When it comes to selecting a fertilizer program the first thing that you must do is to determine the type of grass you have. Southern lawns are most often bermuda, st. augustine, or zoysia. These three grasses are warm season grasses which allow for them to grow best in the south where we tend to have a much later frost and a much earlier spring.
Identifying Bermuda Grass
Bermuda is a perennial turf which means that it will come back year after year from both stolons (above ground shoots) and from rhizomes (below ground growth). It is fairly low growing and generally has thin blades. As mentioned above it generally has a fair tolerance to drought although it will preform best when it is regularly irrigated. For assistance in identifying bermuda and for help with cultural practices that will aid in a healthy lawn visit THIS PAGE from NC State.
Selecting a Bermuda Grass Fertilizer Program
We utilize Lesco brand fertilizers to manage our bermuda lawns. Lesco fertilizers have a long tradition of providing the best products available. You should select fertilizers that contain Iron during the hot summer months. Iron helps to control and prevent cholorsis or yellowing of the blade. Nitrogen is also important in feeding the lawn. There are 16 key nutrients that allow for turf to grow. Fertilizers contain Nitrogen - Phosphorus - and – Potassium as the key ingredients as these three nutrients are some of the most vital and often the ones that are lacking.
So the three numbers you see on front of the bag of fertilizer are the N-P-K values or percentages of those elements in the fertilizer. Some states are beginning to become more strict with what and when you can apply fertilizers. It is important to check with local agricultural departments prior to beginning a fertilizer program or to hire a professional company to manage your program.
Our six step bermuda grass fertilizer program is as follows:
- Pre-emergent + fertilizer
- 2 summer applications of slow release fertilizer + Iron
- Pre-emergent + high potassium fertilizer
The program includes very little phosphorus and a large element of nitrogen and then potassium in the fall to prepare the lawn for the cold months.
Home owners can apply pre-emergents on their own property without a license but be sure to talk with a professional prior to purchasing or applying any pesticides (including weed killer or preventer). You can visit a John Deere Landscapes, Winfield Solutions, BMI or other similiar retailer in your area. Generally, you can purchase the products cheaper from one of these stores than from a Big Box Home Improvement store.