Grass fertilizer

Asked March 17, 2014, 11:26 PM EDT

Hi,I live in Grand Prairie, Texas zip 75052. I hope you can answer my questions asap because I will be putting down the Zoysia Empire in front yard and St. Augustine Palmetto in back yard in a few days. 1. What ratio of N-P-K of starter fertilizer would be best for both sods and when can I apply it to both new sods and how often?2. Maybe after a month, hopefully the sods have rooted, what ratio of N-P-K of fertilizer would be best for both sods and what is the schedule month to apply the fertilizer on both sods.3. Can I use from the same fertilizer brand and same ratio N-P-K for both sods or the Empire requirement is different from the Palmetto?4. Is an organic fertilizer better than synthetic fertilizer for my grass? if so which one? or does not matter.5. How much hours of directly sunlight do the Empire and the Palmetto need? and can the Empire handles as much shade as the Palmetto?

Tarrant County Texas lawns and turf soil and fertility issues

9 Responses

Lots of good questions, do my best to answer them. I have a couple of questions for you first though? Why two different types of turf instead of just one? Have you taken a soil sample to see what levels of nutrients you have in the soil?
1. I dont suggest a starter feertilizer as such, my suggestion would be to till in some good organic matter and level the yard before laying sod? 2. The ratio of fertilizer is dependent on what the soil sample says but without one I would probably suggest a 3-1-1 or 3-1-2 ration for fertilizer.
St. Augustine is a cool season grass so the fert dates would be 4/15, 6/15 and 10/1 on a normal year.
Zoysia is more a warm season grass so fert dates on it are about the same, maybe skipping the june application during a drought.
3. you should be able to use the same fert on either grass.
4. Organic vs Inorganic, its really a matter of your own feeling. The plants dont know the difference as they convert the nitrogen into nitrates eitehr way.
5. Both grasses will do best with a minimum of 6 hrs direct sunlight each day. the palmetto is marginally more shade tolerant.
Hope that helped? Good luck on your sod!!

thanks for a quick response! You asked why 2 different kind of sod and have I taken a soil test? My back yard has 3 trimmed live oak trees so certain area far from trees gets 6 hrs of direct sunlight, other area closer to trees get 3-4 hrs direct sunlight. Reason I picked Palmetto because of shade in back yard. Front yard gets 5-7 hrs of sunlight so I picked Empire Zoysia. I want to go with the Empire for back yard but afraid it won't survive the shade. I am in the process getting a soil test. Can the Empire and Palmetto successfully grow in Grand Prairie texas area and is it suitable for my area? Given the amount of shade I have in back yard do you think the Empire will survive? If not what type of sod would have the high success rate of survival fort area? What is your opinion between the Empire, st Augustine palmetto, captiva and sapphire in term of good looking, and quality sod and best for shade? Thx

Empire will likely struggle a bit with only 3-4 hrs of sun where palmetto will be happier. You might try some selective pruning of the tree to let in a little more light , even just an hour or so a day will help, They both are suitable for your area and shouldnt have any issue. Palmetto would be my choice, there is some evidence that captiva is more susceptible to chinch bugs and sapphire likes a tad bit more sun although it is gorgeous color.

Steve thanks for the responses! They were great and very helpful. 3 Questions. 1. Are the Captiva and the Sapphire St Augustine can be grown in zip code 75052 (grand prairie, tx) and are they suitable to my area? 2. Among the Zoysias that are suitable in my area, do you know the name of varieties can handle 3-4 hours of sun light similar to Palmetto St Augustine? 3. Is scalping the Empire Zoysia or any Zoysia required in Spring and what month in Spring can it be done?

1) They should grow well here with out any problem.
2) Of all of the shade tolerant Zoysias, here are the most shade tolerant:Zeon, Cavalier, Diamond, Royal, Zorro, Emerald, Shadowturf, . Some may not be available in our area? Shadowturf is a new one from Lubbock. Emerald and Zorro would be my choice for most shade tolerant.
3) I rarely recommend scalping, with proper care they shouldnt need it!!

Thank you for the responds! You have been very helpful. I have 2 more questions.
1. My soil test came back and the pH is 8.0 so it is on the moderate high of alkaninity for my Empire Zoysia. They did not give any recommendation what I should do to lower it on the report. What's the ideal pH for zoysia and what can I do or put down to lower it and how much and will it hurt the grass? The grass is only 3 wks old and on the side of the house gets moderate shade some grass still not take root there.
2. It has been 3 wks some grass on the side of the house still have not taken root and I hand water daily any idea? In other open area have taken root.

There is not alot you can do to change soil pH over the long run, there are lots of things that will change it for a week or so? You really just have to accept it and keep it in your mind when choosing plants. The zoysia will be fine in that pH, ideally it would prefer something closeer to 6.8 or so but thats what you have and you just have to work with it.
As long as its still green, it will take longer to get roots started because of the cooler temps and not as much sun. Just keep it moist but not to wet and it should be ok.


Thanks for the quick response!Sorry I keep coming back with more questions. I have few more questions.
1. I looked at the soil test report again and it shows fert recommendation as 0.8lbs for N, 2.1lbs for P and 0.25lbs for Sulfur per 1000sqft. since my pH = 8.0 and you have said to me it is fine with Empire Zoysia and nothing I can do to lower it. But my report says to use 0.25lbs of Sulfur, is it OK to put down the Sulfur on 4 wks old Zoysia and not hurt it? or don't put it down, it will not lower the pH to at least 7.0, am I just waisting money?
2. What do you recommend the N-P-K ratio in the fall moths between Oct-Dec for the Empire Zoysia?
3. I have been watering the grass and not put anything down yet. Is it OK to put down one time the Scotts starter fertilizer with 24-25-4 to help the roots grow faster or not neccessary nor just use the regular fertilizer like 5-2-0?

I think it might be easier on us both if you would just give me a call at the office and I can try and answer all your questions at once. Please call me at 817 884-1945 from 9-5 M-F.
In answer to your question, the sulfur will not hurt anything and it will definitely not lower your pH to 7.0

I would not use a fertilizer till at least the end of May and then a very light one at that.