2006-05-03 / Farm & Home

Ag Line: Spring Fertilization Program

By Wade Parker

County Extension Coordinator

As the weather continues to warm up and our lawns get greener, it is time to add some plant food! When I say "plant food," I am referring to fertilizer. A good fertilizer program is necessary for a healthy, attractive lawn; but it must be combined with correct mowing, irrigation, and pest control practices.

The first step in establishing a good fertility program is to determine the fertility level of the soil you are working with. A soil test is the best way to accomplish this. The results of a soil test include recommendations for the fertilizer type, amount, and application timing for your lawn. Soil sample bags can be picked up at the Extension Office and can be processed for $8.00 per sample. If you bring in five or more, the fee is $7.00 per sample. This variation in price is based on postage fees.

The majority of lawns in Jenkins County are Centipede, St. Augustine, and Bermuda. The best time to fertilize these lawns is now, or after spring green-up. Fertilizing after green-up reduces the initial stress on the lawn caused by fertilizer application.

What type of fertilizer should you use on your lawn? There are several different analyses of fertilizer available for use. For example, a basic fertilizer to use on lawns is 10-10-10. The first number of this analysis is the amount of N, the second is P, and the third number is Potassium. In other words, a 50 lb. sack of 10-10-10 contains 10 percent N, 10 percent P and 10 percent K. Another example of a fertilizer analyses is 16-4-8. This one contains four times as much Nitrogen versus Phosphorous.

Lawn fertilizer recommendations are generally made in pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn area. The square footage

of a lawn area can be easily calculated by simply walking off the length and then the width of the yard. For example, if the length of your yard is 50 ft. and the width is 50 ft., 50x50 = 2,500. The square footage of your yard is 2,500.

Once you determine the amount of fertilizer per 1,000 square feet, use the spreader's manual to adjust your setting to reach the desired amount.

As always, please call the Extension Office (982-4408) if you have any questions.

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offers educational programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability.

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