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Say No to Nitrogen

It is now too late for homeowners to apply nitrogen fertilzers to warm season lawns for the year.

Many fertilizers are available in the stores and  promotions are everywhere that state that now is the time for lawns to be winterized. Applications of nitrogen after mid September can lead to turf problems next spring.  Nitrogen encourages growth of the grass which uses up stored food.  As the weather frequently changes throughout the winter months, grasses may use up their food reserves and not have enough carbohydrates to regrow when weather consistently warms next year. 

Besides creating unnessary new growth as grasses enter winter dormancy, lawns receive additional stresses when gardeners add nitrogen this late in the season  One such issue with a late season application of nitrogen is that it can make the grass more susceptible to large patch fungus.  This fungus is active when soil temperatures range between 75 and 65 degrees F.  Nitrogen applications encourage lush growth which can increase the incidence of the disease.

Large Patch bbolles

Large patch fungus can be more of a problem on turf following late season nitrogen applications.

 

For those that feel it necessary to apply some type of fertilizer now, potassium may be applied for the next couple of weeks.  Potassium is often sold as a 0-0-60 and the rate is about 1.5 lbs. of the fertilizer per 1,000 square feet of lawn.

Learn much more about lawn fertilization from the University of Florida IFAS Extension.

PG

Author: Beth Bolles – bbolles@ufl.edu

Horticulture Agent, Escambia County

Beth Bolles

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2013/10/07/say-no-to-nitrogen/