Do I Re-Apply My Fertilizer After All These Rains?
Glub, Glub!!! Had enough rain lately? It's official that (depending on the source) this is the wettest April we've ever experienced in Houston. How about that for feast or famine? Just two short months ago we were talking about "how far behind" we were for our normal rainfall totals since Hurricane Ike.
Between April 17th and April 29th many parts of the KTRH listening received an unbelievable amount or rain. For example, the Pearland area incurred roughly 15-17 inches, and even more as unofficial totals, during that time frame.
The topic that dominated last weekend's program, thanks to all this rain, was about whether to re-apply your fertilizer (if you're following my schedule after the recent deluge. There is some good news and bad news in all this. The good news for those folks who put down their April fertilization, when they were suppose to, they don't have to re-apply. But for anyone who put it down and within 48 hours experienced Mother Nature's inundation, then you probably need to re-apply. For those that do need to re-apply, the good news is that you can re-apply at half the dose you previously applied. So, if it took you 2 bags last application, then it will take only 1 this time.
If you're still a bit confused, let me see if I can muddy-it up for you a bit more
err, uhm, I mean clarify it a bit more.
Let's assume you followed the schedule correctly, applied in early April (as advised), then you had well over two weeks for the fertilizer to start breaking down and working. Thus, the heavy downpours probably had little effect on further dilution. And because of that it didn't likely flush a great percentage away.
On the other hand, for the masses that seemed to apply days or even hours before the April 17th/18th torrential rain. Not only did the dilution happen at hyper-speed (not all together a good thing) there was assuredly a serious run-off. So, if half of the fertilizer is gone, for the sake of argument, then we need to re-apply at half the dose we did previously.
For those who are not familiar with my Spreader Settings tip sheet, this may still not be making any sense, but for those who are familiar with the NOTCH OR TWO ABOVE HALF-WAY method, then you'll know to cut it to A NOTCH OR TWO ABOVE ONE-QUARTER. Aggie math translation: If your spreader had 20 settings, and you applied at 11-12 per the instructions originally, you are now applying at 6-7.
If you applied early in April, and everything looks great, you really can wait a few more weeks to re-apply, just bump up the summer application by two to three weeks. If you want to re-apply anyway at this juncture, just make double-darn sure you wait at least 60 days before your next application.
Did you notice how exceptionally green the grass appeared immediately after the hard rains? That was Mother Nature and the fertilizer working in concert to give you a quick green up. The pH of typical rain is slightly acid. (No, not acid rain, I'm just talking about the pH rating) Most fertilizers, especially the ones on my schedule, have adequate sources of iron for greening up purposes. That slightly acid water, compared to our predominantly neutral irrigation, allows the iron to be picked up quicker.
For those who don't follow the synthetic schedule, are now asking, "How does this apply, if I'm using the Organic Fertilization Schedule?"
Well, there are two schools of thought. 1. Follow all the instructions above per the synthetic schedule, because the fact is, if you applied right before all the rains, a good percentage did get flushed away. 2. Organic die-hards will tell you that since their products break down at a much more controlled rate; their product is still mostly there. Frankly, after 12 inches of rain in two weeks, ain't much still there, if you ask me. But, that's just my opinion.
Whether you are using the organic or synthetic schedule, if cost is the driving concern, then by all means hang in there until the next application. Remember, there is still some fertilizer there, with the exception of those places that may have gotten over 10 inches in one week. For those who put down the fertilizer a week or two before April 17th, you are in the clear. Most of that fertilizer is dissolved and working well enough to hold on for sure until the next application per the schedule.
For those who don't really care about the added cost, but are more concerned with maintaining a lush green turf, then by all means re-apply, but again do it at the reduced percentage. For those who, for whatever reason, have yet to do their April fertilization, you are living a charmed life, because you couldn't ask for a better time, following all these rains to get the application down and watch it go to work immediately. And if you're new to GardenLine and are pondering whether you missed the window, this is a perfect example of "It's never too late to do the right thing."
Saturday Appearance Buds & Blossoms Nursery
This Saturday, if the weather cooperates, we will be doing a GardenLine appearance at Buds and Blossoms Nursery on Cypress North Houston a block west of Huffmeister. This visit is courtesy of Living Earth Technology, and as such we will be giving away two pallets worth of their new Houston Mulch product. If you want to know how to score a couple of bags for free, tune in to the radio show this Saturday. Besides the mulch we have countless other freebies, from Bionic Garden Gloves to free samples of Micro Life organic fertilizer.
If you're interested in quality color (flats of flowers and 1 gallon specimens) then you will get to see in person what I've been talking about for years. This is where I get most of my color, because they grow their own. Again, the appearance is from 11-1 this Saturday, May 2nd. We'll see you there!
Until next issue, here's to Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard exclusively, 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. Sundays, only on NewsRadio 740 KTRH.
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