It appears that all the cooler days are now behind and it’s time to get our grasses out of dormancy and greened up.  If you have an overseeded lawn right now you are going to see an influx of growth in the next couple months and it will be important to stay on top of it so you don’t shade out your warm season grass underneath.  Often times in March-May it will be necessary to mow your ryegrass 2x per week to reduce the grass canopy and allow light to get down into the grass and get it growing. 

We are still about a month and a half before our soil temperatures are going to favorable for bermudagrass/paspalum growth, we will start to see a significant green up and a little growth.  Warm season grasses will start actively growing when soil temperatures reach 64 degrees at 8:00 am.  You won’t need to get your thermometer out to know when this happens, but keep an eye on my blog and I will keep you updated as we get closer. 

Today I want to go over in a little better detail a typical fertilizer program as well as touch briefly on how much water you should be applying at this time of the year.  Also for those of you who are interested I am including my race report from the Old Pueblo 50 mile run that I did this past Saturday.  As you can see I survived and I completed my first 50 mile race.  If you ever desired to do something like this, if you think I am crazy, or you if you just want to know what it’s like to run all day then take a look at my post below.

 Typical Fertilizer/Water Schedule for Bermudagrass/Paspalum (Jan-June)


 (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. 

April (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.

May –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.

June (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.

Differences in Soil Burst Products/Pricing/Where do you buy them? 

We currently offer three different types of foliar Soil Burst products and one granular fertilizer.  I am going to give you a little breakdown of each which will help you learn about a fertilizer label.  Some of this information may be a little technical so feel free to send me your questions. 

Now before I go any further let me clarify the pricing.  The foliar 7-7-7, 16-0-4, and 4-0-6 come in 1 quart containers and are $12 each or $21.95 for 2.  These can be shipped directly to your house for the cost of shipping or currently be picked up from our Casa Grande office.  If you are in need of a larger quantity I may be able to deliver it to you depending on my schedule that week.  You can email me and ask me if I will be on your side of town.  The granular Soil Burst 5-15-10 is $15.95 for a 9 pound shake container and this can be used effectively as a starter fertilizer before turf goes down, as a starter when turf is down, and a safe well balanced fertilizer in the summer and fall.

  • Explaining the differences in Nitrogen in the labels.

Nitrate Nitrogen – is a soluble source of nitrogen that moves through soil easily and is readily available to the grass when applied.  Nitrates are not extremely temperature dependent so foliar applications can work during cold or hot months.  Nitrates are best used in the foliar form because over applying them in the granular form will cause increased leaching into the ground because of their soil solubility.

Ammoniacal Nitrogen – Some of the product is in the water soluble form but most needs to be converted to the nitrate form by microorganisms in the soil.  These are best used during warmer periods and they are often not available to the plant when applied early in the spring or late in the fall.  They do help acidify the soil which makes it very useful with our high pH levels.

Urea Nitrogen – Water soluble nitrogen that goes into solution easily, but first must be converted to ammoniacal and then to the nitrate form of nitrogen before the plant can use.  All this is done by microbes in the soil.  Applying urea in the foliar form gives the plant a chance to use all of the Urea because it is applied in small doses.  In the granular form the available nitrogen is quickly used leaving the unconverted nitrogen to denitrify and unavailable for later use.

  • Why do our products contain calcium and magnesium?

Calcium applications are necessary in soils with a high pH for the roots to absorb fertilizer.  Foliar applications allow your roots to react to the available calcium as early as 4-7 days while granular calcium’s take 3-4 weeks for the roots to absorb.

Calcium and magnesium are the catalysts that give our lawns early spring green up, and allow your roots to take up other important nutrients from the soil.

Magnesium, not iron is the core molecule in chlorophyll.  Since our irrigation water generally contains no magnesium, foliar applications are needed throughout the year to maintain turf color.

  •  Why use a foliar product versus a granular?

Foliar products can be applied in small dosages making all the nitrogen applied usable and will reduce leaching in the soil.

These foliar products contain the building blocks necessary for a deep root system, dark green color, and available nutrients throughout the year.

These foliar products are all non-staining, and have readily available minor nutrients that would take weeks to be available in the granular form.

  • What is the difference in the 7-7-7, 16-0-4, and 4-0-6? 

7-7-7 is a year round seasonal booster that provides quick release urea nitrogen and all the minor nutrients necessary to complete seasonal color deficiencies.  Manganese and zinc are added to maintain plant color and supplement moderate soil deficiencies.  This product can be used year round and will maintain a balanced soil.

