Summer is the major growing season for lawns in Louisiana.
If you did not fertilize your lawn during the spring, you still have time to fertilize and get your lawn in good shape prior to fall. Keep up a good fertility program through early to late August.
Remember to apply all granular materials on a dry lawn., then water soon after application.
St. Augustine grass and zoysia both respond well to fertilizer applications. Fertilize zoysia twice per growing season – in April and again around June or July. St. Augustine grass may be fertilized three times during the growing season – April, June and mid-August.
Bermudagrass is an even bigger fertilizer user and can be fertilized from three to eight times during the growing season, especially if you like to mow grass. Carpetgrass and centipede grass are not big fertilizer users. Usually, two applications (April and July) will take care of centipede grass, and one application will be sufficient for carpet grass (April).
Centipede grass should receive its second and final fertilizer application in July. For centipede grass, apply only 1/2 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet as a complete turf fertilizer. For example, apply 3 pounds of 17-0-17 per 1,000 square feet or 5 pounds of 10-0-10 per 1,000 square feet. St. Augustine grass needs twice that rate.
Fertilize St. Augustine grass, bermudagrass and zoysia in June and again in early to mid-August with at least 1 pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. For example, apply 7 pounds of 13-13-13 per 1,000 square feet or 5 pounds of 19-19-19 per 1,000 square feet.
Make sure lawns are getting adequate amounts of moisture during the summer months, but don’t overwater. Water deeply only once or twice per week – or as needed, based on the amount of rainfall. Centipede grass is the least tolerant lawn to drought, so take care to provide adequate amounts of moisture for this grass, especially during dry periods.
Watch for chinch bugs in St. Augustine grass and bermudagrass lawns and treat with an LSU AgCenter-recommended insecticide. Chinch bug problems show up as yellowish brown areas of the lawn during hot, dry weather. These insects extract plant juices from turfgrass stems and crowns while pumping toxic salivary fluids into the plants. The fluids disrupt the plant’s vascular system.
Check for chinch bugs in the lawn by saturating suspected areas with a gallon of water mixed with a few squirts of lemon dishwashing soap. This soapy solution irritates chinch bugs and brings them up near the grass surface so you can see them and determine if the bugs are causing the lawn damage.
Additional insect problems that appear during summer include armyworms and tropical sod webworms. These moth larvae or “worms” can cause severe lawn damage very quickly and will need to be killed with insecticides to prevent further damage.
Be mindful of these pests as you walk through your lawns. Investigate damaged areas and treat accordingly.
Also this time of year, pull up small populations of Virginia buttonweed or carefully spot-treat with herbicides like metsulfuron (TopShot, Mansion, MSM Turf) or Celsius. These herbicides work well with repeated application spaced four to six weeks apart. Metsulfuron and Celsius can be safely applied on St. Augustine grass, centipede grass, bermudagrass and zoysia during warm weather.
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