When to start fertilizing?
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make every spring in Texas is fertilizing too early. Its not unusual for people to want their yard to look thick, green and healthy as soon as the weather breaks each year however, one thing people don’t know is that soil temperatures lag behind air temperatures. Just because it feels nice and warm outside, does not necessarily mean the lawn is ready to wake up from dormancy. In Texas we have warm season grasses (Bermuda and St. Augustine) and one characteristic of these grasses is that they are not ready to break out of dormancy until soil temperatures consistently stay above 70 degrees. In order for soil temperatures to stay above 70 degrees, air temperatures need to stay above 70 degrees for several weeks. For this reason, it is typically best to consider applying your first spring fertilizer in mid to late April every year.
What is the issue with fertilizing too early?
If you fertilize too early you can trick the lawn from coming out of dormancy too early and this can lead to potential issues with disease (see below). It is best for the lawn to come out of dormancy naturally when the time is right and then feed the turf then to try to force it to turn green too quickly.
How often should I fertilize my Bermuda lawn?
The rate, type, and frequency of fertilization depends greatly on the type of grass you have. If you have Bermuda grass you should start fertilizing in mid to late April and keep a steady rate of slow release fertilizer (1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 sq feet )to the lawn every 4 to 6 weeks until early fall.
How often should I fertilize my St. Augustine lawn?
If you have St. Augustine grass you can start fertilizing in mid to late April as well but you don’t need to put as much fertilizer down or fertilize as frequently. For optimal results apply 1 pound of nitrogen every 8 weeks.