You will live this step-by-step guide if you want to know when to fertilize lawn in Texas.
But first, let me introduce Texas to you.
Texas is a state in the United States that covers the south-central segment of the country.
If we talk about the area, it is the second-largest U.S state after Alaska. It extends around 1000 miles from north to south.
With this, it is time to talk about agriculture in Texas.
Agriculture in Texas:
Land and Soil:
In the southeast, we have fertile and densely populated coastal plains.
In the same way, we have mountains and high planes in the northwest and west.
Do you know that Texas has the highest agricultural revenue after California? Now, let’s talk about soil.
You can find different types of soils in Texas:
East Texas: Tan and grey topsoil cover the red subsoil.
Upper and middle Texas coast: The soil is loamy or black clay.
Southern Texas: Sandy soil.
Note: The soil colour indicates the presence of minerals and organic matter content. The table below will help you understand this:
|Soil Colour:||Soil characteristics:|
|Red||Shows good drainage and high organic matter.|
|Brown||Shows moderate organic matter and iron oxides.|
|Black||Shows a high level of organic matter.|
|Green or Grey||Shows poor drainage, waterlogging and lack of air in the soil.|
To summarise, you will find sandy, tan-coloured and red soils in western North Central Plain.
Plus, we have reddish and dark brown clay loams and sandy loams in high planes (to the west).
All this is extremely important to know because the soil will determine the type of fertilizer you use.
Now, let’s talk about fertilizing your lawn in Texas.
When to Fertilize Lawn in Texas:
Overview: Before fertilizing your lawn in Texas, conduct a soil test. Then, the first application should take place in early spring. Use a slow-release high nitrogen fertilizer at this stage.
Here’s a thing.
Fertilizing your lawn in Texas can be tricky.
This is because it depends on multiple factors. For example:
- Type of grass
- Condition of your lawn
The idea is that if your lawn is already greener and lush, the amount of fertilizer you add will be lower.
But if your lawn is spotty, you may need to fertilize it more regularly.
So, let’s talk about this in detail.
- Conduct a soil test.
This is the first thing that you should do.
A soil test will help you understand the condition of your soil. As a result, you can make better decisions with the fertilizers you use.
- The first application should take place in early spring.
Note that this can vary due to the weather in Texas.
In general, apply spring fertilizer when the grass is actively growing.
Some sources also recommend fertilizing your lawn twice during spring. This is because of the grass growth at this stage.
- Apply a slow-release high nitrogen fertilizer at this stage.
Slow-release fertilizer provides a steady and even nutrient distribution.
To fulfil the nitrogen deficiency, you can use fertilizers high in nitrogen such as 34-0-0.
At this stage, a moderate amount of phosphorus is required. A high amount of phosphorus can damage your plant as well.
- In summers, you should perform two applications.
We have already discussed the heat in Texas earlier.
To protect your lawn from heat stress, these applications are important.
In other words, summer applications protect your lawn from drought, heat, insects and diseases.
Amazing, isn’t it?
- The next application should take place in the fall.
This should be around early to mid-September.
Note that delaying it for long can cause winter injury. Fertilizer application at this stage leads to root stabilization.
This protects your lawn during the looming winter months.
Note: If you want to use herbicides to deal with weeds, use them in spring and fall.
Now the question is, what should I do in winter?
- Early winter fertilization can protect your lawn from the upcoming colder months.
At this stage, a fertilizer high in potassium is recommended. Note that potassium allows the uptake of water and nitrogen.
- Throughout this process, you should water your lawn properly.
This will “activate” the fertilizer, providing the nutrients to the lawn.
In other words, watering ensures that the nutrients are available through the roots.
The important macronutrients required by your lawn are:
- Nitrogen: It ensures that energy is available for the plant for growth.
It also increases the production of the chlorophyll molecule. This molecule allows plants to make their food through photosynthesis.
- Phosphorus: It regulates protein production inside the plant.
It encourages flower production and improves root and stem growth.
- Potassium: It helps with drought resistance by reducing water loss.
This is because it is responsible for the movement of water, carbohydrates and nutrients.
When to fertilize lawn in Texas? Well, you have the answer now.
Now, let’s talk about the climate of Texas to better understand this topic.
Climate of Texas:
This topic will help you understand the fertilization process.
So let’s get straight into it.
- In the northwest, the climate is continental. Can you guess what this means?
This means that there is moderate precipitation, mostly in the warmer months. In simple words, continental climates have great temperature variations.
- The climate in other areas is subtropical.
Note that a humid subtropical climate refers to humid, hot summers and mild winters.
In the lowlands, the temperature is usually high.
If we move to the East, the weather is muggy (unpleasantly warm and humid). There are similar conditions along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.
Moving to the West, the weather gets drier. And, it gets less hot at high altitudes.
Throughout the year, the temperature varies from 39°F to 96°F.
Do you know that the highest temperature ever recorded in Texas was 120 degrees?