16-0-4 provides your turf with a foliar mix that is high in calcium for root absorption of fertilizer, and a blend of slow and fast release nitrogen to provide quick color that will last for 4-6 weeks. This is a combo of urea, nitrates, and ammoniacal nitrogen to ensure available nitrogen throughout growth period.  The different forms of nitrogen breakdown slowly in the soil and become usable over 4-6 weeks.  The 16-0-4 is ideally used in early spring for green up, during winter months to maintain color season grass color, or throughout the summer for a quick boost in plant strength.

4-0-6 is a quick release nitrogen product that greens your turf within days and supplies the roots with the calcium and magnesium necessary to maintain proper soil pH.  The high potassium gives the plant extra strength during the cooler winter months, hot months and late in the fall season.  This is a great product to use during stress periods such as mid-summer to maintain a deep root system.


Old Pueblo 50 Mile Run Race Report

Saturday started off a little chillier than I had anticipated in Sonoita, AZ.  The race was scheduled to start at 6 am and being that we were at a 5100 feet of elevation to start the race the temperature was around 31 degrees at the start.  We pulled up to Kentucky Camp about 5:30 and I tried to shake the nerves out of my system.  I can tell you that my heart was racing, my mind was all over the place, and I was trying to envision exactly what the next 9-12 hours were going to be like.  

It’s 5:30am and my wife, and a couple friends and I make our way down the dark ¼ mile hill to the start line and all I can hear is my heart beating through my chest.  At about 5:55am we toed the starting line, I turned on my headlight and listened as the race director described the course we were about to be encountering.  They say the average finish time is 11.5 hours which makes me nervous again as I think I have over-estimated how quickly I planned on running the course. My goal for the race was to be between 9.5 and 10 hours and with an Achilles that has been giving me issue the last few weeks I originally thought this was a reasonable goal. 

I took one last look down at my watch, said bye to my wife and listened for the start signal. 

We took off at 6 am on the dot and it was pitch black as we made our way up the dirt forest road.  Running up the first ¼ mile I found myself struggling to catch my breath, maybe it was nerves or maybe it was the elevation.  Again I could hear my heart beating in my chest as I tried to keep in the second group of runners and get uphill.  I turned up my iPod a little louder to distract me and get my mind off the fact that it was going to be a long day. 

As soon as we reached the parking area we made a left turn and headed down the rolling forest road for a couple of miles.  I was in the second group of four runners and knew from listening to my friends that had previously run the race that if I didn’t want to get stuck behind several runners on the single track through the mountains coming up that I would need to be in front early.  About 1.5 miles in, the lead group of four runners took off into what appeared to be a sprint for the lead position and my pack of runners backed off as we let them take the early lead.  I did not envision having to wear myself out in the first 1.5-2 miles of a 50 mile race. 

As the lead group extended their lead I cleared my head and was able to regain my breath as we headed towards the first aid station at mile 3.  Now what happens next was a day changer for me.  With our head lights shining we were following the blue and white trail ribbons on the forest road when after about a mile and a half we realized we had missed the turn to the Arizona Trail.  At first thought I was devastated because I ran 1.25 miles out of my way and now I had to back track another 1.25 miles up hill.  We were running at such a good pace and all of us were concentrating so hard that we missed the hard left turn. We all turned around and I could hear the frustration in one of the runners but I kept saying to myself that it was going to be one long day if I start complaining at mile 2.  We made our way back up the dirt road and turned onto the Arizona Trail only to find that we were the last runners to hit this section of the trail.  As I said earlier it was single track for the next few miles which didn’t leave me much room to make a move and get back in the race. 

I finally reached the aid station at the 3 mile mark and was able to pass a few of the runners who had stopped to grab some water.  I started to make my way down the single track trail only to find that there was really nowhere to go.  At this point I found it necessary to pass people anyway I could and that often meant trying to go around them in the boulders or through the deep brush.  This wasn’t the best idea and my legs were paying for it every time I crossed through one of the bushes. 

At the 5 mile mark I saw a slight opening as we were moving downhill and I decided to push the pace of the other runners and see if they were willing to let me by.  Most were happy to let me go through, but others were concentrating on the rough terrain that the last thing they wanted to do was increase their pace.  I passed a few more runners and maybe moved into 100th place as I made my way through the mountain and tried to reach the 7 mile aid station.  This was going to be the first aid station that was open to crews and my wife would be there waiting for me with food to help keep me fueled.  I had told her before the race started that I expected the first 7 miles will take me 65-70 minutes depending on the terrain so when she saw a hundred runners come through without me going by she started to become concerned.  My friends ran past the aid station and checked in with her briefly telling her that I must have beat her to the aid station because I was way out ahead of them.  Luckily she waited and at the 85 minute mark I finally reached the 7 mile aid station.  I could see the look of anguish on my wife’s face as she saw me and I began shaking my head in disappointment because I had no time to stop at this aid station.  I told her what had happened and that I was not going to let it bother me.  She gave me a turkey and cheese sandwich, some words of encouragement and I was off down the road.  She knew that 30 seconds I spent with her there was the last time she would get an update on my where about until mile 25. (27.5 miles on my watch with the extra 2.5 miles)  There were aid stations about every 5-7 miles but none of them would be accessible by crew until later in the race because of the terrain. 

As I rolled down the forest road after mile 7 I felt revived and ready to make up some ground on the rest of the field.  I knew from looking at the elevation map that miles 7-14 were uphill and then I would have a 4 mile stretch of downhill where I could really make up time.  I pushed myself a little harder than I would have liked to on the up hills and was making up ground rather quickly.  I finally caught up to several people I knew around mile 10 and they were baffled as to how I was behind them when I took off with the first two groups.  We had a brief conversation and I got more words of encouragement, a little razzing for getting lost and I decided I needed to push on. 

I was able to pass a few on the hills between mile 10 and 12 and then I had to walk my way to the top of the hill.  I saw the rest of the field walking and knew I could make up a little ground if I just walked a little faster.  I was able to pass a few more runners before we got to the top.  I took one long drink out of my camelback and decided it was time to go into a all out sprint until I reached the bottom of the mountain.  I was excited to learn that it actually lasted about 5 miles and I was able to pass about 30 people as I ran down the hill.  At mile 18 or 19 we had an aid station so I grabbed a mountain dew, a handful of pretzels, and some potatoes with salt and I was on my way.  Almost immediately after leaving the aid station we encountered what seemed to be 30 mile an hour winds blowing directly into our face for the next 5 miles.  I battled as hard as I could through this section passing several people who were walking and I knew at this point that if I could get to the 25 mile aid station that my wife would be there with Gatorade, food, and some candy to get me some instant sugar in the system.  After we passed mile 24.5 we had a short downhill section before the next aid station.  I could see all the cars parked in the distance so I again went into a sprint to try and make up a little more time.  When I arrived my wife let me know just how much time I had made up in the race and that I was now around 12th.  She may or may not have told me that to motivate me but I felt great and now I had completed one marathon and only had a little over one marathon more to go.  She let me know that the next four miles were straight uphill and to not kill myself getting there, just take it easy and eat some food, and take my time. 

I ran the stretches that I could, shuffled through a few other sections and walked fast in the real steep parts.  I checked in with my wife again at mile 29 and fueled up because there would be no more crew access till mile 40.  I still felt great and food was amazingly still tasting decent.  I quickly grabbed more potatoes, a tiny bit of turkey sandwich, some hard candy, and gummy worms and I was on my way.  I was trying to consume 500 calories an hour to keep my body fueled and only 200 was coming from liquids so I needed to get some kind of food down.  After I ate I started to feel the rumble in my stomach and new the only hope I had of fixing my stomach issue was to take some Tums.  I took about 5 of them and after a few minutes I seemed be feeling good enough again to get my legs moving. 

There would be one last aid station before mile 40 and to my delight with the stomach pains it was at mile 33.  This was just a quick stop over to slam a warm cup of mountain dew, take some salt tablets, and more tums.  I threw a couple cups of water on my face and headed out on the trail.  This was a large section of climbing as we went from 4600 feet of elevation to 5800 feet of elevation.  This is a section where you just keep looking at the elevation on your watch hoping it reads 5800 feet.  After the large climb we got a brief downhill section before some more rolling hills.  I took a look down at my watched when it beeped and it said mile 40 and then a little doubt started to settle in my mind.  I kept thinking I should be at the 40 mile aid station and yet I am 2.5 miles away.  That detour was starting to cause me some anguish at this point but I shuffled on and then I saw the sign.  It said only one mile till the mile 40 aid station.  I went about a ½ mile further and saw a sign that said a ½ mile and then as I drew closer I was sucked in by the flags flying, music playing and the sign that read “only 10 miles till buckle time.”  My excitement level rose again and I saw my wife at the end of the trail taking some pictures as I drew closer.  I started yelling that I am going to make it, and there is only 10 miles to go.  I ate very little here because I was so amped up but I did manage to choke down about 4 salt tablets, and a few Jolly Ranchers while she refilled my pack with Gatorade.  I closed my pack and the crews at the aid stations were cheering as I was off for the last ten miles. 

Immediately upon leaving the mile 40 aid station it was an uphill battle.  We ran down the forest road for about 2 miles before hitting the single track trail that heads back up through the mountains.  I took a glance at my watch and I was at 5800 feet and knew that was the peak and a nice steady downhill section was coming soon.  I went out to hard in this downhill section and realized I was actually getting slower the harder I seemed to run.  My mind was racing a little as we encountered our first of 8 water crossings and I went into a little funk.  Several people were passing me as I was walking the single track portion around the mountain trying to convince myself that it was time to go.  I kept telling myself how great it would feel to just finish this race and as I looked at my watch I crossed the 46.2 mile mark which was now farther than I had ever gone.  My previous record for this time was 9:24:53 at the 12 hour night run and today I had arrived at this mark at 8:38 mark.  My confidence went through the roof at this point and I figured even if I had to walk it in from here I would make it in 10.5 hours.  Now 10.5 hours was not my original goal but with the extra mileage I had to make some readjustments.  I shuffled through the woods a little more as a couple runners I recognized passed me and I suddenly became a little frustrated.  These were people I had a large lead on and my dinking around had caused me lots of extra time.  I now had a new goal and that was to cross the 48.5 mile mark and get to the 46 mile which was the very last aid station before the 9 hour 15 minute mark.  I was successful as I rolled into the aid station but I immediately started to feel the demons for the first time in the race.  I threw off my camelback, laid down on the ground and tried to stomach any food I could.   Everything was so bland, dry, and my stomach didn’t seem to like anything I tried.  The volunteers at the aid station said that I was doing great, I looked good and there is only 6 miles to go.  That is when I cracked, how could there be 6 miles to go from the 46 mile aid station when the race was only 50 miles? My mind kept telling me how great it would be to see someone I know and get in there car and call it a day.  Your mind tells you all kinds of crazy things during these events but luckily you can usually talk yourselves through the dark moments.  So I grabbed a couple more oranges, whipped off my head phones and scooted down the trail. 

After crossing a couple more small washes and climbing through a gate I came upon some spectators that gave me the encouragement to go on.  They said that the trail was pretty flat from there in and I would only have about 4 miles to go.  I took a gel, and started to run a little further.  We ran through a small wooded section and when we got to the top of the hill I could see the cars in the parking lot and the end of the trail.  This was such a false sense of security because my watch said 52 miles and I could see the end.  I yelled as loud as I could because I actually thought it was going to be right around the corner and maybe my Garmin was just wrong.  Then the trail started to wind away from the cars and all I could see in front of me was a single track trail through some tall grasses with no end in sight.  I took a look at my watch as it beeped mile 53 and my time was 9:38.  I still had a great chance to break 10 hours if I hurried and stopped dogging it.  My legs felt light again and I ran as hard as I could at the moment which felt like I was flying but it was most likely a 10 minute mile pace.  I finally saw the last gate and a kid opened it for me and I could hear lots of people yelling for me to hurry and I will break 10 hours.  I saw one last person sitting on a rock as I rounded the corner breathing extremely hard and I asked “How much farther?”  He laughed and said you have 100 meters, I think you can make it.  Yelling out as I saw the finish line I had done it.  I finished the Old Pueblo 50 or what I would call the Old Pueblo 54.5 in 9 hours 56 minutes and 32 seconds.  Immediately after finishing the race I was as happy as one could be as they handed me my first Ultra marathon Belt Buckle and a coffee mug reading second place male in the 30-39 age group.  I finished 21st overall and couldn’t be any happier. 

While I did lose about 30 or so minutes with my bad detour, and a top ten finish I couldn’t have imagined how good it felt just to finish, let alone to come back from so far behind.  This race ended up being 54.5 miles, over 7800 feet of elevation gain, 8+ water crossing, and battling the worst winds I have ever run in.  What a day and I loved every minute of it, even when I saw the demons.

Hopefully you enjoyed my race report and I appreciate all the support I have received from people who read my blog.  This race put me one step closer to my goal of running the 100 mile run in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and gave me the confidence I need to compete for the Ultra Trail championships this weekend.  Here is a picture of me with my buckle and a couple shots of the race.