Monday, May 5, 2014

Watching Grass Grow: Feeding the Buffalo

Adding Amendments

Buffalo grass does not need or tolerate much fertilizer. Mine was last fertilized when we planted the plugs in March of 2009. 

However, it does do better with some help dealing with the alkaline desert dirt.  I applied about 20 pounds of soil sulfur and 15 pounds of Ironite, sprinkled evenly over the 1200 square feet. The sulfur lowers the pH a bit, freeing minerals that are locked up in the alkaline dirt. The Ironite is because our dirt is low in iron.

I made a large shaker jar to use for applying the granular amendments. It's a recycled roasted nut jar with 3/8 inch holes drilled in half of the lid. I can weigh the jar and contents and know I'm not overdosing the grass on nitrogen. 

Upcycled, recycled, totally cheap fertilizer applicator.

TIP: Weigh out half the amendment and walk back and forth, shaking out the contents of the jar as you walk. Then sprinkle the other half, going at right angles to your first path. It gives a more even distribution. Then water the lawn thoroughly to dissolve the granules into the soil.

How much fertilizer? 

Several university websites recommend lightly fertilizing Buffalo grass with 1 lb "effective nitrogen" per 1000 square feet after the grass has greened up. A slow-release fertilizer would be best.

TIP: Apply fertilizer AFTER you see the lawn start to green up. If you apply it before then it encourages weeds, it does not speed up the process of "greening up". says 5 lb of Amminium Sulfate would do it. I applied about 3 pounds last week, and may apply the remaining two pounds later.

CAUTION: Do not use the "Weed and Feed" type fertilizers that combine herbicides or pre-emergents with fertilizer. They will damage your buffalo grass lawn. 

No comments: