With less fertilizer, less money, and less work.
So, your lawn is having a recurring nightmare… you dump on the high-nitrogen fertilizer, thinking more is better. You get an immediate reward of super green grass and pat yourself on the back for your green thumb, BUT then the problems start. Since nitrogen overuse decreases grass’ water-holding capacity, you’ve soon got unhealthy turf and a welcome mat for weeds and disease. Desperate for a remedy, you then crank up the watering. And your nightmare snowballs – our St Augustine lawns suffer when they get more than an inch a week. Now you’re back to the store shelling out more money for more chemicals and paying a higher water bill, too boot. And the nightmare rolls-on.
What your lawn dreams of instead is to grow deep roots thereby reducing stress, promoting health and keeping pests and weeds at bay – something it can’t do when over-fertilization and over-watering keeps the top green but the roots shallow.
So, listen to your lawn:
- Apply fertilizer only if you’re sure you need it – have a soil test performed every 2 to 3 years to find out.
- Apply fertilizer only when the lawn is actively growing – in the spring after you’ve mowed at least 2 times (and indicator of active growth).
- Look for fertilizers with slow-release Nitrogen so your grass can take up a little at a time and the rest won’t be lost through leaching and runoff. Too much nitrogen leads to fertilizer burn, so follow label instructions carefully. In our clay soils, keep to a 1/2 pound per 1000 square feet to prevent Nitrogen leaching.
- In our region, avoid fertilizing after mid-October. This allows the grass to fully uptake it before the first freeze occurs.
Your grass would also like you to know:
- St Augustine grass needs 4 to 6 hours of sun every day – if you see thinning growth, it may be getting too little light.
- Mow at a height of at least 2 inches, but 4 to 6 inches is better – and only take off a max of 1/3 the height at a time.
- Skip the bagging, leave the grass clippings right on the lawn. This provides nutrients your lawn needs. And your back will thank you.
- Water no more than 1 to 2 times a week for a total of 1 inch per week. This lessens susceptibility to turf grass diseases.
- Use cycle and soak methods. Set your timer to water for 10 to 15 minutes, rest for 20, and then water again. Remember, no more than 1 inch a week, total.
- Follow the mandated Defined Irrigation Schedule for The Woodlands (2-days per week allowed) and water between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. This reduces water waste from evaporation and supports a healthier lawn.
- Turn off irrigation over winter. Our grass naturally goes dormant in the cool months (November through March): leaves turn brown so the roots can concentrate on growing deep and strong. Watering hampers this process, leaving you with a disease and pest-prone lawn in the spring.
Stop the nightmares and help your lawn lose the stress and get strong, healthy and lush!