Lawn Fertilizer Burn – Don’t Burn Your Yard

Question: We have on our lawn or yard fertilizer burn – I think. New St. Augustine grass has just been installed at our house, my husband fertilized it with the “best lawn fertilizer” in his opinion, his own homemade brand!

Can you offer any lawn care advice or tips on fertilizing our yard so we can buy and applying the right fertilizer to our lawn soil – correctly. Liz, Ormond Beach, Florida.


Answer: It’s easy to experience fertilizer burn, especially with a new lawn. Remember grass is a plant, when it is transplanted from one site to another it will experience some shock.

It’s always best to allow some time for the roots to establish themselves before pulling out the drop spreader and fertilizing a new lawn.

One quick start on a new lawn is by using a liquid lawn fertilizer. Keep in mind, the liquid fertilizer is concentrated and can potentially burn lawns just as easily as bagged fertilizer if not applied correctly.

When applying even what you may think is the “best grass fertilizer” to provide nutrients for your plants and lawn soil, first, read the label – and DO NOT APPLY DURING THE HEAT OF THE DAY – it’s another way for the lawn and fertilizer burn to get together.

They are basically fertilizer salts and when they become concentrated in a solid or liquid form a burn can occur.

Watch Out for Homemade Fertilizer

As for homemade lawn fertilizers or homemade organic fertilizers, unless you’re a professional, stay away from trying to “make your own.” It’s not just the green grass that burns but also the roots. Once burned, it can take a long time to grow them back.

For best results in feeding your grass don’t broadcast it by hand, use a fertilizer lawn spreader to help distribute the fertilizer evenly. Make sure that it gets the right amount of fertilizer application, known as n-p-k ratio.

After you’ve “put out the feed”, water it in. Water enough to get the nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus and other elements to the root system.

Roots – Key to a Healthy Lawn

The key to building a healthy lawn, focus on growing a good root zone system.

If you have a strong, active, vigorous root system you’ll have a lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood.

Foliar Feeding

This process requires a period of wait for the plants to absorb all the nutrients provided by the foliar spray before the natural or artificial light goes back. Just make sure that it is not overly concentrated.

Tips for Mowing Grass

Depending on where you liv,e many different grasses may be adapted to your area with each one having its own unique mowing requirements.

St Augustine grass should be cut at 3-4 inches, Bermuda and zoysia cut at 1 – 1.5 inches and centipede not allowed to grow taller than 2 inches. Grass that is actively growing should be cut one per week.

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