Best Fertilizers for Bermuda Grass

To get that lush, green look, you need more than just water and sunshine. You need the right fertilizer. Bermuda grass loves nitrogen and so we’ll only be covering fertilizers that offer plenty of nitrogen. Before we dive into the best options, let’s talk about some main categories of fertilizers:

  • High nitrogen synthetic fertilizers: For pushing growth
  • Balanced fertilizers: For an overall boost
  • Organic: For avoiding burn
  • Starter: For new lawns
  • Maintenance: For one-size-fits-all
  • Micronutrients: For outside of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium

We will cover examples for all of them, regardless of your goal. Also, if you’re new, consider doing one soil test.

Fast Release Fertilizers

Fast release fertilizers like ammonium sulfate and urea are some of the cheapest, most effective and popular nitrogen sources you’ll find. However, don’t let their price fool you. These two bring excellent results to lawns and golf courses around the country. These fertilizers show results quickly and are a great way to push growth in a lawn.

21-0-0: Ammonium Sulfate

Now, for those of you in areas like Texas, where the soil is as alkaline as it gets, 21-0-0 is your secret weapon. This high-nitrogen, no-phosphorus, no-potassium formula is perfect for lowering soil pH. It’s like giving your Bermuda grass a shot of espresso – pure energy to green up and grow. But beware, it’s potent stuff. Overdo it, and you might just burn your lawn, especially if you choose to spray it in liquid form. It’s best to apply 5 pounds of product per 1,000 square feet per month (1 pound of nitrogen) to push growth and fill in bare spots.

Recommendation: Use this as your monthly fertilizer during growing months if you have high pH.

46-0-0: Urea

Speaking of pure energy, let’s talk urea. This high-nitrogen option is one of the most cost effective, in terms of dollars per pound of nitrogen. It’s like turbocharging your Bermuda grass, making it greener faster than you can say “lush lawn.” But, as with any high-powered option, there’s a risk. Use it wisely or risk damaging your turf with too much of a good thing. Urea is similar to ammonium sulfate, it’s synthetic and can burn the lawn, but it doesn’t affect pH which is ideal if you’re already around a pH of 6.

Recommendation: Use this as your monthly during growing months if you don’t have high pH.

Slow Release Fertilizres

Slow release fertilizers come in coated, encapsulated or natural organic form. They are an excellent low-maintenance option but slow to show results. They are great for supplementing phosphorus or potassium sparingly and great for those who have new sod, but a poor regular choice for those looking to push growth in a neglected lawn.

10-10-10: Balanced Fertilizers

First up, balanced fertilizers like 10-10-10 or 13-13-13. These are your go-to if you’re not sure what to put down and haven’t done a soil test. They’re like the Swiss Army knife of fertilizers. They cover all of your bases. These ratios mean they offer an equal share of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Ideal for Bermuda grass that just needs some maintenance and you haven’t applied phosphorus or potassium lately. This is also a great option when prepping for the growing season or the off-season. When it comes to prepping for summer, the potassium helps the Bermuda grass deal with stresses such as drought, heat and disease. In the winter, potassium helps dealing with the cold. The phosphorus helps push root growth before winter as well.

Default recommendation: Use this twice a year.

Examples:

15-5-10: Maintenance Blend

If you’re not looking to push growth, and just want something that’s slow release that you can use on your Bermuda grass lawn year-round without switching to different fertilizers each month, a 15-5-10 is a good option. While not every soil needs phosphorus and potassium, many lawns do. It’s hard to go wrong with a blend like this. A balanced fertilizer is great if you’re applying for the first time, but eventually you’ll want something with more nitrogen like this for ongoing basis as you don’t want your phosphorus and potassium to get too high.

Recommendation: Use this if you simply want one type of fertilizer for the whole season.

