Fertilize Your Lawn - Beginner's Guide to Understanding Fertilizer

hey everybody my name is Jason creel and

you're watching the lawn care life today

I'm going to talk to you about

fertilizer I'm gonna show you three

different blends of fertilizer that I'm

using on my lawns that I take care of

and we're gonna talk about it may help

you understand which kind of fertilizer

you should be using the timing how much

to put out things like that when it

comes to fertilizer so let's get started

one of the challenges of me doing we

control and fertilization in my business

is learning how to take care of all the

different lawns and to get everything

done on all the lawns different grass

types which require different types of

fertilizer and there's a lot of timing

involved with Czar's when to do a

specific weed control application or

when would be the best time to fertilize

and that's something you need to

understand and know how to execute if

you're just taking care of your own lawn

but it becomes a challenge when you've

got hundreds of lawns and you're trying

to get them all done in a short amount

of time so let's take a look at the

three different bags of fertilizer

alright so here's three bags of

fertilizer and you can see the the

number on the bag and you may be

familiar with some kind of triple 13

fertilizer if you're you're a homeowner

you say well that's what I go and buy

and I put on my tomato plants or triple

a door

some other common blend that you can get

at a big-box store at a seed and feed

place I buy these fertilizers from

harrell's that's where I get most all my

products from they blend their own

fertilizers first of all let's talk

about the three numbers that you see on

the back so you see there's a

twenty-three five eighteen one nine 3806

so the three numbers one of those means

well you maybe hear them described as

NPK the first number is your nitrogen

the second number is your phosphorus and

the third number is your potassium so

NPK nitrogen just quickly the nitrogen

which is the first number and those

numbers are percentages so you've got a

50-pound bag which is pretty standard

and the first number it means it's

twenty percent nitrogen the you know on

this particular bag of twenty three five

so twenty percent nitrogen three percent

phosphorus five percent potassium you

know thirty-eight percent nitrogen zero

percent phosphorus and six percent

potassium so one of those things

well the nitrogen is is the nut the one

that gets talked about the most that's

typically what makes the leaves grow

that's what helps it to have a greener

color and so usually the higher that

first number is is a lot of times can

mean the greener your grass is going to

be or the less that you have to put out

to achieve that green color the second

number is the phosphorus which has to

deal with with growing strong roots and

then the third one the potassium my

understanding reading a little bit about

the potassium just helps with the the

overall cell structure of the plant

which can help it you know be more

drought tolerant help it fight off

diseases and things like that so when

you talk to people who are agronomists

or understand the needs of different

types of turf and different types of

souls in your area then they can help

you choose the right blend for your

grass now you can probably look online

and find out a recommended amounts of

nitrogen to put on your lawn depending

on what type of grass you have but I'm

gonna talk about it in the grass types

that I deal with here in the south we

have Bermuda lawns primarily but we also

have Zoysia we have centipede we have

st. Augustine so here's what I use these

three fertilizers for let's start with

the one in the middle so this is a 20 -

3-5 this is a quick release fertilizer

so I'm gonna open the bag let you look

at it so I'll open the bag and just put

a little bit in my hand you can see it's

just an off-white color and this is

quick release fertilizer so what I do

with this primarily on my Bermuda lines

but let's say it gets into April and the

weather's getting up into the 80s and

our Bermudas coming out of dormancy and

turning green and I'll put this

fertilizer out I'm usually using like a

bag of this per 13,000 square feet and

what I'm trying to do is basically to

give that that law and a quick green up

in the spring when you in lawn business

one of the things that I get asked about

