North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Caring for your Lawn
and the Environment

Reduce runoff and trap pollutants with a healthy yard! Use care when gardening to protect streams, rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters.


Fertilizer Facts

Fertilizer labels always display three numbers in the same order, (i.e. 10-6-4). They represent the % by weight of three important nutrients:

Example: A 40 lb. bag of 10-6-4 fertilizer has: 10% nitrogen (4 lbs.), 6% phosphate (2.4 lbs. of P), and 4% potash (1.6 lbs. of K)


Fertilizer Rates

A typical lawn feeding is 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1000 square feet.

Here are some common lawn fertilizer formulations and the amount of each needed for 1 lb. of nitrogen:

Fertilizer bag reads:

Amount needed for 1 lb.
of nitorgen*:

6-2-0

17 lbs.

10-10-10

10 lbs.

14-3-6

7 lbs.

20-5-5

5 lbs.

26-3-4

4 lbs.

35-3-5

3 lbs.

*Rounded to nearest pound

For other formulations, follow this example using a fertilizer labeled 24-6-6:


Nitrogen Fertilizer Guide for Lawns

 

Monthly application ratea

lb nitrogen/

Turf

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

Ab

S

O

N

D

1,000 sq ft/yr

Bahiagrass

       

1/2

 

1/2

         

1

Bermudagrass

       

1

1

1

1

       

4.0

Centipedegrassc

         

1/2

           

1/2

Fescue, tall

 

1/2 to 1

           

1

 

1

 

2.5 to 3

Kentucky bluegrass

 

1/2 to 1

           

1

 

1

 

2.5 to 3

Kentucky bluegrass/
fine fescue

 

1/2 to 1

           

1

 

1

 

2.5 to 3

Kentucky bluegrass/
tall fescue

 

1/2 to 1

           

1

 

1

 

2.5 to 3

Kentucky bluegrass/
tall fescue/fine fescue

 

1/2 to 1

           

1

 

1

 

2.5 to 3

Kentucky bluegrass/
perennial ryegrass

 

1/2 to 1

           

1

 

1

 

2.5 to 3

St. Augustinegrass

       

1/2

1/2

1

1/2

       

2.5

Zoysiagrass

     

1/2

 

1/2

 

1/2

       

1.5

a Dates suggested are for the central piedmont. For the west, dates may be 1 to 2 weeks later in the spring and earlier in the fall; for the east, 1 to 2 weeks earlier in the spring and later in the fall.
b In the absence of soil test recommendations, apply about 1 lb of potassium per 1,000 sq ft, using 1.6 lb of muriate of potash (0-0-60), 5 lb of potassium-magnesium sulfate (0-0-22), or 2 lb of potassium sulfate (0-0-50) to bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, and zoysiagrass.
c Centipedegrass should be fertilized very lightly after establishment. An additional fertilization in August may enhance centipedegrass performance in coastal locations. Avoid using any phosphorus on centipedegrass after establishment.

Control Erosion

In North Carolina, sediment is our biggest water quality problem.


Lawn Fertilizer

Excess nutrients damage the waters of North Carolina. Follow these tips to make sure you apply only the fertilizer you need.


Mowing Guide

The proper mowing height reduces weed competition and promotes healthy grass growth.

Centipedegrass

— 1

Tall fescue

2 — 3

Perennial ryegrass

1 — 2

Kentucky bluegrass

1 — 2

Fine fescue

1 — 2

Bermudagrass

— 1

Zoysiagrass

— 1

Lawn Mower


Watering

Watering Can


Urban and Suburban Lawns

Cement, gutters, and storm drains! Water that moves into storm drains dumps directly into streams. Fertilizers, oil, and weed-, insect-, and fungus-killers can all move into our waters through the storm drain system.


Have a lawn or garden question? Contact the Master Gardeners at your local County Cooperative Extension Service office or use the Web:
http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/TurfFiles/home.html


By: D.L. Osmond, Soil Science Department, Extension Specialist and A.H. Bruneau, Crop Science Department, Extension Specialist, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, Raleigh, NC. Adapted from Help the Chesapeake Bay by P. Riucciuti and L.L. May, University of Maryland at College Park, Cooperative Extension Service, Home and Garden Information Center.

NC STATE UNIVERSITY