I have had a lot of requests lately to post some updated versions of an optimal fertilizer program and to tailor it to bermudagrass and paspalum, so I will lay out a monthly plan for everyone to follow. I have added a few agronomic practices that should be done during certain time periods. As you read through the lists I am not saying to aerify or verticut every month but giving you good windows to do each.

Some of our older literature has fertilizers listed that we recommended prior to having the optimal formulations for a great lawn. We went to great lengths to get approvals for the same fertilizers we use on our farm for sod production and year round growth to be able to offer it to homeowners/landscapers/golf courses in convenient easy to use packages. With overseeding just over a month away you will start to see lots and lots of different theories on overseeding, but many of them do not include the proper fertilization to make sure you have a successful lawn right out of the chute. I have mentioned before that several of the products on the market are distributed nationwide, but yet they’re formulated for use on cool season grasses, not warm season grasses. Many of the bags give a bermudagrass rate, but the nitrogen formulations do not always coincide with our different growing seasons.

The plan I am going to draw out is just a guide and obviously there is the “Cadillac option” which includes making all the appropriate fertilizer applications and there are lower grade options where you may need to skip a month or so in between to save on cost. I have also attached a picture of our new easy to follow overseed guide to fertilization. I have drawn out a overseed fertilizer program that will get you the healthiest and greenest grass in the neighborhood without breaking the bank. There are several all in one packages of seed, mulch, and fertilizer out there now but keep a few things in mind. Number one they only cover 400-500 SF, 2) you only get one fertilizer application, and 3) they run $90 for 400-500 SF (that’s $.22 SF, sod only cost $.35 SF). The package that I am suggesting will get you four fertilizer applications that each covers 1000 SF and seed for 1000 SF for under $95.00, just $.095 SF.

Here is a breakdown of what I am suggesting for overseed and you can find all these products at several Ace Hardware, Sprinkler World’s, and from WCT.

(Non Overseeded Turf) – Water one time per month for 25-30 minutes. You want to water to a 8-10 inch depth in the soil. No fertilizer at this time.

(Overseeded Turf) – Water 1x per week for 20-25 minutes. Skip if there rain that week. Fertilize your lawn with Seasonal Booster 16-0-4 to give your lawn a source of calcium and magnesium.

(Non Overseeded Turf) – Pre-emergent herbicide in the end of the month to the middle of March. Water 2x times per month to a 8-10 inch depth. If we receive supplemental rain, skip the watering.

(Overseeded Turf) – Pre-emergent herbicide application between the middle of February and middle of March. Water 1x per week for 25-30 minutes so you can get a deep watering to 8-10 inches.

(Non Overseeded Turf) Soil Burst Granular 5-15-10 @ 9-18 pounds per 1000 SF. For bermudagrass stay at the 18 pound rate and if you have paspalum error towards the low end. I like somewhere between 9-12 pounds/1000 SF for the paspalum. The Soil Burst granular will provide calcium, magnesium, iron, nitrogen and also keep the heat in your plant to get it growing.

If you have not applied your pre-emergent herbicide try to get it down before the middle of the month in warmer areas and cooler parts of town such as Tucson you can wait till the middle to end of March. See my blog archives for some different pre-emergents.

You can start to increase your watering to one time per week for about 15-20 minutes to keep moisture in the grass and to help it green up in color.

(Overseeded Turf) – Increase your watering to two times per week for 15-20 minutes per cycle. For extended dry periods increase your watering times slightly to compensate.

Apply calcium nitrate to overseeded bermudagrass for spring growth at a rate of 5 pounds per 1000 SF. Water in all fertilizers.

Spray ryegrass with Soil Burst 4-0-6 at a rate of 1 quart per 1000 SF.

Paspalum growers use the foliar Soil Burst 4-0-6 or 7-7-7.

(Non Overseeded Turf) – Foliar application of Soil Burst 7-7-7 or 4-0-6. Spray 1 quart for every 1000 SF of lawn area.

When soil temperatures reach 64 degrees for bermudagrass growers apply ammonium sulfate 21-0-0 at 5-10 pounds per 1000 SF to push color and shoot growth. This is generally between the middle of April and May 1st.

If you have paspalum do not ever apply ammonium sulfate and stick with the foliar applications of Soil Burst 7-7-7, 4-0-6, or 16-0-4. I will explain the differences in them later.

Water should be applied 1-2x weekly to a depth of 8-10 inches.

(Overseeded Turf) – For paspalum and bermudagrass apply Soil Burst granular 5-15-10 at 9-18 pounds per 1000 SF to help aid in transition. If you applied this the month before on paspalum, skip this step and only apply foliar Soil Burst 16-0-4. Bermudagrass growers can also follow the non overseeded instructions and apply ammonium sulfate at a rate of 5-10 pounds per 1000 SF after the soil reaches 64 degrees.
Water should be applied 2x per week for 20-25 minute cycles.

