Fertilizer normally has three numbers on the bag – for example, 34-3-8. The first number is the nitrogen percentage, the second number is the phosphorus percentage, and the third number is potassium.
Nitrogen makes the grass green and makes it grow, while phosphorus promotes flowering and seed growth, and potassium promotes a better root system.
Our Lowcountry soils normally have an abundance of phosphorus, so the middle number can be very low and that is sufficient. Centipede lawns do not need – nor do they like – a lot of nitrogen, so a good fertilizer ratio for centipede would be a 15-0-15 or 10-10-10. St. Augustine, Zoysia, and Bermuda lawns like more nitrogen, so a higher nitrogen level like 24-5-11 or 34-3-8 is fine for these grasses.
It is strongly recommended that you know the square footage of your lawn, because the fertilizer bag tells you how many square feet it covers.
Late spring is a good time to prune your shrubs, after the spring bloom. If you have plants that are struggling or getting very unhealthy, it is a good time to do a severe pruning and cut them back to help promote new growth.
This is also the time of year to plant grass seed. Seeding your lawn is not an easy process and the results are usually minimal. Our soil temperature must be above 70 degrees for the seeds to germinate, and we normally get above 70 degrees soil temperature around mid- to late April.
We have had sufficient rainfall so far this spring, and no irrigation has been needed up to now. A good rule of thumb to follow is to water two times per week when our temperature is in the 80s, and three times per week when temperatures are in the 90s.
Mark Deloach is the owner of Lawn Doctor of Beaufort County.