particularly in the spring is the time

when it's it's more difficult to control

weeds and also people are won their

lawns to be green now other things that

I have found that works great for far as

getting your Bermuda lawn turned green

often times is just to cut it low to get

rid of all that dormant grass and allow

the sunshine

down to the roots and oftentimes that

has as much to do with it turning green

early in the spring as it does

fertilizer now that depends on the

weather I'm not saying the fertilizer

doesn't do anything but sometimes if you

cut it low and let that sunshine get

down there it can really green one up

regardless of whether it's had

fertilizer or not but now obviously once

it gets warmer temperatures and you put

this on here it's going to help it turn

green what happens is sometimes though

people are just in such a hurry to make

their long green and they want to

fertilize it too early when the

weather's not warm enough and with this

quick release fertilizer you know if you

if you put it out there too early and

it's still getting cool at night and

then temperatures are not gotten up very

warm then then you're really wasting a

lot of it because if it rains it the

grass is not at a stage where it can use

it yet and you're not gonna see a lot of

results so that's part of the problem

and I think sometimes I see people

they're just very impatient and waiting

on their grass to turn green but like I

said this this is for me to get a quick

green up the other thing you could use

this for is is you want just to really

maximize the growth I'm talking again on

a Bermuda lawn if you want to maximize

your growth if you'd put this out

starting in let's say late April I'm

using Alabama timeframe here based on

our weather typically but if you put it

out about once a month and you could

really grow your Bermuda grass you

better be prepared to mow your grass

quite often let's talk about 18 1 9 I'm

gonna walk over here and I've got some

put in a fertilizer spreader I'm gonna

go show you what it looks like to talk

about it

so here's 18 1 9 blend you see a lot

more colorful picture compared to the 20

- 3-5 let's talk about these I'm summing

the same quick release fertilizer which

is represented by most of those white

pearls at least that's my understanding

then you've got the darker color pearls

that's going to be comparable to a

product like milorganite or some it's an

organic type material if you bought a

bag of milorganite maybe watch the lawn

care nut and he told you to do that then

when you open up the bag it's gonna all

look pretty much like that

and then if you'll notice the aqua

colored pearls are sort of greenish blue

tint those are called

poly on that's a a name-brand that

heralds sales it's a polymer coated

fertilizer so it's a you may have heard

of time release or slow release

fertilizer so the idea is you have this

polymer coating on the fertilizer that's

gonna break down slowly over time so if

you look at this you can see almost an

even mixture between the black pearls

the white pearls and the aqua color

pearls so you're getting some organic

materials from quick release white

fertilizer and some slow release

fertilizer this is the 18 1 9 to 18

percent nitrogen this is the typically

the blend that I'm using on my centipede

in st. Augustine lon so I'll put it out

again going on my time frame my schedule

here in Alabama I'll typically put this

out on a centipede or st. Augustine lawn

around May and then come back again

around July and do it again one more

time and on those type of lawns you're

going no more than 2 pounds of nitrogen

per thousand square feet on your lawn

for the year so I you know I'm looking

to put her out somewhere around point 9

pounds of nitrogen per application and

do it twice per year I've got a little

handheld chest-mounted spread I'm going

to show you the 3806 and this is you can

see far more of the aqua colored pearl

so this is very highly concentrated

think close to 90% slow-release and the

rest is is the white quick release so

the idea is that those quick release

white pearl is going to give it that

quick green color but those slow release

pearls typically lasts around 4 months

so if I can put this out in May I may be

able to sustain that green color for the

entire growing season so for instance

I'd use this on a Bermuda or soil or I

could use it on centipede and say arsing