Non Overseeded Turf/Overseeded Turf) Bermudagrass growers can apply 21-7-14 or another type of balanced slow release fertilizer. There are several on the market but you want to make sure you are not just putting down a straight nitrogen product like urea or ammonium sulfate.

Typically we will start to see insect activity around Memorial Day and if you have been hit with grubs or other damaging turf insects in years past this is the best time to apply Merit or Mach 2 insecticide. These are both okay to use on paspalum turf as well.

Paspalum growers can use foliar 16-0-4 Soil Burst or a light rate of the calcium nitrate. No more than ¼ pound of nitrogen per 1000 SF. This is 2 pounds of total product per 1000 SF. I prefer the Soil Burst 5-15-10 at 5-10 pounds per 1000 SF or an organic queen palm tree fertilizer with zinc and manganese. Another good substitute is the use of Ironite at 1-2 pounds per 1000 SF. Follow the same instructions for insecticides.

Water should be applied 2-3x times weekly to a depth of 8-10 inches. If we have a cool may then keep your water at no more than 2 days per week.

(All grass should be transitioned to warm season turf by June 1st)– Bermudagrass growers can apply ammonium sulfate at 5 pounds of product per 1000 SF and a foliar application of 7-7-7 Soil Burst Seasonal Booster to maintain root structure and color during the summer months. I also suggest an application of potassium to help with the rooting of the plant. You can use the Soil Burst granular 5-15-10, 6-20-20, or 0-0-50.

For paspalum again skip the ammonium sulfate and apply a foliar application of Soil Burst Seasonal booster 7-7-7 and a granular application of Soil Burst 5-15-10. Other alternates for this would be the 6-20-20 or 0-0-50.

Watering in June will be 3x per week at a 8-10 inch depth per application. Always water first thing in the morning to reduce evaporation.

(Grass should be 100 percent bermudagrass or paspalum by now) – If you have a bermudagrass lawn it is a great time to run a verticut through your lawn and loosen and open up the turf canopy. With the onset of humidity your lawn will start to get clumpy and feel like a sponge if you go to long between verticuts. This will also allow you to mow your lawn shorter without scalping the grass. During this month it is best to use ammonium sulfate 21-0-0 at 5 pounds per 1000 SF if you are looking to push growth and fill in weak areas and stick with a balanced fertilizer such as 16-0-4, 7-7-7, or a product with a 3-1-2 ratio for even growth.

For paspalum just use the 7-7-7 or 4-0-6 during the month of July because it is already becoming thick and has plenty of nitrogen to get it through the month without the addition of a granular fertilizer. You want to water your lawn 3x per week and obviously cut it back on weeks that we are higher in humidity.

If you haven’t decided if you going to overseed, this is the month to make the decision. It is definitely too hot to overseed in August and through the first half of September, but now is the time to start thinking about it because you don’t want a warm season grass overly juiced up on fertilizer as you head into the overseed season. We all know how much grass is already removed during the scalping process and there is no reason to add any more work or waste. If you are overseeding or not it is a great time to aerify or verticut your lawn. Aerifying now will open up the soil profile and allow for better air and water infiltration during the dog days of summer, not to mention will help with moisture content during overseeding. For anyone overseeding there lawn DO NOT add ammonium sulfate during the month of August and get excess top growth but instead fertilize with 16-0-4, 4-0-6, 7-7-7, or 5-15-10. These will keep the nutrients balanced and your grass healthy.

If you are growing paspalum just hit the grass with an application of 7-7-7 for continued color or if you will be holding off on overseeding then an application of 5-15-10 will work well.

If you plan on putting down a pre emergent application for poa annua or crabgrass August is the month to do so. For people using Barricade it is applied optimally 7 weeks prior to overseeding, or you can go two alternate routes which includes and application of Tranxit 5 days prior to overseeding in early October, or finally an application of Rubigan which is applied in 2 applications prior to overseeding. Rubigan is one of the most expensive options and often you would only see this used on golf course tees and greens, fairways and rough would be too costly of an application.

Watering during the month of August can be lowered to 1 inch of water per week and should be applied over 2 to 3 days. Since we get the majority of our humidity in August, run times can often be reduced.


If you plan on overseeding in the next month there is no reason to make a fertilizer application during this time frame. Your grass is plenty healthy at this point to get you through to the overseed season. If you are not overseeding your bermudagrass lawn make an application of 5-15-10, 15-15-15, or a product with a 3-1-2 ratio. You will still see growth during the month of September but as the day light diminishes so does the amount of growth.

