Treating an Abundance or Deficiency of Phosphorus

If you are shopping for fertilizer, you will see three numbers on the bag, N-P-K, which stands for Nitrogen (N) – Phosphorus (P) – Potassium (K). What is the secret recipe for the right fertilizer combination for your lawn or garden this year? There is no way to know unless you take a soil sample and order a soil test.

But let’s chat specifically about one number on the bag that gets most of the attention and is heavily regulated….PHOSPHORUS. Your phosphorus purchase should not be made by guessing. Why? Because too little and you compromise your plant and too much and you burn your plant while harming the environment. What is this nutrient phosphorus and why does it have such polarizing outcomes?

Phosphorus (P) is responsible for the plant’s cell formation, genetic reproduction, root health, bloom, and it transforms solar energy into chemical energy. A proper amount is essential for optimal health. Once you have received your soil test report customized for your crop, you can take your results to any lawn and garden center and match the needs of your soil and crop to the corresponding attributes in fertilizer products. But what does it mean when your soil is too low or too high in phosphorus.

TOO LOW

If you are deficient in phosphorus, the health of your plant is compromised. Your plants require phosphorus to survive and depriving plants of this nutrient is harmful. If you have not diagnosed this from a soil test, there can also be visual signs to look for. You will see stunted growth and weak appearance. Even the leaves can turn dark green or purplish.

Phosphorus deficient plant leaves can turn dark green or purplish.

In addition, depending on where you live, you may have regulatory restrictions regarding when you can and cannot apply a phosphorus-based product. Please always consult your local extension office regarding the regulations. Most phosphorus regulations apply to warmer, high-heat temperatures, areas that are naturally high in phosphorus, or areas near sensitive watersheds. Your solution? Only apply the amount of phosphorus that your soil test recommends whether that’s an organic fertilizer like bone meal or manure, or a synthetic version. Either way, the guaranteed analysis on the bag will indicate the amount of phosphorus you will be applying.

TOO HIGH

If your soil is too high in phosphorus, the health of your plant is compromised, but the environment around you is also susceptible to residual affects. Unlike other plant nutrients, phosphorus is more stable and can build up in soil. Too much phosphorus and the plant begins to burn and it causes other deficiencies such as Iron(Fe) and Zinc(Zn) simply because they are trapped and unusable. T.L. Provin and J.L. Pitt said it best when they wrote an article for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension called Phosphorus – Too Much and the Plants May Suffer:

Phosphorus can become water-soluble and mobile, entering surface waters and causing algae and other undesirable plants to grow. This reduces water quality and desirable fish and aquatic plants.

How do high phosphorus conditions happen? Most of the time, it is from homeowners over-applying phosphorus based fertilizers and organic manures. The notion that organic fertilizers or the “higher the number on the bag,” the better is just not the case. I say this all the time, too much of a good thing, is a bad thing. Your solution to high phosphorus? Avoid the use of phosphorus based products altogether until your tests show a need for it. And for the other deficiencies it causes such as Iron (Fe) and Zinc (Zn), you will need to add those nutrients in a foliar form to by-pass the trapped conditions caused by phosphorus. Sadly, it is nearly impossible to find an organic product without phosphorus (a zero in the middle of the N-P-K analysis) due to the nature of its source.

Too much phosphorus can cause the plant to burn.

If you do find that you are too low or too high in phosphorus, I recommend that you do an annual soil test to make sure you are addressing the levels in a way that is healthy for the plant but also the best practice for environmental stewardship.

AgriTech Corp. Announces Addition of New SoilKit Staff

SoilKit team adds seven new team members across multiple departments as soil testing platform continues to grow

Foley, Alabama – February 4, 2021 – Agricultural data processing and technology software company AgriTech Corp. announced today that the team has grown for its flagship product SoilKit, an online soil testing platform. Seven new members have joined the SoilKit team as the product continues to expand into retailers nationwide. The new additions to the SoilKit team join a variety of departments, including Marketing and Sales, Information Technologies, Operations, and Vendor Relations.

