Fertilizer for new Bermuda Tifway Sod

erinmpearsonJuly 30, 2012

Laid Bermuda Tifway 419 sod in late June in Austin, TX (timing out of our control...long story). Been watering and mowing according to recommendations on this forum and "Bermuda Bible." Haven't applied fertilizer yet, though. A few questions:

1) What fertilizer should I use for this 1st application? A specific recommendation for something available at Lowes/Home Depot would be ideal.

2) What about fertilizer type for subsequent applications? Frequency of applications?

3) Finally when and how much should I water/mow after applying fertilizer?

High temps here are hovering around 100 degrees with no recent or forcasted rain. Sod is rooted but green with lots of straw-colored patches.

Any other suggestions to help sod thrive in middle of a hot summer?

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Reread the Bermuda Bible. It has the details for fertilizer, when, how much, and how often. It also covers watering and mowing height and frequency. After you fertilize all you have to do is wash the fertilizer off the grass blades and down into the soil. That should be enough water to mostly dissolve the fertilizer. What you don't want to do is let the dry fertilizer sit on the grass until the following day. Problems come right away when dew only partially dissolves the fertilizer and burns the grass blades and roots.

I've never seen the Lesco fertilizers recommended in the BB at Lowe's or HD in San Antonio. Austin may be different. Tractor Supply supposedly carries the exact products (never been there). They are all around Austin. Call first.

If you want to try to get the same results with organics, try applying corn GLUTEN meal at a rate of 30 pounds per 1,000 square feet every month. The first time I would apply at 10 pounds. Second month at 20 and bump it up to 30 for the third app. Why? Because that will build your soil microbe population and eliminate some of the sour smell of corn decomposition. If you dumped all 30 pounds the first time you may regret it. That smell is to be avoided because it is wasting the valuable nitrogen in the corn gluten meal. Better to bring up the microbes to handle it and avoid the waste.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 9:48PM
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The "bermuda bible" is not explicit regarding which fertilizer to use for the first application after installation of new sod.

For instance should I go with the 34-0-0/39-0-0 recommended during June-Aug or the 3-l-2/ 4-1-2 ratio recommended for "first application in spring?" I would assume the summer ratio, but again this is brand new sod just getting established, so I thought it might have unique needs.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 10:44PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Ahhh, yes, I believe you are right to ask that question. Seems to me TW does have a different recommendation for new sod.

Tell you what. In the interim before he comes back from vacation (undoubtedly hob nobbing with the movie stars he happens to meet all the time), you can apply any organic fertilizer. That will do all kinds of good things for your soil and definitely not hurt anything. If you want a brand name organic fert, go to John Dromgoole's nursery (don't know the name). If you want what I use, go to any feed store and get a 50-pound bag of alfalfa pellets or rabbit chow. Apply at 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. If you decide you like that, then you can apply monthly after the first app at much more than 20 pounds per thou per month. Bermuda can use all the nitrogen it can get. The chemical ferts can provide it all. Organics usually struggle to get enough out without burying the grass in fertilizer.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:36PM
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apundt-tx(8 SW Austin)

What part of Austin are you at. There is a lesco now named John deere landscape up north and then there is natural gardener in the southwest

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 12:04AM
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I'm closer to the natural gardener, so I'll call them and see what they have.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 12:05PM
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apundt-tx(8 SW Austin)

Try Vigoro super green at HD. Its a 35-0-5 with iron in it.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 1:11PM
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