If the unseasonably warm weather has you thinking about fertilizing your yard, our spring shipment of Gaddy’s Brown Bag Fertilizer is here. If you’re new to Pflugerville you may not have heard about our Brown Bag Fertilizer, so let me tell you a little bit about it. Over 25 years ago, my in-laws, Frank and Lynn, were searching for a fertilizer that would work well for the alkaline clay soil in our area. They wanted a slow-release nitrogen formula with added sulfur, iron and micronutrients. Unfortunately the only products they found that fit the bill also had a steep price tag. Not ones to be deterred, Frank and Lynn decided to have their own fertilizer made. And because all the money goes into the product and not the packaging, the fertilizer comes in a plain brown bag with an analysis tag. We, and our customers, refer to it as our Brown Bag Special.
The Brown Bag is a 2o-5-10 blend of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. It immediately releases a 15-5-10 ratio which is recommended for lawns, then the extra 5% nitrogen is slowly released, helping your grass stay green longer. The micronutrient package contains sulphur, iron, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. One bag covers 6,000-8,000 sq feet. An average size yard is 4,500-5,000 square feet, so you may even have a bit left over for the next application.
If you are using a chemical fertilizer it is important to use it properly to maximize the benefit to your yard. First thing, don’t fertilize too early. A lawn doesn’t need to be fertilized until it is actively growing in the spring. A good rule of thumb is to fertilizer after you have had to mow your grass at least one time. Your grass can’t really use the fertilizer until it is awake and actively growing. How would you like to eat a huge Thanksgiving meal at 5:30am? Let your lawn wake up and get moving before you feed it.
Fertilize again in the summer only if your yard is green, growing, watered, and healthy. Adding fertilizer to a lawn that is struggling due to summer heat or stress can add to the problem instead of help. Also during summertime avoid fertilizing in the heat of the day to minimize the chance of burning your yard. And always water the fertilizer in well after application. If any fertilizer gets on your sidewalk or driveway, wash or sweep it up to prevent staining.
Many gardeners apply fertilizer in the fall to winterize the yard. Time this feeding to your grass’ needs. Wait for the weather to cool down and for your yard to recover a bit from summer heat stress. As with the first feeding of the year, fertilize in the fall when your grass is actively growing. Use the fall growing season to get your yard fed and healthy before it goes dormant over the winter.
There are also plenty of organic methods available at Gaddy’s to keep your yard fed and healthy. Organics tend to be a bit more pricy, but they help keep your soil healthy as well as provide many longer lasting benefits to your yard’s ecosystem. One of the best things you can do for your yard is to spread some organic matter, like compost, over the grass in early spring. More on organic fertilizers in another post.