just gonna go at a lower rate but let's

say on Bermuda lawn I'm gonna put

somewhere around 2.2 pounds of nitrogen

per thousand square feet as it gets

later in the year now let's say I didn't

fertilize until you know late June then

I may back that off to two pounds you

can put a lot more on a Bermuda on I've

read research saying that you know you

can go 5 to 6 pounds

of nitrogen per thousand square feet but

this stuff really works great I like

that it did it's a slow-release that

costs a lot more this is a little over

$30 a bag where the others are cheaper

but yeah I think this is lasting for

four months where some of those others

are not lasting years long now let me

talk to your front as a business owner

and just talk to you a little bit about

the slow release fertilizer and what's

great about that I once talked to a golf

course superintendent or the guy that

goes out and takes care of the the grass

on the golf course and he was talking

about they use that slow release

fertilizer and the reason they do is

because they can put that out actually

in January if they wanted to when the

grass is still dormant and the reason

being is because that slow release

fertilizer with that polymer coating

what it's going to do it's just going to

sit there until the weather starts

warming up and then it'll begin

releasing so you think about that from a

golf course perspective in January

what's going on at a golf course

well they got three old guys out there

playing golf and not much else going on

so they got plenty of time to go out

there and fertilize the grass and they

they're put out the pre-emergence and

things like that but they can go ahead

and get their fertilizer out of the way

and do it and actually put enough out

that it would last the entire year and

not have to worry about fertilizing the

rest of the year on the golf course and

maybe they'll come out and do something

to the to the greens and that sort of

thing not a golf course superintendent

but they could actually fertilize those

Bermuda fairways and be done with it for

the year now they're using some

expensive fertilizer but if it's got

that slow release fertilizer it'll just

sit there - the weather warms up well

same thing can be said for a homeowner

or a business owner you know if I was to

put that fertilizer out in January which

I don't do by the way but that it's that

slow release fertilizer would sit there

same idea now that has some quick

release fertilizer in there so I'd

probably be wasting the quick release

fertilizer and that's one reason I don't

do that but you could go with just a

straight-up slow release 100 percent

slow release fertilizer plant and put

out early and then it'll release when

it's ready when the weather cooperates

so from a

duction standpoint if you've got time to

do that and being able to make sure you

get all your fertilizer out on time if

you could do it some early I can see

where that makes a lot of sense and

definitely for golf courses but also

sometimes for a lawn care business

I like the slow release fertilizer

because you know even though I'm not

putting out in January when I do put it

out let's say May then I don't have to

come back and put it out again in July I

put it out yes it costs more it's almost

double per bag compared to the quick

release fertilizers or some other blends

but it just lasts a lot longer and

instead of spreading fertilizer twice on

that lawn I can do it once and be done

with it

and it holds the color and what it does

is you know it's kind of like this whole

idea of drinking water out of a fire

hydrant you know when you put you think

well I'm just gonna put more and more

and more nitrogen on my lawn whether the

grass can only use so much so the idea

with that Palmer cuz it's gonna release

at the rate that the grass can use it so

when you just take a quick-release prize

and put a lot on there the truth is

you're probably wasting a lot of that

let me talk a little bit about how to

figure out how much to put on your lawn

I've already mentioned on my grass types

what I'm trying to do is go somewhere

around 2.2 pounds of nitrogen per

thousand square feet on my Bermuda lawn

around two pounds of nitrogen per

thousand square feet on Missouri lawns

and on the centipede in st. Augustine's

no more than two pounds for the entire

year so I'm doing two applications at

around 0.9 pounds per thousand square

feet so on those centipede st.

