Comments on Fertilization

As mentioned in the newsletter, we will start with a soil test. Whether you are looking at testing your lawn, garden, ornamentals, flower beds, we must start with a soil test.

First you will need to get a soil sample bag from Old Tyme Feed or the Auburn Extension Service on Hwy-104, collect soil from random areas in the yard, turn in the soil sample bag and the test results will be sent to you with recommendations for the type and amount of fertilizer. You can discuss these results with either of the two places mentioned above.

Soil test request

The fertilization of lawns is dependent on the type of grass, shade, and many other factors. Generally, you will use a solid pelletized fertilized as specified in your soil test which may be locally purchased. As with all types of plantings be sure to follow directions as you can do harm with too much or even too little fertilizer. For lawns don’t just buy a bag of 10-10-10 and throw it out as some grasses, i.e., centipede will need a fertilizer such as 15-0-15*, St Augustine 4-1-2, etc. You can also use a liquid or slow-release fertilizer. There are a lot of different fertilizers that will do the same thing so be sure to check with your garden center as to what will work for you. If you use a water-soluble fertilizer, you will typically apply it more often than a solid fertilizer – so – be careful and follow directions.
* FYI – recently soil tests for centipede are specifying some phosphorous – BE SURE to check your soil analysis numbers!

In the case of lawn fertilizers, you would apply about when the pecan trees bud out, which is now and do not apply to wet lawns! When you apply you should, as soon as possible, water your lawn.

Your soil test may specify the need for lime. This is cheap but does take about three months to change the soil pH. If your test results do specify the need for lime this will, typically be applied in the fall.

What we have said about your lawn in many ways also applies to other plants: testing, when to fertilize, how much to apply, etc. Fertilizer types may change, i.e. use a slow release or water-soluble fertilizer such as Osmocote or Miracle Grow. Following are several articles that will give you some background information on fertilizers:

Types of Fertilizers
Discusses the various types of fertilizers such as liquid, controlled release, dry, water soluble, and others. You will find that you can interchange these types based on your needs.

A List of Different Types of Fertilizers with Its Usage
Similair the previous article but much more thorough.

Mississippi Vegetable Gardener’s Guide
Yes – this is from the Mississippi Extension service which has some really good articles on gardening which I have found useful and interesting and are applicable here in Baldwin County. This is a very thorough article on gardening and some great suggestions on fertilization.

Care of Ornamental Plants in the Landscape
A great article from the Georgia Extension Service with detailed information on fertilizing Ornamental Plants and other related topics.

Typical Local Shrubs and Fertilization Issues.

There is a large amount of information available from the Auburn Extension Service as well as the Extension Services of Mississippi, Georgia, Florida. I would suggest to not use the extension services of states outside of the southeast.

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