If you have a paspalum lawn and you are not overseeding then I suggest another application of 7-7-7 to maintain color and give it some growth. If you will be overseeding then no fertilizer application is necessary. Your watering should be no more than 1 inch per week and start to stress it out slightly towards the end of the month if you will be overseeding. I am not saying to turn the water off but start to cut back your times and reduce the bermudagrass growth.


See my chart below if you will be overseeding and if you are not overseeding this month will be your last granular fertilizer application before putting your lawn to sleep for the winter. If you have a bermudagrass lawn it will most likely go dormant around mid November while Paspalum will stay green through mid December. During this time of the year lower your mowing heights on non overseeded turf to keep the heat in the grass and keep good color. Obviously if you are overseeding then you will be going through the overseed steps during this time and I will put those out in September. I don’t want to put them out to early and see a few people get too ambitious while it’s this hot outside.

Here is a breakdown of what I am suggesting for overseed and you can find all these products at several Ace Hardware, Sprinkler World’s, and from WCT.


Ahh cooler temperatures have arrived and the overseeding season is half way through. If you overseeded your turf you should still be following my guide listed above to make sure you have strong ryegrass before the first frost hits. If you have non overseeded turf then you can now put down a winterizer fertilizer on bermudagrass which would be 5-15-10, 6-20-20, or 0-0-50. These high potassium products will provide strength for your grass during the winter months. Your watering should be 3x per week on established overseeded lawns that were seeded over a month ago, 1x per week on non overseeded bermudagrass lawns, and 1-2x per week for dormant paspalum lawns.


The frost has more than likely hit and if you have a non overseeded bermudagrass lawn you are currently looking at a light brown color and there is no need to water more than once every three weeks for about 60 minutes. You are just trying to keep moisture in the ground during the winter months. You do not need to add any fertilizer during this time frame for non overseeded bermudagrass but non overseeded paspalum can get one last shot of liquid fertilizer 4-0-6 to keep the color as long as possible. Remember that low mowing heights will keep your grass green longer because it will not be as affected by the frost.

For your overseeded turf you can put the granular fertilizers away in storage till March and just concentrate on foliar feeding every 3-4 weeks with 7-7-7 or 16-0-4. These are non staining iron, calcium, and magnesium products that will make lawn golf course green when the rest of the neighborhood’s ryegrass starts to turn yellow. When the soil temperature is this low the grass cannot take up most granular fertilizers and they lay dormant in the soil till the temperatures rise. I will get more specific during the overseed time frame but this is a good guide.

Lean Horse 100 Mile Race

Since this will be my last blog entry before my 100 mile race in South Dakota I thought I would give you a preview and follow it up in a couple weeks with my race report. Next Thursday I will pack up and head to the Black Hills with four friends, my crew, and pacers to try and tackle the Lean Horse 100 Mile race.

Now as many of you have read this will be my first attempt at running 100 miles and I have set some pretty ambitious goals for myself. I figure if my goals are too low I will just settle for that time so why not be aggressive. My race starts next Saturday at 6:00 am and I will attempt to run/walk/shuffle for 100 miles in 20 hours or less. When I signed up to do this race with my friend Deb I just wanted to finish in the 30 hour time limit, then it became sub 24 hours, and after 522 straight days of running 4 miles or more I feel like I can go sub 20. Most people would say that being a streak runner will make the race tougher because my legs won’t be as fresh as those that have taken a few days off, but honestly how do they know unless they have run 522 days in a row. Wow, that statement sounded really arrogant, but I am just saying my body feels better when I am running than when I am resting. I completely buy into the rest theory but when you are running a 100 miles you are going to be in severe pain whether or not you took a couple days off to taper. I have cut the mileage down over the last couple weeks and this will be my first week under 70 miles since January but honestly it makes me nervous to think cutting my mileage back may kill my endurance and cause me to crash during the 100.

Being prepared for a race like this is almost impossible because you don’t know how your body is going to react to the heat, miles, blisters, running in the night, not sleeping, and trying to stay mentally strong. The first half of the race is a race against the mind to not overdo too early and the second half is just an attempt to stay strong, fight through the demons and push on to the finish line. As I said my streak currently stands at 522 days with close to 5000 miles run and 400,000 feet of vertical gain during that time, I think I have done all I can do to prepare. I have the best crew around (my wife Traci) and two great pacers (Tere and Kevin) coming to help so I am hoping for a success story. I will keep you updated and if you are interested you can find race updates at www.leanhorsehundred.com.

Have a good month a I will update the results when I return, and hopefully I will be sporting a big old 100 mile belt buckle.