augustine's I'm using that 18 1 9 blend

doing it twice per year on the Bermudas

orgeous the bermudez I come in with that

quick release 20 - 3 - 5 then come back

with the slow release later so let's not

do the quick release in April come back

May or June and put the slow release on

there and it should be good for the year

if from the Zoysia lawns I did I read an

article recently that I'm a member of

the Alabama turf grass Association they

put out a magazine and there was some

research done by some Auburn PhDs about

georgia grass and we fertilizing our

zoysia grass - on in their research they

showed that using more than two pounds


nitrogen per thousand square feet did

not necessarily yield any better results

and so they you know basically making a

recommendation not using more than two

pounds of nitrogen per thousand square

feet that any more than that would not

necessarily make your grassy and greener

now let me show you quickly just how to

calculate when I say in two pounds per

thousand square feet one you got to know

how big your lawn is so let's just say

you've got a 5,000 square foot lawn that

would be easy math and on that 5000

square foot lawn let's say it saw your

grass just for the sake of math and you

wanted to put two pounds of nitrogen per

thousand square feet and you're gonna

use this it's 3806 now if you think

about this this is way I was taught

nation my Herald's rep is one who who

taught me how to do this but if you

figure this is a 50 pound bag and so

what's great about that is to figure out

how many pounds of nitrogen is in this

bag all you have to do is divide those

numbers by 2 so it's 38 percent nitrogen

well if I divide that by 2 I get 19

meaning there's 19 pounds in this

50-pound bag so 50 pounds total 19 of

those pounds are nitrogen well let's say

that I want to put 2 pounds on a 5000

square foot lawn actually I'm gonna go

10,000 square foot because the math will

be easier so 2 pounds on a 10,000 square

foot lawn so if my yard 10,000 square

foot that means I want to put 20 pounds

of nitrogen on that lawn if you know

that's easy math I just figured out by

cutting that first number in half

there's 19 pounds in this bag so if I

put this whole bag on a 10,000 square

foot lawn I have used just under I've

used 19 pounds and when I we was going

for 20 so I've used just under 2 pounds

of nitrogen per thousand square feet so

you know if you got a 95 hundred square

foot lawn and you want to put 2 pounds

out for every thousand square feet you'd

use one bag of this 3806 now if you're

using a 20 - 3 - 5 then you think it's

only got 10 pounds of nitrogen in this

bag because you're going to cut that

first number in half that's going to be

10 pounds for the bag so

you have to use more of that or you say

well I'm gonna make two applications

instead of one application so if there's

10 pounds in that bag and you got a of

nitrogen you got a 10,000 square foot

lawn let's say you put out the whole bag

one time on that 10,000 square foot lawn

you just put out one pound of nitrogen

for every thousand square feet then you

come back let's say six weeks later and

you put out another bag now you've added

another pound per thousand square feet

so now you're up to two pounds per

thousand square feet for the year again

you've had to make two passes over your

lawn with that well nice you just do it

one time you're done but like I said the

bag cost twice as much almost so you

know either way eighteen one nine you

cut the first number in half you got

nine pounds of nitrogen in this 50-pound

bag so you can do the math a lot of

things to consider what type of grass

you have how much nitrogen does my grass

need how to calculate that by doing the

math and then am I using slow-release

quick-release and based on that do I

need to fertilize one time of year twice

a year three times a year four times a

year five times you I mean you can do it

different ways there's not one correct

way like that from from me I like to

slow release cuz you put it out and then

you're done you know but if you wanna

come back once a month and put out

fertilizer and fertilizer and fertilizer

certain grass tight like I said with

Bermuda if you want to put out one pound

of nitrogen five times during the year

one pound per thousand square feet and

you had a total of five pounds of

nitrogen per thousand square feet for

the year hey that's great you can do

that and it will grow like crazy and you

need to mow grass a lot you might have

one other thought about how to figure

out how much fertilizer putting out if

you know how big your yard is let's say

ten thousand square feet and you're

trying to put out one bag per 10,000

square feet well you can just set your

fertilizer spreader whether it be a

handheld spreader chest mounted right on

push spread or whatever set it you know

on a specific setting and then just push

it in and see do half the yard and see

if I use more than half the bag less

than half the bag and then just adjust I

don't you know necessarily think you

always got to put pay

four plates out there and catch it that

sort of thing I just start spread and

put on a reasonable number like on my

Spiker spreader if I put it on number

six on the dial that's usually pretty

close but then I can adjust it because

even depend on what type of fertilizer

you use it may be a little different if

you're using a smaller pearl versus a

larger pearl or some it may spread at a

slightly different rate so anyway that's

all I do hope that's been helpful at

least give you an idea of what I'm doing

how to think through your fertilizer and

what strategy you're gonna use whether

it's for your own lawn for your lawn

care business

I'm Jason creel thanks for watching I

would encourage you to subscribe to the

channel go check out some other videos

on the channel and let me hear from you

in the comments you have some questions


what type of fertilizers are using and

just clarify I don't live up north I'm

not as familiar with with rye grass

fescue Kentucky bluegrass things like

that so I'm gonna be more familiar with

a southern grass types but love to hear

from your thoughts if you're up north

and you can help educate me that would

be great

thanks for watching video talk to you

later bye