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Posts Tagged: fertilization

Fertilizing Plants in Arizona

In Arizona, fertilizing your plants can mean the difference between a lush green landscape and a bland collection of half-dead trees and shrubs.  But don’t just grab the first bag of fertilizer you find at the home improvement store; understanding what fertilizers are is just as important and fertilizing.

What are fertilizers?

Fertilizers are any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of the plant.

Fertilizers typically provide, in varying proportions;

Only three other macronutrients are needed by all plants: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. These nutrients are supplied by water and carbon dioxide.

Forms of Fertilizers

Fertilizers come in various forms, divided into organic or inorganic. Plants can only absorb their required nutrients if they are present in easily dissolved chemical compounds. Both organic and inorganic fertilizers provide the same needed chemical compounds. Organic fertilizers provided other macro and micro plant nutrients and are released as the organic matter decays.

The most common solid fertilizer is a granulated or powdered form. The second most common form is liquid fertilizer; some advantages of liquid fertilizer are its immediate effect and wide coverage.

Slow Release forms

Slow-release fertilizers reduce the problem of “burning” the plants due to excess nitrogen. Polymer coating of fertilizer ingredients gives tablets and spikes a ‘true time-release’ or ‘staged nutrient release’ (SNR) of fertilizer nutrients.

Can you over-fertilize your plants in Arizona?

Yes! You can over use plant fertilizer. Over-fertilization of a vital nutrient can be as detrimental as not fertilizing at all. Over-fertilizing or “Fertilizer burn” can dry out of the leaves and damage or even kill the plant. So if you are going to fertilize make sure you read all the directions before starting the process.

Organic fertilizers and their benefits

Organic fertilizers include naturally occurring organic materials, (e.g. chicken litter, manure, worm castings, compost, seaweed, guano) or naturally occurring mineral deposits. Poultry litter and cattle manure often create environmental and disposal problems, making their use as fertilizers very beneficial. Organic fertilizers have been known to help soil life and long-term productivity of soil.

Comparison with inorganic fertilizer

Organic fertilizer nutrient content, solubility, and nutrient release rates are typically all lower than inorganic fertilizers. In general, the nutrients in organic fertilizer are both more dilute and also much less readily available to plants. Nevertheless they are at least as effective as inorganic (chemical) fertilizers over longer periods of use.

More recently, organic fertilizers are on the rise as people are trying to use environmental friendly products. Although organic fertilizers usually contain a lower concentration of nutrients, this lower concentration avoids complication of nitrogen burn harming the plants. In addition, organic fertilizers such as compost and worm castings break down slowly into complex organic structures which build the soil’s structure and moisture- and nutrient-retaining capabilities.

Inorganic fertilizers almost always readily dissolve and unless added have few other macro and micro plant nutrients. You see results faster when the inorganic fertilizers are used.  

When it comes to fertilizing plants in Arizona,

Lawn Care Tips

Fertilizing your lawn

Pick up a drop spreader – this helps spread the fertilizer evenly throughout the lawn. It also helps drop the fertilizer granules to the bottom (closest to the roots). Make sure you change the settings to adjust the amount of fertilizer that you are spreading in the lawn. Measure the square footage of your lawn before you go out and by a granulated fertilizer. Make sure the fertilizer is a good-quality product. Remember if it is cheap it is probably not worth buying, that’s not to say spending a large amount of money on fertilizer will insure a lush green lawn.  Most fertilizer bags have directions on them to let you know how much to use, be sure to read the directions ALL the way through.

Tips when fertilizing;

  • When you walk with the drop spreader walk at a normal pace
  • Be sure to overlap the wheels to avoid any yellow strips or spotting.
  • Be sure to close the drop spreader when you get to the end, you don’t want to fertilize any gravel areas. You will get unwanted weeds.
  • Fertilize along your lawns edging, if you have a bordered edge be sure to keep one wheel on the edge.
  • Never fertilize a drought stressed lawn (brown dry lawn) You want the lawn to be dry when you apply the fertilizer but that just means don’t run your sprinklers before you fertilize.
  • Always, always water your lawn after you fertilize.  This helps the granules get into the soil and down to the roots.

 

Cutting your Lawn

There are quite a few different type of grass and all types should be cut at different heights.  The types include but are not limited to; Bermuda, Rye, and St. Augustine.

Cutting tips:

  1. Never mow more then 1/3 of the leaf blade off at one time.
  2. Never let your lawn grow really tall before cutting it.
  3. Mowing once a week is best but can be done bi-weekly as well.

Grass height recommendations

  •  Bermuda Grass  – cut grass 1 to 2 inches high
  •  Rye Grass  (winter)– cut grass 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches high
  •  St. Augustine – cut grass 2 to 4 inches high. If grass only gets mowed every 2 weeks mow closer to the 2 inch height.

 

Weed control in your lawn

Treat your lawn with herbicides to control the weeds. Herbicides like pre-emergent inhibit weed growth. If you already have weeds in your lawn use an herbicide that contains carfentrozone, this will kill the weed without killing your grass. It is very important to buy the correct herbicide or you will end up killing your lawn.

If you are allergic to some herbicides you can always use a natural or organic product. These products do work well but take more time to work.

 

Watering your Lawn

Watering early in the morning is best for your lawn. Watering in the morning helps with absorption and prevents water from sitting on the lawn causing the lawn to mold or fungi.  Make sure your lawn is receiving plenty of water so your roots can grow strong. If your lawn is not getting enough water the roots will be shallow and dry out quickly.

  • Summer watering for Bermuda and St. Augustine – 12- 15 minutes per day with 2 days off.
  • Winter Rye watering – 7-8 minutes a day with 2 days off.
  • Do not water lawn on the same day you cut the lawn.

Example:

Sunday – Cut and edge lawn, No Water

Monday – Water On

Tuesday – Water On

Wednesday – No Water

Thursday – Water On

Friday – Water On

Saturday – Water On

Lawn Transitions

A Beautiful lawn doesn’t happen by itself

Dormant grass

In about 2 – 3 weeks we will start to transition your lawns for Summer, we start once the temperatures at night have consistently been at least 65 degrees. You may be starting to notice your grass changing color; your grass does this because the winter grass (Rye grass) is wilting from the temperature change. If you do see signs of the color change please do not panic and most importantly do not start “over watering” your lawn. If you start to over water your lawn because it is starting to look brown you will make it harder to transition back to your Summer grass (Bermuda).

 

Bermuda Grass

Once we have started the transition you will notice slight changes to your lawn maintenance. We will start by cutting your grass down so that only about 1/3 of the leaf blade is left. We will rake out all the dead grass and debris from the lawn.  By removing the dead grass we will make sure that the sunlight reaches deep into the soil to absorb the nutrients. The warm temperatures and the sunlight are key in making the transition smooth and effective. After we fertilize your lawn we will change the water schedule. The grass will be watered twice a week for about 15-20 minutes. By adding more water it will encourage your lawn to grow again. Once your lawn has begun to sprout we will apply ironite to help it green up.