Bluegrass Fertilization and Watering
Lawns will thrive on a regular a fertilizing schedule. Bluegrass should be fertilized three to four applications a year. An early Fall, late Fall, and mid Spring application are typically the best. Some schedules call for a summer application. I prefer to avoid summer applications. The cool weather grasses have a greater chance of fertilizer burn during hot weather. Bluegrass fertilization requires 3-5 Pounds of Nitrogen per year in your applications. Be careful that the Spring application is not too heavy. Excess nitrogen will promote excessive shoot growth and potentially rob the lawn of more important root growth.
Fertilizer Rate and Type
To accomplish this you may want to apply fertilizer at the rate 1.5# per 1000Sq ft in September, 1.5# per 1000 Sq ft again in October and .5 to 1 # per 1000 Sq Ft in mid spring. The use of a slow release fertilizer is preferable. Most any of the commercially available fertilizers will work well on your Bluegrass Lawn. It is important to make sure it is a “balanced” fertilizer for lawns such as a 27-4-6 or 20-5-15 as examples and that you take into account the amount of nitrogen required by your grass type.
There are varieties of fertilizer that include pre-emergent’s or weed killer. My inclination is not to use these unless I know there is a specific problem for my lawn and even then, I prefer to spot treat the problem if at all possible. Pre-emergent’s do work well but it is not advisable to use them if you plan on seeding a new lawn or over seeding any sections. Bluegrass is weed resistant once it is well established, chiefly because it forms a dense weave as the rhizomes spread and interleave with each other.
Use a Nitrogen application of 2-4 Pounds per 1000Sq Ft for Improved (includes A-34, Adelphi, Baron, Glade, Sydsport, Touchdown and Victa).For common bluegrass (includes Kenblu, Park and South Dakota ) use and 1-2 Pounds per 1000 Sq Feet.See my section on Fertilization for an explanation of how this translates into the fertilizer you are using. Bluegrass prefers a more Alkaline Soil. Consequently, the use of lime is also recommended. Most experts recommend that you have your soil tested to determine how much lime to add. Most of us are reluctant to go to that extreme. In that case the recommendation is to use 25-40# of granular lime per 1000Sq Ft Once per year. Lime can be applied at any time but my preference is to apply it after aerating and fertilizing.
Bluegrass is not a drought resistant lawn and it does require regular watering. The consensus is that Bluegrass does best when it is watered as required. The best way to gauge when to water a Bluegrass lawn is by the condition of the soil. It should be moist but not soggy. If is dry then you should water. Bluegrass does have the capability to go dormant during times of severe drought but it is not recommended that you let it go completely dormant. Watering at least once a week will help keep the lawn healthy so that insects and weeds cannot get a foothold.
General recommendations for Turf lawns the recommend that they receive a minimum of 1-2 inches of water a week, more watering will produce a healthier, better looking lawn.