Growing grass can be difficult. But with your lawn
and landscape adding up to 18% to your homes value, there isn't
much choice. Most lawn services offer a lawn program
that is way cheaper than you could ever do it yourself. Plus,
the added benefit of not having to store equipment,
understand the products, or apply them to your lawn
make it better to hire someone to do it for you.
Lawn Care for
Those Who Want to do it Themselves
This schedule is for southern grasses that need some
help, including: St.
Augustine, Bermuda and Zoysia
It's what we do, and what you should do, too.
Fertilize - Avoid feast or famine. Applying the
total years fertilization in two (spring and
fall) feedings is bad, because fertilizer that's unable to be used will
wash away into our watersheds. A lot 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 feet per application, using a slow release
fertilizer during the summer months.
St. Augustine Grass:4-5 total pounds of nitrogen per thousand square feet,
per year (or 3/4 pound per thousand if you have a
predisposition 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 less during wet years).
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 recommend against
the use of weed and feed
type products. Weed and feed products are bad for trees and
shrubs, and the environment, because they're post
emergent herbicides. However, spot
weed-and-feed treatments can be used for those with
turf-only landscapes or landscapes that have been
established for years. Warning: Most weed-and-feeds
contain Atrizine, which burns roots of young trees and
shrubs and will kill Bermuda grass. It's fatal to several tree
species, including Post Oaks. Atrizine will find its way
into our drinking water, and is a big problem. Upon close
examination of the bag, you will see that the manufacturer warns against using
underneath the drip-lines of shade trees.
Late March-Early April - apply slow-release 3-1-2
ratio fertilizers. with 3% iron and 10% sulfur. The sulfur
will help buffer 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 - 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. If you applied the 3% iron earlier in the
year as recommended, this should not be happening unless
environmental issues are present. Iron needs nitrogen to
work, and 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 won't encourage fungal issues, while
the sulfur will buffer the pH.
October-November - Apply winterizer formula high in
phosphorus for winter hardiness, as it helps develop strong
root systems. Ratios vary, but make sure it's
"winter" or "fall" formulas designed for southern grasses.
Examples: 18-6-12, 8-12-16, 10-5-14.
*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
can be found at garden centers.
Fungicide - two
times a year, as needed
July-September - Gray Leaf Spot is a blotchy spot on
the grass blade leafs. (mostly on St.
Augustine lawns) Use fungicides like Kocide
2000, Compass, Revere or Banner. Spot treatment of all lawn
diseases is included in our normal program.
September-October - Brown patch is best treated with
preventive products. To control the dreaded
fungal disease (symmetrical brown circles in
the grass) you must prevent it from coming up with a
systemic lawn fungicide, like Bayleton, Pro-Star, Banner or
Compass. Spot treatment of active brown patch is included in
our normal program.
Preventative treatment is
available at an additional charge.
Herbicide - Two to three times a
year: (pre-emergent controls and prevents weeds) late winter and fall are highly recommended.
Only do midsummer if you have an ongoing battle such as neighbors who
don't care for their lawn, or if you are next to an
Late October-Early November - Use pre-emergent
herbicides to prevent the weeds we experience in
February and March. Use Barricade, Deminsion or Pendimethlin
to control grassy and broadleaf weeds.
*January-March - Use pre-emergent controls to start
the year off right. These products are best applied prior to
the weeds germinating.
May-Early June - One more application of a Barricade,
Dimension or Pendimethlin to control weeds through the rest
of the year.
Post-Emergent Herbicide Treatments - Post
emergent treatment of broadleaf weeds can be made year
around in both St.Augustine and Bermuda Lawns. Products to
use would include Trimec, and Lescogran. Be careful, and
always read the label, as most herbicides are temperature
sensitive. Never use Trimec above 90 degrees.
Grassy weeds are next to impossible to get rid of in St.
Augustine lawns post-emergence. However, they are a breeze
in Bermuda Lawns. Use Products containing MSMA. Never use
MSMA in St Augustine, as it will kill it on contact.
MSMA is for Bermuda and Zosia Grass. It will kill most
grassy weeds, including Dallas Grass and Crab Grass.
Although it is labeled for Yellow Nut Sedge, it generally
won't kill it. Use a product called Manage instead.
Manage is a selective herbicide labeled for sedges only. Manage is available at
an additional charge.
*Insecticides - It is our belief at Real Green, as a way
to be kind to the environment, that you do not put down
insecticides unless you know you have a problem. However, be
prepared during the hot summer months to attack
Their damage will show up as irregular shaped spots
in the lawn along the concrete. Any liquid insecticide, like Permethrin or Cypermethrin, will treat them. Then,
apply a granular insecticide like Deltamethrin or granular
Permethrin in a broadcast applicator throughout the rest of