I've been invited to be on Channel 11's "Great Day Houston" Friday morning. They wanted to do a whole segment on my Fertilization Schedule
and the importance of an end-of-June feeding.
Recalling my days as a TV producer, I thought it would be best to compile a top 5 list of hows, whys and whens related to this important part of the schedule. So, if you read this before 9 a.m. Friday, you're getting a sneak preview of what I'll be covering on the show.
- Avoid High-Nitrogen Fertilizers - When it's this hot, the higher the nitrogen (the first number in a fertilizer's ratio), the more likely you will attract chinch bugs and burn up grass. Plus, too much nitrogen leads to potential fungal disease problems as early as August and September. This is why I recommend either the controlled-release fertilizers on my schedule or almost anything organic.
- It's Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing! - Presently, we're right on schedule for the late-June/early-July fertilization. If you can't get to it over the next two weeks, by my standard you can still and should get it down by mid-July. "Never too late" is especially true for pre-emergent herbicides. Per the schedule, they should actually have gone down in May.
- No More Excuses — We Aren't in a Drought (yet)! - Many people avoided fertilizing last summer because of the drought, and I understand that. But unless you were on total watering/irrigation restrictions, you still need to fertilize to feed the grass. Otherwise, it will wither away due to lack of nutrients. Most fertilizers only require a five-minute watering-in after application. For tips, check out the "Water Wise" tip sheet we did in December.
- Supplement the Soil! - If you really want to be drought-tolerant or drought-resistant, you must add supplements. Things like compost top dressing, granular humates, or dried molasses will enrich the soil. The more organically enriched the soil is, the deeper the water will penetrate and the deeper the root system grows, automatically making things more drought-tolerant.
- Mow Tall! - This mostly applies to St. Augustine grass, but during a hot summer Bermuda and Zoysia grasses will benefit as well. For St. Augustine, the taller you allow it to get, the more shade it provides to the soil and root system. People who mow St. Augustine too short always seem to have the most yellow-looking yards. Their soil dries out quicker, too, leading to things like chinch bugs.
Most people think they need to treat for chinch bugs in the summer. You only end up with chinch bugs when you have a heat- or drought-stressed yard. Follow the rules above, and you won't get the critters. But if you think you have them, proper identification is key. Many people errantly throw down high-nitrogen fertilizers to green up what they perceive as yellowing grass. Or they apply fungicide. You have to get down close to the lawn and really look for chinch bugs. And if you DO find them, treat three times over two weeks with a liquid insecticide to break the egg cycle. Read last year's tip sheet about an uber chinch bug infestation during a drought
Saturday & Sunday at Moody Gardens Again!
We are broadcasting live from Moody Gardens
in Galveston again this weekend. And just like the last time we did this, we'll be at the Visitors Center of the Rainforest Pyramid on Saturday and at the hotel lobby on Sunday.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on your olfactory senses) we missed the bloom of Morticia, the corpse flower, by one week. But you can still see what it looks like in other stages.
This is my final weekend appearance or live broadcast until sometime in September. So, bring me your plant, insect and disease samples to look at for identification and solutions. Be sure your specimen is in a tightly sealed plastic bag, because we don't want to spread any insects or diseases to the vibrant Moody Gardens.
Of course, I'll have some fun stuff to give away as we clean out our prize closet for the summer. I won't be sure until the last minute, though, if we have any Lemmonhead shirts left. Tune in GardenLine on 740 KTRH early Saturday and Sunday mornings, and I'll run down the list of what we've got.