The Q&A Archives: Fertilizer

Question: I live in Hilton Head, SC., a hot climate with St. Augustine grass. It doesn't look green and healthy like other lawns around me. What kind of fertilizer can I use in May to help enhance that lawn??

Answer: St. Augustine grass is responsive to nitrogen fertilizer in terms of color and growth rate. On sandy soils St. Augustine grass requires about 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet per month during the growing season to maintain satisfactory color and density. At rates above 1 pound per 1,000 square feet, St. Augustine grass produces lush growth that is highly susceptible to insects and diseases. On heavier textured soils 1/2 pound of nitrogen every month is adequate to maintain good color and growth. Thatch accumulation is also a problem when nitrogen fertilization exceeds the required rate.

Late fall fertilization of St. Augustine grass helps maintain color and density of the lawn into the winter and promotes early recovery of the grass in the spring. Thus, to extend the length of time a St. Augustine lawn is attractive, the lawn should receive about 1 pound of nitrogen every 30 to 60 days from early spring through late fall.

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