article.
If you aren’t signed up for our Fertilization and Weed Control Program, give us a call. Let us do all this work for you.