It’s never too late to do the right thing – 2019 Style


One of the cool things about my Lawn Fertilization Schedule is that you never have to plead tardiness or forgetfulness. No matter where we are on the calendar, “It’s Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing.”

Fertilizer pellets spraying from spreader

Fertilizer pellets spraying from spreader

It’s essentially the first of April, and since the weather has been cooperative for the past few weeks, I’m giving you the green light to do the premier application of lawn fertilizer, so yours will be lush and green by May 1 – even sooner, if you’ve been on schedule since February.

Of course, “It’s Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing” (NTLTDTRT) is not an absolute. While it does apply to almost every lawn care issue, it can often be too late to plant certain vegetables in some zones. Still, it’s a philosophy that can guide you in deciding when to or whether to apply fertilizers, mulches, fungicides, insecticides and herbicides – organic or synthetic.

Let me answer some potential questions regarding NTLTDTRT.

  • If you never did the early green-up with a fast-acting 15-5-10 fertilizer, you can still do it immediately and remain on schedule. That’s because the spring fertilization with controlled-release formulas can be done as soon as 30 days after. (I prefer 45, though.) That means the summer application of the controlled release will be put off until July, but that’s okay, too.
  • Let’s say it’s early May, and you realized that you forgot to do the April application of slow- or controlled-release fertilizer. Say it with me: It’s never too late to do the right thing!
  • Nitro-Phos Super Turf 19-4-10 is the number one choice because it’s the most readily available. But there are many others out there, so don’t hesitate to use a 19-5-9, 18-5-9, 21-7-14, 18-0-6, or a controlled-release 15-5-10 if you’re feeling a little experimental. (See the schedule for details on formula numbers.) The most important factor is CONTROLLED-RELEASE or SLOW-RELEASE, because we want it to feed for up to 90 days.
  • Controlled-release 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 formulas are designed for southern turfgrasses. Avoid national brands at all costs, because they are usually too high in nitrogen. Plus, too many of them are weed-and-feeds, and you should know how I feel about them.
  • Mother Nature has completely discombobulated our schedule for pre-emergent herbicides since October, but it will be time for the next one around May 1. So, apply the philosophy on this too, if necessary.

Of course, if you wait too long to do something on the schedule, you will not achieve optimum results. For example, my schedule calls for applications of pre-emergent herbicides at fairly specific times. While it might be NTLTDTRT, if you’re a month behind you’ll definitely give weed seeds and extra 30 days to germinate. Still, you need to get it out right?!

And since compost or organic Texas-native mulches are always good for soils over time, helpful for moisture protection, and great for weed control, it’s NTLTDTRT in their case, too. I’ve always encouraged at least two or three mulchings per year, but only with the healthiest types. Don’t even get me started about awful dyed mulches or the abhorrent mulch volcanoes around trees.

It’s Never Too Late to Do the Right Thing! It’s a pretty simple philosophy, but one that has served me and GardenLine listeners very well for over two decades. I promise that you’ll find many instances where it can be applied when it comes to fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, plantings, mulches or insecticide applications.