What is the Preferred Yearly Lawn Maintenance Schedule?

FERTILIZE – Avoid feast or famine. Applying the total years fertilization in two (spring and fall) feedings is bad, here’s why; Fertilizers unable to be used, will simply wash away into our watersheds, An overabundance of nitrogen will contribute to many insect and disease problems, such as Brown Patch and Grub Worms. Apply fertilizers at rates, no higher than can be used by your specific grass type during the times a year that they can be completely absorbed. This means applying no more than one pound of nitrogen per thousand square foot, per application, always using a slow release fertilizer during the summer months. (Recommended by Texas A&M as well)

ST. Augustine Grass: 4-5 Total pounds of Nitrogen per thousand square feet, per year. (reducing to 3/4 pound per thousand if you have a pre-disposition for disease)

Bermuda Grass: 5-6 Total pounds of Nitrogen per thousand square feet, per year. (Bermuda loves Nitrogen)

Zoysia Grass: 3-4 Total pounds of Nitrogen per thousand square feet, per year. (Apply even less during wet years, unless you want Zoysia Patch)

Late February-Early March – apply a simple 15-5-10 for an early green-up. Most companies that make slow-release fertilizers also make a mixed release 15-5-10 that provides for a quick two-week green up as well as a coating that delays release. I recommendagainst the use of weed and feed type products. Weed and feed products are bad for your trees and shrubs, and bad for the environment, as they are post emergent herbicides. However, spot weed-and-feed treatments are can be used for those with turf-only landscapes or landscapes that have been established for many years. Warning: Most weed-and-feeds contain Atrizine which burns roots of young trees and shrubs and will kill Bermuda grass. They are fatal to several tree species, including Post Oaks. Atrizine can and will find its way into our drinking water, and is a big problem. Upon close examination of the bag, you will note that the manufacturer warns against using underneath the drip-lines of all shade trees.

Late March-Early April – apply slow-release 3-1-2 ratio fertilizers. with 3% iron and 10% sulfur. The iron will help keep the lawn green, with the coming rains. The sulfur will help buffer the pH as well as slow the release of the product. Sulfur is also a great natural fungicide. (recommended formulations 19-5-9, 19-4-10, 18-4-6, 15-5-10.)

Late June-Early July – Again apply slow-release 3-1-2 ratio fertilizers, with 3% iron and 10% sulfur.
(recommended formulations 19-5-9, 19-4-10, 18-4-6, 15-5-10.)

June-September – if turfgrass looks yellow (chlorosis) or necrotic, use an application of either granular or liquid iron. Once a year should be enough. If you applied the 3% iron earlier in the year, as recommended, this should not be happening, unless environmental issues also exist. Iron needs Nitrogen to work. often times a fall fertilizer will work at this time. look for a 5-0-15 ratio with 10% Iron and 20% sulfur. The Low levels of nitrogen will not encourage fungal issues like brown patch, while the sulfur will buffer the pH and help strengthen the lawn against fungal issues.

October-November – apply winterizer formula high in phosphorus for winter hardiness. Phosphorus helps develop strong root systems. Ratios vary, but make sure they are “winter” or “fall” formulas designed for southern grasses.
(examples: 18-6-12, 8-12-16, 10-5-14) Will make lawns winter-hardy.

*December-January – Apply a bio-stimulant, with micro-nutrients. The Bio-Stimulant increases microbial activity, building healthy soil, along with micro-nutrients. This will give similar results as top dressing with compost, without the risk of bringing in disease, insects and weeds. Products such as Medina Plus or Milgornite can be found at local garden centers.