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Bermuda Grass Fertilizer
Fertilizer has an intensive effect on Bermuda grass during its dormancy, germination and growth. Proper application of fertilizer is one of the most important elements to achieve fully established Bermuda grass.
First round of fertilizer should be applied in April, two weeks after spring green-up. The next round should be six to eight weeks later in June and then again in August. For effective results, four to five times fertilizer application is required during the warm season till mid September (and not beyond). Sodded varieties and hybrids Bermuda grass require extra care and more frequent fertilization. Bermuda Grass fertilizers are commonly of two types - organic and inorganic.
The most commonly used organic Bermuda fertilizers are Nitrogen fertilizer, Potassium fertilizer and Phosphorus fertilizer. Organic fertilizers such as soybean or cottonseed meal are high Nitrogen containing fertilizers. Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus are the three key nutrients for Bermuda and other grasses.
Corn meal and Urea can also be used as fertilizers for Bermuda grass and are often called "synthetic organic" fertilizer. Urea is a coated slow release fertilizer with a small percentage of fast release nitrogen. Use of Nitrogen Fertilizer can significantly increase the growth and population of Bermuda grass.
Potassium is a natural and essential element for Bermuda grass. While application of fertilizer should continue through early fall, Potassium and Phosphorus levels should be maintained all along but based on soil requirement.
Potassium fertilizers can be applied to Bermuda grass by different methods. It can be applied near the seeds. However it should be tolerable to the seeds.
This is probably the best option. If is not suitable for your seed type, then use side band method where potassium is applied on the sides and not directly on the seeds. This method can be safe for the seeds and prevent bad effects during germination.
Check with the seed supplier for the method to be used for the particular seed type. Another method of applying potassium on the seeds before they are planted into the soil is called Banding. It has similar effect as the side band method.
Phosphorus fertilizer is an essential nutrient for plants photosynthesis. One method of applying phosphorus fertilizer is "Broadcast and incorporation" where the fertilizer is applied in the soil before seeds are planted. Like Potassium, Phosphorus can also be applied using side band and banding methods.
Phosphorus fertilizer is required for three to four times in a year and is generally used to increase soil fertility and create lush green lawns.
Inorganic fertilizer includes PH neutralizing fertilizers such as lime or sulfur. They should be applied while preparing the lawn for planting Bermuda grass. This type of fertilizer can balance the soil quality and keep the correct PH range between 6-7.
So when you go to the market to buy Bermuda grass fertilizer, you will usually see the bags or packets containing three numbers like 25-10-15. The first number indicates Nitrogen percentage, second number is Phosphorous, and third is Potassium.
So how much of fertilizer to apply into your Bermuda grass?
First get a soil sample test done to find out the recommended nutrient requirements. Or otherwise go for a Nitrogen rich fertilizer and read the fertilizer bag to find out what the manufacturer recommends.
So, if your soil requires 3 lb. of Nitrogen per 1000 square feet, you will need to do a simple math to calculate the fertilizer amount required. In case of 25-10-15, divide 3 lb. by 25 (% of Nitrogen) and multiply by 100 i.e. (3/25) x 100, to get the required amount of fertilizer per 1000 square feet, which is 12 lbs.
The fertilizers are available generally in granular form. There are some that needs to be dissolved in water before they are applied. The granular ones tend to be better and last longer in the soil. A slow release fertilizer is generally more effective than the one that releases the nutrients quickly on a rain fall.
Check out Bermuda Lawn Care to know what type of fertilizers should be applied when and other best practices to maintain a healthy Bermuda lawn.
Fertilizers can be applied by equipment like wheels and a handle for easy spreading, or a broadcast spreader. Cyclone spreaders and drop spreaders are also frequently used. Make sure the spreader is properly set to apply the right amount of fertilizer.
Bermuda grass can be protected during the harsh winter months by applying proper fertilizer and at the right frequency. The fertilizer which contains weed control chemicals and extra potassium can be applied in September before dormancy starts.
1) Check out Bermuda Grass for a complete guide on Bermuda Grass and Lawn Care.
By Raj Bhattacharya
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