So you have to remember this before fertilizing your lawn in Texas.
Now, let’s talk about fall.
During this time, Texas experiences plenty of sunshine.
You should know that the temperature can reach 70 to 75 degrees in October.
Moving on, note that winter can be crucial for your lawn.
In the northwest, winter is mild. But, your lawn can experience short bursts of cold air as well.
In the central-southern part, snowfall is rare. Note that the lowest temperature ever recorded in Texas was -23 degrees.
This was not a good period for lawns, right?
Rainfall and Sunshine:
As I mentioned above, rainfall is extremely important.
It helps to flush the roots. As a result, roots take up fresh nitrogen.
Here’s what you should know.
- The western part of Texas is arid.
But, the eastern part is rainy. The rainfall can exceed 1200 mm (47 inches).
In the central belt, you will find 750 to 850 mm (29.5 / 33.5 inches) of rainfall per year. This includes cities like Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, etc.
Note that hurricanes can bring abundant rainfall. The hurricane season runs from June to November.
- The western part of Texas receives the most sunshine (around 3750 hours of sunshine per year.)
The northwest receives 3300 hours of sunshine.
The south-eastern part is the least sunny (around the Gulf of Mexico). It receives 2600 hours of sunshine per year.
Note: Sunshine encourages strong growth and allows the grass to process nutrients.
Amazing, isn’t it?
Types of Grass in Texas Lawns:
As I mentioned above, fertilizing your lawn will depend on the type of grass.
Here are some of the most common grass types in Texas.
This is warm-season turf grass.
This means that its growing season starts in late spring, and continues throughout summer.
For centipede grass, the best time for fertilizer application is a few weeks after “green up“.
Note: The beginning of the growing season is known as “green up”.
It performs best in acidic soils found in East Texas.
Remember that centipede grass does not require a high amount of fertilizer.
You can use a phosphorus-free fertilizer, such as 15-0-15, as high phosphorus can decrease iron levels.
Point to remember: 15-0-15 shows the N-P-K ratio. NPK simply shows the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
In simple words, this fertilizer has 15% Nitrogen, 0% Phosphorus and 15% potassium.
Note that it is a heat-tolerant grass that requires a low amount of nutrients. It performs best in acidic soils found in East Texas.
With this, it is time to talk about buffalo grass.
It is a good warm-season lawn grass with strong turf and cold resistance.
These features make this grass popular in Texas lawns:
- It is Drought tolerant and disease resistant.
- Lush green colour
Due to its cold resistance, it stays green even in winters. And since it is drought tolerant, it can be grown in the full sun.
You should sow this grass in April or May. Note that May and September are the busiest growing months.
In spring, the grass should be fertilized with 1 pound (0.5 kg) of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet.
It is warm-season grass. Plus, it is sensitive to cold temperatures.
This grass produces a dense turf that is adapted to the climate and soils of Texas. The best part?
It is drought-resistant as well!
Ormond, Tifway and Tiflawn are some varieties of Bermuda grass. But here are some points that you should consider about this grass.
- It requires maintenance.
So, you should try to mow this grass 2-3 times a week.
- It requires a high amount of fertilizers for the best growth.
- It has a bad shade and cold tolerance.
Over here, note that they have poor tolerance to many insects and diseases.
If you want to grow this amazing grass on your lawn, 2-6 fertilizer applications should take place from spring to fall.
There is a danger of late-season frost if you fertilize the grass too early. In the same way, applying too late is also not recommended.
Now, let’s talk about zoysia grass.
This warm-season grass is heat and drought-tolerant.
Since it is a warm-season grass, it should be grown in late spring and summer. This grass is commonly found in Texas.
Although it is more costly than Bermuda grass, it grows well in various weather conditions and soil types.
Zoysia grass can turn brown in winter. But, it stays green for more time than the other warm-season grasses. You should mow this grass to 11 inches on average.
To fulfil the nitrogen requirement, NPK 30-0-4 is used for the best development. This grass can be grown in a soil pH of 5.8 to 7.0.
Here’s when to fertilize zoysia grass:
Fertilizer should be applied in 3-6 applications, starting from spring “green up”. If you apply Nitrogen early, frost may damage the grass.
If we talk about fertilizers, you can use NPK 15-0-5, 15-0-15 and 15-0-10.
To recap, N-P-K shows the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Here are some general recommendations.
The NPK 12-4-8 fertilizer leads to better growth and a pest-free lawn. This is because the nutrients increase the greenery of your lawn and protect your lawn from diseases.
Now, let’s talk about iron sulfate.
It maintains the greenery of your lawn without causing excessive growth. The application of the iron sulfate should take place during the hottest months of summer.
With this, our topic “when to fertilize lawn in Texas” has come to an end.
To recap, we discussed the climate of Texas along with the types of grass.
Now I turn it over to you. Which part of this topic did you enjoy reading the most?
Do let me know. And if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch. Stay tuned for more.