“Last year was a year of growth for both the lawn & garden and agritech industries, and an exciting year for SoilKit. We’re thrilled to kick off 2021 with a talented group of new members to our ever-growing SoilKit family,” said AgriTech Corp. CEO and SoilKit founder, Christina Woerner McInnis.  “We have big things in store for this year, and are eager to hit the ground running with our new team members.”

Molly Davis joined AgriTech Corp. in 2020 as an Account Executive, and has since nurtured and developed key partnerships with many of SoilKit’s initial retail partners. Molly’s background includes instrumental experience in professional development, with a focus on staff-training, mentoring and coaching. She has led the charge with SoilKit’s partner and vendor relationships.

Mohammad Al-Abdullah has been named AgrichTech Corp.’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, joining the company in January 2021. Mohammad’s career in tech began as a developer of kiosk software, and has since expanded to include work on a variety of technologies for both small and large companies, building operating systems, green tech, telecommunications and more. Most recently he ran his own machine learning startup, focused on medical software. Prior to creating his own startups, Mohammad was a Software Engineer at Microsoft where he worked in the Windows operating systems group developing data storage technologies.

Johanna Rogers brings over 20 years of experience to her new role as Training Director for AgriTech Corp. She has found success using a variety of training methods, including virtual and face-to-face workshops, simulations and webinars in her past roles at both Q2ebanking and World Savings. Johanna’s past work history has included the creation and management of training functions for firms in financial services, technology, employee development, and customer service/support industries.

Clint Casey is a recent addition to the AgriTech Corp. team as a Project Manager, joining the Technology Infrastructure Team. Prior to AgriTech Corp., Casey worked for SunSouth John Deere, where he was focused on expanding the knowledge and adoption of precision agriculture, as well as Host Nations Perspective South West Asia, Support Systems Associates Inc., and Special Operations Technology. He is currently a member of two Alabama Agricultural Councils, The Alabama Agribusiness Council and the Alabama Agriculture Partnership Council.

Kyle Stewart also joins the AgriTech Corp. sales team as the Southeast Regional Sales Manager, covering Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. Stewart is a recent alumnus of Auburn University, where he received his degree in Agriculture Business and Economics. He acquired a research background while at Auburn, studying precision agriculture using variable rate technology on irrigation, and used soil sensor data to make irrigation decisions.

Stephanie Matthews serves as the Mid-South Regional Sales Manager for AgriTech Corp., covering Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. Matthews is a recent graduate of Louisiana State University, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in geology. Prior to joining the AgriTech Corp. team, Stephanie served as an experienced licensed property and insurance agent, as well as an ad-sales team member for a television station in Baton Rouge.

Brady Gaither joins the AgriTech Corp. sales team as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Sales Manager covering Ohio, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and North Carolina. Gaither is an alumni of The University of West Alabama, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary studies aligning with a background in business and an emphasis in communications. Prior to joining AgriTech Corp., Brady spent several years in land management, wildlife development, and production sales in the Blackbelt region of Alabama.  

“Our company has been constantly growing since it began in 2018, and we’re thrilled to be expanding the team to keep up with demand,” said AgriTech Corp. COO, John Buckner. “We’ve assembled a group of talented individuals who we are excited to see grow with the company and the agritech industry in the future.”


About AgriTech Corp.

AgriTech Corp. is an agricultural data processing and technology software company based in Foley, Alabama. The company’s flagship lab-based soil testing platform, SoilKit, offers consumers and landscapers an easy-to-use mobile application for soil sample collection and registration using satellite technology and scanning tools. Lab results are usually available within 48 hours of receipt at the lab after being processed through the company’s proprietary algorithm and delivered digitally. The analysis generates specific soil amendment product and quantity recommendations to ameliorate soil deficiencies. The soil testing data and recommendations are stored and made available to partners for a variety of purposes beyond the immediate purpose of improving soil health. The result is a seamless collection and analysis process with simplified results, producing better lawn and garden outcomes and fewer environmental issues.

