Now that things have heated up a bit, and since we’ve had little rain, we’re watering the lawn more often - especially folks with newly sodded lawns who absolutely have to water on a daily basis. And now, many yards are starting to yellow a bit.
I have an “insider’s secret” that will help bring back the green and do it somewhat organically.
It’s Medina Hasta Gro for Lawns. Look closely at the label. This is Hasta Gro for LAWNS!
On the GardenLine show, I talk a lot about Medina Hasta Gro Liquid Plant Food because it works. And much like its older brother, Hasta Gro for Lawns is rooted in organic formulations with just a dash of synthetic urea.
It’s a 12-4-8 NPK ratio, which totally fulfills my fertilization schedule requirements for a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 formula. However - and the Medina company is well aware of this - it is not one of my standard recommendations because it’s not very cost effective. In fact, to cover the same square footage, it’s more than double the cost of a standard bag of 3-1-2, such as Nitro-Phos Super Turf 19-4-10. But as a problem fixer, or as a replacement for an iron supplement on newly laid sod, it is worth every penny.
Yes … while my standard schedule calls for possible iron supplementation during summer months, when watering practices may cause iron to leach from the soil, Medina Hasta Gro for Lawns is a hidden secret.
There are also a dozen other clever uses for this liquid. For example, give it a try on anything that normally takes a nitrogen-rich fertilizer for “greening up.” I’ve used it on sago palms, cast iron plant, ferns of all kinds, and for spot-treating turf issues.
I have always recommended it to folks who have moved into homes with brand-new sod or those who have recently replaced pieces of turf. And it’s perfect for very small lawns, like less than 1,000 square feet.
Speaking of newly sodded lawns, I’ve got some other “insider secrets” using such Medina products as Soil Activator for getting the turf to establish with the dirt below.
Here’s what I wrote last summer:
Nearly every homeowner who has dealt with new turf knows that it must be consistently watered. Otherwise, the mud it was grown and delivered in will harden so badly that the grass will be lost in just two or three weeks. So, let me share a few insider secrets that will help speed up the mud’s breakdown so the roots will poke through to establish in the soil below.
First, if the new sod hasn’t yet been laid - like at a brand-new home - put out some enriched topsoil first and till it a couple of inches into the existing dirt. Enriched topsoil is “loamy” - it has a bit of clay in it, but it also contains organic matter, usually compost … just like the stuff I recommend for compost top-dressing.
Next, whether or not you can add the enriched top soil, you should treat the new sod with a soil activator. I recommend Medina Soil Activator and Medina Plus. No, I do not own stock in the company. Medina is a private, family owned-and-operated business based in Hondo, west of San Antonio. In any case, I don’t care which soil activator you use … just be sure it’s organic and not labeled as a “ROOT stimulator.” Most root stimulators are not organic, and a synthetic product on new sod might burn the roots.I suggest using an organic soil activator once a week, or at the very least once every two weeks, for the first couple of months. While consistent daily watering will moisten the soil and break down the mud, the soil activator accelerates the process.
Organic products like soil activators also help to increase microbial life. Our Medina expert, owner Stuart Franke, says that soil with a strong and diverse population of microbes provides an improved environment that supports healthy vegetation. The job of microbes is a very important one - they are responsible for breaking down and recycling nutrients into a fuel for all plants and turf. That’s what ultimately loosens the soil to promote water absorption and retention, and allows oxygen to get down to the roots of the grass. When all this comes together, the result is a happy home where roots will thrive.
If cost is no object, other organically based supplements can also accelerate the process. Granular or liquid molasses is one. Molasses provides soil microbes with some food, and that makes them grow quicker.Next, you’ll likely want to know when you can fertilize newly laid sod. If the grass looks fairly green and not worn-out looking, you can assume that there’s probably 30 days’ worth of fertilizer on it. Mark your calendar 30-40 days out, and then apply a granular organic fertilizer. Also, fertilize with an organic fertilizer a week after your first official mowing.
Finally, you may be wondering when to start my lawn care schedule on new sod. Again, assuming the turf has some fertilizer in it from the turf farm, move forward 30-40 days. If you wind up a little behind, well “It’s Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing!!”
IMAGE: Grass background - Creative Commons