Fertilizer Recommendation for Bermuda Lawn

mSmith_RTRJanuary 20, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I have been reading the lawn care posts on GardenWeb for a few months now and decided to join the forum. While reading the great tips on maintaining a Bermuda lawn, I learned that the most important step is to get your soil tested. So, I sent soil samples from my front and back yard to Texas A&M for the Analysis. I received the test results a few days ago, but i am having trouble finding the fertilizer ratio recommended by the soil test. I went to HD and Lowes and I wasn't sure which of them to buy. I plan to start the Spring with a balanced fertilizer and then an all Nitrogen fertilizer throughout the growing season

Can someone help me with determining what balanced fertilizer I need to purchase based on my soil test?

I have a Bermuda Lawn and I live in Hutto, Texas.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Soil Analysis Report

Back Yard - PH 8.0
Nitrate 2
Phosphorus 34
Potassium 207
Calcium 9,116
Magnesium 406

Fertilizer Recommended
Nitrogen - 0.9 lbs/1000sqft
Phosphorus - 0.9 lbs/1000sqft
Potassium - 0.0 lbs/1000sqft
Calcium - 0.0 lbs/1000sqft
Magnesium - 0.0 lbs/1000sqft

Front Yard - PH 8.1
Nitrate 0
Phosphorus 13
Potassium 164 Calcium 12,105
Magnesium 357

Fertilizer Recommended
Nitrogen - 0.9 lbs/1000sqft
Phosphorus - 2.2 lbs/1000sqft
Potassium - 0.1 lbs/1000sqft
Calcium - 0.0 lbs/1000sqft
Magnesium - 0.0 lbs/1000sqft

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Have you read the "Bermuda Bible" put out by a gent named Texasweed (don't let the name fool you, he is a retired sod farmer). It is great help.

Your probably not going to find a good slow release Nitrogen fertilizer in HD or lowes (which I found out when I put a bermuda lawn in). They usually have Scott's which is around 30% slow release and you really want to get something higher than than 50% or more. I was so desperate I ordered mine on-line for a while. I eventually found a turf supply company to get some

Being in Texas, I am suprised you wouldn't be able to find some around. Is there a John Deere Landscape around? Ask other people, check with golf course where they get theirs, google the hell out of it for fertilizer suppliers in Central Texas. These are all the things i did to locate this type of fertilizer.

So I finally find good sources and decided to go organic, go figure.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 4:06PM
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Thanks for the reply. I found a slow release Urea Fertilizer ( 34-0-0) at John Deere Landscapes that I will be using during the growing season. I was more concerned with the Spring fertilizer application. Based on the Bermuda Bible, I am to start the Spring with a balanced fertilizer based on my soil test. My soil test suggests that I need a 1-1-0 ratio for my back yard and a 10-22-1 ratio for the front yard. Are there fertilizers around with these ratios for alkaline soils or do I have to buy a bag of Potassium and a bag of Phosphorus separately. I'm a fist time homeowner and I have no idea what I'm doing or what to look for

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 7:56PM
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try this m. 3-1-2 (15-5-10) ratio and looks to be a Texas company. Looks like $16.99



Product SKU: 7020118
Packaging: 1 Unit(s) Per Package
UPC: 072693994706
MPN: 40#

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:32AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Call around to Tractor Supply and the other farm and ranch stores in the Greater Hutto Metroplex (snicker). Ask if they have Lesco products. I believe that is what Texas Weed goes for.

I would suggest ignoring the soil test results from TAMU. It appears like you have wildly different soils from front to back. That is unlikely in a distance of 20 yards. Unless you are an Aggie yourself and feel some loyalty, then get your future soil tests at Logan Labs in Ohio. Their tests are much more useful for correcting soil micronutrient deficiencies than the TAMU test. Also it would cost you around $100 additional at TAMU to get something like what LL produces for their standard $20 test. Texas soils are dominated by limestone deposits. Correcting for that is impossible, so we have to just live with what we have. I would not spend another minute or dime on testing unless you have a dead spot that simply will not grow anything.

Bermuda is deceptively simple when you boil it down...

Weekly - mulch mow low 2x and water deeply once during the growing season
Monthly - fertilize with a high N fertilizer during the growing season

Having said that, mowing 2x per week and monthly feeding is a lot of work that many people don't want to deal with. But that leads to a spectacular yard.

Instead of, or in addition to, that balanced fertilizer, I would apply alfalfa pellets (rabbit chow) at a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. I would put that down 3 weeks prior to your statistical "last frost" date. For me in San Antonio, that date is in March so I apply about Washington's Birthday. Alfalfa pellets will revive your soil's microbes and bring them back to good health after months of getting hammered by chemical fertilizers. You can use alfalfa pellets instead of or along with the chemical fertilizers. They work different ways and will not affect the other one. You can use alfalfa pellets as often as you can afford to without fear of harming anything.

I would not apply any chemical fertilizer until after you have mowed real grass (not weeds) for the second time. Fertilizing dormant grass or weeds is a big waste of time and money. It will not bring the lawn out of dormancy any sooner. Unlike the organic fertilizer (alfalfa), chemicals will wash through and disappear before you have active roots to pick them up.

Since you are now to lawns, one secret is to not water too frequently. Watering once per month this time of year is about right. As the temps get into the 70s, move to watering once every 3 weeks. When it warms to the 80s, go to once every other week. Temps in the 90s go to weekly watering. Never water daily no matter what your neighbors or the sprinkler salesmen tell you. That is the fast track to weeds and herbicides. When you water apply a full inch as measured by tuna or cat food cans placed around your yard. If you can't do that without runoff, write back before you try to fix that.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 5:13PM
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Thanks for the advise dchall. I plan to follow the great advise from the forum because I definitely would like to have a spectacular lawn

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 7:04PM
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