All About Organic Matter

I get a lot of questions about organic matter. What is it? Why do I need to monitor my organic matter levels? What is a good result and what is bad result? What do I do if my results are bad?

Let’s begin by defining organic matter. According to the USDA, “Soil organic matter (SOM) is the organic component of soil consisting of three primary components: small (fresh) plant residues with small living soil organisms, decomposing (active) organic matter, and stable organic matter (humus).” Note that the word “organic” here means substances and organisms found in nature — not the common retail definition referring to products created without the use of pesticides, antibiotics, or synthetic fertilizers. Examples of organic matter in this context are manure, crop residue, cover crops, and compost.

Why do you need to monitor organic matter? Because without sufficient organic matter, your soil’s health will suffer. Organic matter creates an ecosystem that facilitates plants’ absorption of nutrients like those in your fertilizer applications. It also helps improve both water retention and drainage, and its effect on soil structure helps to promote beneficial microbial activity. Together these effects on soil structure will help create a healthy and strong ecosystem capable of withstanding diseases and pests that can destroy your crop.

What are good and bad levels of organic matter? Organic Matter is reported as a percentage, and healthy soils will have between 2 and 6% organic matter. If you fall below the 2% mark, take steps to improve your SOM. One step you can take is to ensure you preserve what organic material you have by implementing soil erosion measures like adopting a no-till farming regimen. You can also amend your soil with organic matter such as composts, grass clippings, and mulch among many others.

Can SOM be too high? YES! If your organic matter is too high (greater than 6%), you might have too much phosphorus. For example, if you’ve been using manure to improve your organic matter for years, your annual soil test might show a very high level of phosphorus.

Phosphorus is the leading cause of pollution in our waterways and gets into the system when farmers and homeowners apply more of it than the soil and its plants can absorb. And while the right level of phosphorus is a key to plant health, too much can actually kill plants. A surprising number of our soil test customers show toxic levels of phosphorus coming from organic lawns and gardens. Always remember – too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing.

If you want to dive deeper into this topic, visit the USDA site for a good read.

BWI Companies Inc. begins distributing SoilKit in stores

Soil testing platform now available in-store to BWI customers across Texas and the Gulf Coast

Foley, Alabama – January 19, 2021 – Agricultural data processing and technology software company AgriTech Corp. announced today that lawn and garden distributor BWI Companies would begin distributing AgriTech Corp.’s  flagship product SoilKit, an online soil testing platform, to the brick-and-mortar storefronts that BWI serves across the country.

AgriTech Corp.’s partnership with BWI continues SoilKit’s expansion into stores across the US after its spring 2020 launch. BWI, which distributes lawn, garden, and other landscaping products to garden centers, nurseries and hardware stores, currently has 14 distribution centers across Texas, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina. SoilKit is the first and only lab-based soil testing platform available through BWI’s online store.

“Partnering with AgriTech to market and distribute SoilKit throughout our territory has been a great decision for us,” said BWI category development manager Will Welch. “The user-friendly testing process benefits our markets, from turf professionals and landscape pros, to our retail customer’s customer: Do-it-yourself homeowners. Their top-notch testing service brings value and benefits to all users.”

Soil testing has long been an integral part of commercial landscaping and agriculture operations, but the process is often looked at as too time-consuming and technical for day-to-day consumers. SoilKit’s unique platform overcomes these barriers by providing the same high-quality testing service used by professionals through a prepaid envelope, followed by an easy-to-digest results page and personalized soil amendment recommendations. With these key differences from traditional soil tests, SoilKit founder Christina Woerner McInnis created a more accessible test with just as much power as a county extension office.

“We appreciate BWI’s support and partnership,” said Woerner McInnis. “Having their distribution muscle on our side will be a boost to SoilKit’s mission of making soil testing accessible to homeowners and individuals across the country.”


