New Bermuda Lawn; Can I Use Remainder of Starter Fertilizer

jusncsu82(7/8)June 23, 2014

Hi Everyone:

I'm located in Smithfield, NC (20 mins south of Raleigh). I seeded Bermuda on May 24, 2014 (Pennington Triangle Blend). Prepped soil, spread seed, Scotts Starter Fert (24-25-4), spread compost over top, watered. I didn't get a soil test (I will before next season). The seeds started germinating around May 31st. The grass has spread pretty good over the yard. I've continued watering the yard (backed off to 2 times a day now 7am and 4pm, 30 mins each time) and I am still getting germination/spreading. The weather here has been 90+, upper 60's/70s at night, with sporadic rain. I've been thinking about backing off the water, but I'm still getting germination in bare spots. Considering this, should I continue with the water until everything has spread to where I want it? Also, I have a good amount of starter fertilizer left that I've been thinking about spreading. figure it could help the newly germinating seeds; however, I don't want to hurt the grass that has already sprouted. I've got the Bermuda Bible, plus some literature from local university (NC State Ag Dept) and both recommend going to just nitrogen. Should I proceed with the nitrogen only, or is it okay to finish off the bag of starter I have and then go to the nitrogen only in 4-6 weeks? I'm new to this, and any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

This post was edited by jusncsu82 on Tue, Jun 24, 14 at 10:00

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Also, I was originally watering 3 times a day (7am, 12pm and 4pm) for 15 mins /session.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 11:56AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

The Bermuda Bible kicks in once you have established turf. You don't...yet.

If you want to fertilize with something valuable and safe, use organics. You can use as much as you want without hurting anything. Once the grass has spread and you are mowing it regularly, then use the rest of the starter as you start the Bible approach. When it becomes more mature, you can do just about anything except smother it and get good results.

Watch the grass very carefully for signs of stress as you back off on watering. Start to water longer. One thing you need to know is how long it takes to apply 1 inch of water. Test that with some empty tuna or cat food cans placed around the yard.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2014 at 9:18PM
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Not to hijack, I believe we have the Same question but I'm unsure on organics, my bermuda went down the same time as his and I'm starting to see a few yellow spots but most is growing very well. What kind of organics, alfalfa?

And I'm unsure if his watering question was fully answered in regards to transitioning between daily watering and 1" once a week for root growth... Assuming our seeds were put down end of May early June what phase should we be at in watering? I'm currently doing twice a week and was going to switch to once a week in a week or two... I want to have as solid/deep of a root system as I can before winter.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 6:19AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

If I was watering 2x per week, I would do a couple weeks at every 5 days and then go to every 7 days.

The scary thing about chemical fertilizers is how much to use, how often, and how to care for the lawn after applying the fertilizer. With organic fertilizer, none of that matters. You can apply a double dose every day with no water afterwards and everything will be fine. That is why I suggest it for new grass. You can't hurt anything. Once your grass is up and you are mowing it all on a regular basis (2x per week for bermuda), then you can consider a chemical fertilizer. Be sure to water it in right away after applying. Do NOT wait for the next day just because the sprinklers will come on that day.

I like alfalfa for the cost and the benefit. Even after you are on a monthly chemical fertilizer plan, I would strongly suggest you supplement the chemicals with at least one app of organics per year. Without that your soil can suffer.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 2:57PM
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I have to agree with Dchall on the alfalfa, very cost effective and beneficial. I am just through my first year of my seeded Bermuda and alfalfa with a mix of chemicals is the way I went. The only reason I use any chemicals is to help speed up the spread of the Bermuda. My plan (thanks to dchall and the other members here) has worked beautifully. I currently alternate months between chemical fert and alfalfa. I do not have complete coverage yet and still battling weeds in some areas, but I have to say I am very please with results so far. When I am please with my coverage, I will be moving to strictly alfalfa as it has done well for me, easy on the pocket (3/4 acre of Bermuda) and safe for my dog and 2 year old.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 2:40PM
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Thanks for the follow-up PB Guy; you brought up some questions I still had. Dchall I took your advice and placed empty tuna cans around the yard while watering last week. Surprisingly, it took about 3 hours to get an inch of water from the sprinklers!! Since then I've been watering twice a week, 90 mins each time, and I've notice that the bermuda seems to be doing fine. I'm currently cutting my lawn every 4 days.

I'd like to try alfalfa and I've been looking for it, but haven't been able to find it for sale anywhere. So I plan to fertilize with chems in a couple of weeks.

I know TX recommends 39-0-0; however I haven't been able to find that anywhere. There is a local farm supplier that has 34-0-0; will that work okay?? Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 3:44PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Call these feeds stores to find alfalfa pellets. Ask for rabbit chow.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2014 at 10:39PM
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Thanks for your response. You saved me a lot of time.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 3:23PM
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