Fertilizer schedule for St. Augustine in Fl

transplantsteveMay 21, 2009

Looking to get some schedule going for my St. Augustine in Central Fl. After having 4k of sod replaced out of a total of 16K I want to keep things nice. In April I put down Scotts Bonus S not long after the new sod had taken hold to get things to green up and control any weeds. Mid May I used "Spectricide Once and Done" season long bug control to hopefully deal with any prior or current bug problem as nobody was sure what messed up my grass to begin with. Now that we're having all this rain I'm concerned about what I put down washing away!! I also am seeing some nut grass spring up. Any ideas???

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I have some ideas.

For Central FL you can fertilize on Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving. If you would like to use organic fertilizer for all those, then you can add 4th of July.

If you lost 4,000 square feet of grass and nobody could figure it out, then I'm going out on a limb to suggest it was one of the popular fungal diseases. Since you did not mention circles of grass dying, then you probably didn't see anything that obvious. In any case most of the soil diseases can be treated with ordinary corn meal applied at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Almost like clockwork, I have a recurring disease problem every spring. It was very frustrating until I started using corn meal. Now I don't worry about it at all.

Regarding the fertilizer washing away: What type of soil do you have? It's too easy to assume you have sand but some places in FL have something a little nicer. I'm not big on redoing fertilizer if the rains come. You can do more harm by overdoing it than by underdoing it. If you used organic fertilizer, you would not be bothered with this question. I'm not trying to twist your arm on organics but if you live on sand, it really is about the best thing you can do for the soil. It is as inexpensive as Scott's program on an annual basis when you do it like I do.

How often do you normally water?
How high/low do your mow?
How often do you normally fertilize and with what?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:35AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I forgot about the nutgrass. That depends on rainfall and how you water. If you are just seeing it now in the new sod, dig it out immediately before it gets established. Otherwise, tell me how you are watering.

I believe a product called Image is the chemical approach.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:38AM
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transplantsteve

Thanks for the info. I personally thought the grass had fungas and bug problems at the same time. I have since gotten myself a ride on mower and got rid of the lawn service which I think helped create some of the problem. There are many homes less than 3 years old where I live with similar problems that all used lawn services. I have 7 zones, water 2X a week for around 30-40 minutes a zone. Soil is sandy and I did have areas where there were rings in the lawn but they seemed to correct themselves. Odd thing recently is that where the sprinkler heads from my inground system were raised the grass has died around them. Weird! Would love to stay away from chemicals but don't want to loose the lawn to bugs or disease when its stressed out. Also don't want to over fertilize!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 9:50AM
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texas-weed(7A)

The schedule David mention is good. As with any fertlizer you should always water it in with irrigation rather than rely on rainfall a sit tends to wash it away.

As for loosing 4000/Ft2 of SA the two biggest enemies of Saint Agustime is SAD (Saint Augustine Decline) and Cinch Bug. There is a joke about Saint Augustime grass in Florida. If you live in Florida nad have Saint Augustine graas you have a Cinch Bug problem.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 3:37PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

I do what David says and I get this -

I do have grubs and chinch bugs but they haven't really done any damages. However, I got SADV on Palmetto variety so they're pretty much toasted. Floratam and Sapphire variety are unaffected by SADV and filled in very fast.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 7:18AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Would love to stay away from chemicals but don't want to loose the lawn to bugs or disease when its stressed out. Also don't want to over fertilize!

I'm not trying to twist your arm on organics but maybe I can address your concerns. I'll warn you now, though, if you don't want to read another word about organic solutions to lawn care issues, please skip this post rather than raising your blood pressure. I'm not trying to start a debate - only reply to the OPs concerns.

Insects
Your lawn may have plenty of predatory visitors like toads, lizards, geckos, and birds, but if not, they may be staying away because the bugs in your yard are poisonous. If you stop using insecticides, the insect predators will come to take care of your yard for you. I used to have snails, slugs, and pill bugs (technically called wood lice). Back in the 90s I did all kinds of things to get rid of them but they always returned. Since 2001 I have done nothing. Slugs and snails have vanished. Pill bugs are down to very small numbers. Having said that there are some critters that live in the soil and feed on the grass roots. Those are controlled in the south with another critter called beneficial nematodes (not to be confused with root knot nematodes). These nematodes carry a disease that is fatal to many insects and only to insects. The insects die in 24-48 hours after contact with the nematodes. Each famale nematode breeds quickly and is able to spawn 275,000 babies per week. If you apply a few million nematodes, in a month you'll have trillions. They really work very well against fleas, thrips, ticks, noseeums (chiggers), chinch bugs, and beetle larvae. The other organic solution for bugs is wasps. The wasps that live under your eaves eat caterpillars like webworms and tomato worms. The wasps that live in the mud balls in the garage or shed eat spiders like black widow and brown recluse. Both of these wasps are very calm as long as you are not waving your arms around swatting at them.

