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How Do I Choose the Best Fertilizer for St. Augustine Grass?

Fertilizer for St. Augustione grass usually contains extra nitrogen.
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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2014
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St. Augustine grass is a type of lawn grass popular in warmer climates, such as the southern parts of the United States. With the proper fertilization, this type of grass can thrive, resulting in a lush green lawn. Fertilizer for St. Augustine grass should usually contain more nitrogen than other types of fertilizers. Depending on the soil, the fertilizer may also contain phosphorous and potassium.

Nitrogen is often one of the key components of good fertilizer for St. Augustine grass. This nutrient is essential for bright green grass, as well as steady growth. The quantity of nitrogen in a particular fertilizer is usually shown in the first number of the fertilizer analysis.

A fertilizer analysis is typically printed on the package of fertilizer. These three numbers indicate the percentage of each nutrient in the fertilizer. The other two numbers indicate the amount of phosphorus and potassium, which are needed for healthy roots. For example, a fertilizer analysis that reads 30-5-10, would be made up of 30% nitrogen, 5% phosphorous, and 10% potassium. Fertilizer made for St. Augustine grass would usually have a first number that is higher than the other two.

In some cases, a good fertilizer for this grass may not even need to contain any phosphorous or potassium. Depending on the soil, it may only need nitrogen. This type of fertilizer is often referred to as an incomplete fertilizer.

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Homeowners who plant St. Augustine grass may choose to test the soil to find out the levels of phosphates and potassium. If the level of phosphates is low, the fertilizer may need to contain this nutrient. Similarly, if the potassium levels in the soil are low, the fertilizer will usually need to contain this nutrient as well. Fertilizers that contain all three of these nutrients are often referred to as complete fertilizers.

There are a few different methods for spreading fertilizer for St. Augustine grass. Some can be simply attached to a garden hose and sprayed on. Powder fertilizers are also available, which can either be sprinkled on or mixed with water before applying. Granular fertilizer is another popular option. These pellets are often much slower acting than other types of fertilizers since they are time released, but there is also less chance of fertilizer burn.

Fertilizer should be applied when the St. Augustine grass is actively growing. This usually occurs in the spring, after all threats of frost have passed. Afterward, the grass can then be fertilized every four to six weeks. Grass should also not be fertilized during periods of stress, such as droughts.

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