Turf Time

10/4/2004 4:26:30 AM

All turf grasses and lawn should be "brought back" in April, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Tom Koske. A good strong start and spring thickening are the best ways to protect against weed establishment.

Most turfgrass will need an application of fertilizer now. Use a complete fertilizer with nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K). The season’s P may well be applied now unless larger amounts are required as indicated by your soil analysis. You also may supply N, P and K as a complete lawn feed with an analysis ratio of around 3-1-2. Centipede fertilizers often have a 1-0-1 ratio like the 17-0-17 ‘centipede feed.’ That’s because centipede, and its cousin carpetgrass, generally don’t appreciate high levels of phosphorous in the soil.

Turf at first spring green up is very fragile. It should not be overly stressed or damaged. Be sure to rake or pick up those winter leaves before they smother the emerging lawn.

"I prefer to catch them and bring them to my compost pile," Koske says. If you have very little thatch, you may mulch them back into the sod, but only if thatch is not a concern. The soil is now cold and wet, so their breakdown will be much slower. Later, you can safely mulch and return clippings back to the sod.

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