About AgriTech Corp.

AgriTech Corp. is an agricultural data processing and technology software company based in Foley, Alabama. The company’s flagship lab-based soil testing platform, SoilKit, offers consumers and landscapers an easy-to-use mobile application for soil sample collection and registration using satellite technology and scanning tools. Lab results are usually available within 48 hours of receipt at the lab after being processed through the company’s proprietary algorithm and delivered digitally. The analysis generates specific soil amendment product and quantity recommendations to ameliorate soil deficiencies. The soil testing data and recommendations are stored and made available to partners for a variety of purposes beyond the immediate purpose of improving soil health. The result is a seamless collection and analysis process with simplified results, producing better lawn and garden outcomes and fewer environmental issues.

Victory Gardening

We have seen a huge surge in gardening during the pandemic. They called it “Victory Gardening.” The expression was originally coined during World Wars I and II, when Americans had to ration food. Therefore, to preserve the food and tin supply for troops and to boost morale, the US government encouraged the population to grow its own food. It is estimated that more than 20 million Americans grew their own fruits and vegetables during that time, representing about 40 percent of the country’s supply of fresh produce! Gardening surged due to necessity, and the Victory Garden was born!

1988
33 years ago picking strawberries with my Dad and family.
2014
7 years ago my children helping me in our garden.

Jump to 2020. The pandemic, with its shelter-in-place orders, social distancing, and massive layoffs, drove millions back home, and an estimated 16 million new gardeners were born. Being home created the initial opportunity, but the stress relief of gardening created the motivation. As we kick off 2021, Garden Magazine estimates that 85% of those gardeners plan to replant. What does that mean? We are going to have a lot of hobby gardening or what I like to say, micro-farming. These gardeners are still fairly new and looking for a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes from gardening.

Chelsea Davis from Forbes interviewed Christopher “Landy” Landercasper, the Director of Farming Operations for Sonoma’s Best Hospitality Group, and he said one thing you need to know about starting your garden is,

“Soil health is generally increased by having the building blocks of life in the proper ratios for the plant you are trying to grow. The big three nutrients for plant health are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K). Getting the balance of these three correct will be the best thing you can do to help your plant be healthy.”

I am actually planning my spring garden right now, and I want to make sure it’s going to be a success. In years past, my family always involved me in the garden and today, I like to involve my children so they can follow along and reap what they sow. One fun point they have learned from our gardening efforts is they like to plant what they prefer to eat. I asked my four children what they want to plant and this is their breakdown. Neal wants a blueberry bush; Charlee wants cherry tomatoes; Georgia wants strawberries; and Lillie wants avocados. In the past, I have grown all of the above but avocado. To be honest, I don’t know where I can even find an avocado tree, but I am going to put forth a good effort for her.

To avoid a bad investment, here is my breakdown of how we will begin with a healthy start:

  • The blueberry bush needs soil with a pH of 4.5. I am going to look for a 1-3 year old plant.
  • The strawberries will be my favorite to plant. I did strawberries as a child and I love to eat strawberry shortcake in the summer. The strawberries will go in the ground now, even though it’s January. The soil pH needs to be 6.5.
  • The tomatoes will also need to be planted by end of February and will require soil with pH of 6.5 and a nice crawler stand to grow.
  • The avocado is going to be a lot more sensitive and I will need to keep a close eye on this one. The soil pH will need to be around 5-5.5, and I will have to watch the other nutrients closely.

I am also a believer in the right genetics so I will be selecting these plants carefully. I will start all of them with healthy soils and I will use my soil test to make amendments and keep the plants at optimal health. Along the way, I am also going to plant some other fun items for myself, and I will talk more about those later. Hint – I have always wanted a vanilla bean farm. Stay tuned…

BFG Supply Co. begins distributing SoilKit in stores

Soil testing platform now available to BFG Supply retailers in 26 states

Foley, Alabama – December 8 – Agricultural data processing and technology software company AgriTech Corp. announced today that landscape and gardening distributor BFG Supply Co. would begin carrying its flagship product SoilKit, an online soil testing platform.