Disease
Many lawn diseases are cured easily with ordinary corn meal, also an organic fertilizer. Corn meal attracts a predator fungus that feeds on other fungi. If you are especially concerned about an attack of a disease, you can switch to using only corn meal as your fertilizer and essentially prevent any disease from ever starting. As a cure for an existing disease it works great at twice the rate of the prevention dose.

Stress
Although subject to environmental stress of heat, soggy, dry, and cold, organic lawns do not have the stress caused by salty chemical fertilizers. You can avoid that stress easily enough by not using chemical fertilizers from June through August.

Over Fertilization
The normal application rate for organic fertilizer is 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. I use 10 pounds but note that if I mistakenly doubled the application I should still be okay. Not only that but if I mistakenly applied at 40 pounds per 1,000 square feet, there would still be no problems. Many organic lawn care providers routinely apply at 40 pounds per 1,000. However if I went as high as 80 pounds per 1,000 square feet the problem I would face would be smothering the grass by cutting off the sunlight.

I call organic lawn care, "no hassle lawn care." I don't have to worry about whether I applied too much or too little or whether it is going to rain or has rained. I also don't have to diagnose my disease or insect problems. Some people are concerned about the cost. The way I do it the cost is the same per year as the Scott's program. Other people are worried about the smell. The way I do it there is no smell at all. Still other people are worried about weeds. If you are watering and mowing right, you won't have weeds anyway. Weeds are more a function of proper care than fertilizer or use of herbicides.

Again I am not trying to twist your arm. I certainly cannot come through your computer screen and grab you by the throat, but I can say that the plan I linked to in my earlier post has been copied to, and downloaded from, lawn care websites at least 75,000 times (some websites have reset their counters so I'll never know what the total is). I guess my point is that many others have overcome the concerns we all fought with at the start. I had them all from the 1970s until 2001. My biggest problem was that I was cheap and lazy. Now I've found that the organic lawn care program works for the cheap and lazy.

Sorry, that went on far longer than I thought it would.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2009 at 3:12PM
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transplantsteve

Don't think I am a candidate for organic fertilizing. I do believe I need a good system of bug control that organic means won't address properly where I live in Clermont, Florida. My property was a former citrus grove and the PH was originally off the scales.Corrected that with a few applications of lime, Keeping the lawn green and bugs at bay are my main concerns right now. My neighbor has used Scotts Bonus S with good results compared to other brands. Just need to space things out so that I don't over fertilize. This was what initiated my initial scheduling questions.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 11:06AM
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transplantsteve

Bump

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 3:07PM
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garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)

Bump what - 4 hours worth?

MUHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA - give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 10:22PM
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transplantsteve

Hey,

garycinchicago

Didn't someone once say if you don't have anything good to say then its best not to say anything???

Be nice!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 6:42PM
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garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)

All right then - I'll behave.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 12:04AM
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gatorengineer

There is some misinformation here. In central Florida you do NOT fertilize on Washington's Birthday and is VERY bad for your St. Augustine grass. I personally am no expert, but I would consider the University of Florida a better expert than most. Here is Florida's guidelines with supporting link following,

"As a general rule, the first fertilizer application of the year should be early April in Central Florida and mid-April in North Florida. In South Florida, fertilizer applications may be made throughout the year since growth is year-round."

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/lh010

Be careful who you believe. I personally don't fertilize until mid-April and I don't use weed and feeds because by the time they are to be used (mid-April) it's too late. Now that you are to wait until after April, it kind of throws the timing back some of the Federal Holiday's you've listed.

Now you cannot just say you fertilize on these days and you are done, you need to read the following guidelines and determine the correct amount over the growing season.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep221

Note, below are my opinions and are not the opinions of the University of Florida but are proper based on their guidelines and manufacturer guidelines.

Don't forget your pre emergent (atrazine or barricade)--applied in October and preferably over January and February--, post emergent (atrazine), image herbicide (for nutsedge and for post emergence broadleaf during the times when atrazine cannot be used)--as needed-- and your fungicide (almost all are applied every 14 days while hot unless you use Heritige which is closer to 28 days), and finally some bug control.

I personally alternate my bug control and fungicide which helps keep tolerances down.

So the last bit is my $.02, but I would recommend you research and educate yourself before you believe anyone on a forum.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 7:19PM
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