March-April is the time to wake up the SOIL!

As we watch our lawns begin to green up and grow enough to mow them, they will benefit from an application of an organic fertilizer to aid in their carbohydrate production. The general “rule of thumb” is to apply fertilizer to lawns after you have mowed it 2-3 times. However, that applies to chemical forms of nitrogen, not organic forms. (Avoid  chemical forms of fertilizer with a very high nitrogen analysis. High nitrogen can predispose lawns to diseases such as Take All Patch and should be avoided.)

Because it takes organic nitrogen a bit longer to be released, application can take place 2-3 weeks earlier than with chemical forms of fertilizer. Mid-March is the average start to our organic fertilizer season, and continues through late May to early June for the spring application. St. Augustine lawns may require one early application in mid-March, then another in late May. Bermuda and Zoysia lawns usually do well with just one application in the spring. Organic forms of nitrogen do not need to be “watered-in”, as they are water insoluble and require microorganisms to break nitrogen down to a usable form. Therefore, organic nitrogen does not leach into aquifers and waterways.

Fall application of organic fertilizer begins in September, and should end by mid-October. We do not want to stimulate new growth that may be harmed by an early frost or freeze.

Because organic Nitrogen requires microorganisms to break it down before it is released to the soil, it will not burn root systems. Application rates are based on how many pounds of Nitrogen per 1000 sq.ft. is desired. The application rates given on the bags of organic fertilizer can be widely interpreted. We recommend ½ pound of Nitrogen per 1000 sq.ft. for a spring application, which may differ from the rates given on the bags. Please consult our staff for recommended rates. If you have a well-drained gravel soil, it would be best to make a few lighter monthly applications than one normal application in the spring.

We recommend using MicroLife organic fertilizer, which contains beneficial microorganisms and mycorrhizae fungi that aid the plant in water and nutrient uptake. And it is not just for lawns! Fertilize your trees, shrubs and lawns  with MicroLife 6-2-4 or MicroLife Ultimate 8-4-6.