By Pat Naughton
Summer is a good time for fertilizing warm season grasses common in Brunswick County. A soil sample is recommended to determine fertilizer needs. The first step is to obtain a soil sample box and form. These are available at the following locations in Brunswick County:
Cooperative Extension Office, Building N, Brunswick County Government Complex
Sunset Beach 28468
Ace Hardware, 9030 Beach Drive, Calabash
Ace Hardware, 117 Village Road, Leland
Scott’s Farm/Jack’s Farm Center, 4471 Main Street, Shallotte
Lowes of Shallotte, 351 Whiteville Road, Shallotte
Green Resources, 2407 Ocean Highway, Shallotte
Lowes of Southport, 5084 Southport/Supply Road, Southport
Mulch & More, Highway 17 South, 39 Edgewood Ln, Winnabow
Obtain samples throughout the lawn by cutting the grass with a shovel and pulling the sod back. Take a few inches of soil below the sod. Mix the soil and fill the sample box to the required level. Samples can be drop off dropped at NC Cooperative Extension, 25 Referendum Dr, Bolivia. There is a small charge during peak season but is free at other times. If you picked up the soil sample box at a store, ask about any charges for shipping. Results are typically available in a few weeks.
Fertilizer recommendations are given in pounds of Nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. Pace off the boundary lines to determine the total square feet of lawn. An average step is about 3 feet. To apply 1 lb of Nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. Divide 100 by the first number of the fertilizer type. For example, if using 5-5-15 this would be 20 lbs of fertilizer per 1000 sq.ft. For a recommendation of ½ lb of Nitrogen divide 50 by the first number.
Here are a few general recommendations for specific types of grasses common in Brunswick County when a soil sample indicates adequate or excess phosphorus in the soil:
Centipede – This low maintenance grass needs one application of fertilizer a year. Fertilize at a rate of ½ lb of N/1000 sq.ft. Using an 8-0-24 fertilizer is recommended.
Zoysia – Fertilize at a rate of ½ lb of N/1000 sq.ft. each month from May to August. A 5-0-15 fertilizer is recommended.
St. Augustine – Fertilize with 5-0-15 at a rate of ½ lb of N/1000 sq.ft. in June and 1 lb of N/1000 July. Apply 8-0-24 at a rate of ½ lb of N/1000 sq.ft. in August.
Bermuda – Fertilize with 5-0-15 at a rate of 1 lb N/1000 sq.ft. during the months of May through August.
If a soil sample has not been obtained, then use a balanced fertilizer. A balanced fertilizer has all the same numbers, like 10-10-10.
For more information about lawn fertilization, visit http://ces.ncsu.edu, where you can post your questions via the ‘Ask an Expert’ link, http://www.turffiles.ncsu.edu, or contact the Brunswick County Extension office, 253-2610.