10-20-10: Starter Fertilizers

When establishing a new lawn or rejuvenating an existing one, a starter fertilizer like a 10-20-10 blend is ideal. This mix is designed to support strong root development and early plant growth, with a higher concentration of phosphorus (the middle number) compared to nitrogen and potassium. Phosphorus is crucial for root growth, which is essential for new or damaged lawns to establish a robust foundation. While mature lawns might not require as much phosphorus, new grass needs this boost to ensure a healthy start. A starter fertilizer like 10-20-10 is especially valuable during the initial planting or overseeding phases when rapid root and seedling development is critical.

Recommendation: Use this once when laying new sod or seed.

6-4-0: Organic, Non-Burning, Slow-Release

Finally, there’s Milorganite, the eco-friendly, slow-release champ. Made from recycled biosolids, it’s not only good for your Bermuda grass but also for the planet. It releases nitrogen slowly, feeding your lawn over time. Plus, it’s pretty hard to overdo it with Milorganite, making it a great option for the more cautious or someone who doesn’t understand fertilizer math. Also consider similar alternatives to Milo.

Recommendation: Use this to avoid burns if you don’t know how to weigh and calculate fertilize amounts.

Example Fertilizer Schedules

Let’s go through a few typical schedules. Start fertilizing when your lawn is 50% green, so we’ll assume green up is March.

Intermediate Approach

MonthFertilizer
JanuaryNone
FebruaryNone
MarchBalanced
AprilUrea or ammonium sulfate
MayUrea or ammonium sulfate
JuneUrea or ammonium sulfate
JulyMilorganite, urea or ammonium sulfate
AugustUrea or ammonium sulfate
SeptemberBalanced, urea, ammonium sulfate or none
OctoberNone
NovemberNone
DecemberNone

Beginner Approach

MonthFertilizer
JanuaryNone
FebruaryNone
MarchMaintenance (15-5-10 or similar)
AprilNone
MayMaintenance (15-5-10 or similar)
JuneNone
JulyMaintenance (15-5-10 or similar)
AugustNone
SeptemberMaintenance (15-5-10 or similar) or none
OctoberNone
NovemberNone
DecemberNone

Micronutrients

While less important than nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, some micronutrients are important to look at. Here are two important fertilizers to use to improve your micronutrients. Both of them are sprays which are ideal as foliar application bypasses any nutrient uptake issues one may have with suboptimal pH levels.

Feature Iron

Available exclusively at iwantfeature.com, Feature Iron is probably the best option for iron on the market. It provides essential iron for chlorophyll production and deep greening of grass. It also includes magnesium, crucial for photosynthesis and correcting yellowing lawns, which can be a sign of magnesium or iron deficiency. This dual-action formula addresses both nutrient deficiencies effectively in one application, ensuring your turf remains lush and vibrant.

Main Event

Similar to Feature, Main Event is another source of iron, but it comes with more than just iron.

Main Event is available from Amazon and other retailers.

Nutrisolve

Nutrisolve is another essential product for addressing micronutrient deficiencies in lawns. It’s designed to quickly penetrate the soil and deliver a balanced mix of essential nutrients. Ideal for correcting imbalances and preventing micronutrient deficiencies, Nutrisolve ensures your grass receives all the necessary elements for optimal growth and color. This easy-to-apply solution is perfect for gardeners looking to maintain a healthy, robust lawn throughout the growing season.

So which iron and micronutrient fertilizer is best? It depends on what your soil needs. A soil test can help. Blindly applying in small amounts might be harmless but when incorporating it into your regular schedule, be mindful. Excessive amounts of iron, manganese, boron, and copper in a micronutrient fertilizer can cause toxicity in Bermuda grass, leading to issues like dark green or black foliage, chlorosis, leaf burn, necrosis, and root damage.

FeatureMain EventNutrisolve
N
Mg
S
Fe
Mn
Zn
B
Cu
Mo

Wrapping It Up

So, there you have it. Whether you’re looking for a balanced approach, need to adjust your soil pH, want a quick green-up, or prefer the slow and steady route, there’s a fertilizer out there for your Bermuda grass. Just remember, more isn’t always better. Choose wisely, apply responsibly, and get ready to enjoy the kind of lawn that’ll make your neighbors green with envy.


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