SoilKit, which launched in early 2020, has begun to appear in brick-and-mortar stores across the country, and the product’s distribution across BFG Supply’s selling footprint of 26 states is its latest expansion. Retailers across the Midwest and Eastern US are now able to order and offer SoilKits to consumers in their stores.

“BFG Supply is very excited to offer SoilKit to our customer base and we believe it fills a void in the soil testing category,” said BFG lawn and garden category manager Shawn Parsons. “By offering consumers a professional soil analysis with a list of recommended products that are customized to the products found in their local garden center, SoilKit adds real value by supporting consumers and their local independent retailers. ”

Whereas traditional soil testing involves trips to a county extension office, unexpected shipping fees and interpreting complicated test results, SoilKit gives access to the same lab-based chemical analysis as the largest and most advanced farms in the country with added accessibility: SoilKit’s technology interprets your plot’s unique soil chemistry and recommends amendments to increase growth, health and resilience in whatever you’re growing. As part of its partnership with BFG Supply, SoilKit recommends specific nutrients and fertilizers supplied by BFG locations to ensure customers always find what they’re looking for at their home garden center. 

“We’re thrilled to be a part of the BFG family now,” said SoilKit founder Christina Woerner McInnis. “We love what they’re doing for landscapers, gardeners and growers and I’m delighted they believe in providing accessible soil testing for everyone. With BFG’s distribution, we’re able to help even more people grow the lawn and garden of their dreams.”


About AgriTech Corp.

AgriTech Corp. is an agricultural data processing and technology software company based in Foley, Alabama. The company’s flagship lab-based soil testing platform, SoilKit, offers consumers and landscapers an easy-to-use mobile application for soil sample collection and registration using satellite technology and scanning tools. Lab results are usually available within 48 hours of receipt at the lab after being processed through the company’s proprietary algorithm and delivered digitally. The analysis generates specific soil amendment product and quantity recommendations to ameliorate soil deficiencies. The soil testing data and recommendations are stored and made available to partners for a variety of purposes beyond the immediate purpose of improving soil health. The result is a seamless collection and analysis process with simplified results, producing better lawn and garden outcomes and fewer environmental issues.

Seasonal “Overseeding” Explained

Confession: I don’t overseed my lawn in the winter, but I absolutely love to see a green, lush yard in the middle of winter. It gives me the warm fuzzy feeling that warm season grasses can still be green in the dormant season.

Nevertheless, when I dropped my kids off at school the other day, a super-green football field caught my eye. It should be getting sort of a mix of tan and green this time of year, but it was bright green, and it was just waiting on a school game to kick off. I realize that some people overseed, but most are intimidated by the process. I get asked all the time how to do it, so I went right to the expert to get instructions.

Graham Simmons, Woerner Farms’ Production Manager was the perfect person to explain how to overseed correctly. He gave me several easy tips critical to this seasonal practice. Here are your tips for the warm season grasses. Keep in mind, this is for two different grasses – one that is going dormant, and one that is about to kick off and grow.

  • Overseeding is recommended for bermuda lawns, but it can be used on zoysia and centipede.
  • Watch your pre-emergent schedule. Don’t do a pre-emergent for winter weeds and then expect to overseed right after. The pre-emergent will actually harm seed germination.
  • Prep the area by mowing lower than usual. To help expose more seed opportunities, mow to 1/2 – 3/4 inch height.
  • Choose the right seed. Choose a perennial rye, and one that is more of a dwarf blend that will compliment what your grass would normally look like. Some blends can grow really tall and rogue. These are typically engineered more for pasture environment than for a homeowner. According to Dr. Wayne Wells, an Extension Professor and Turfgrass Specialist at Mississippi State, “Seeding rate for home lawns with perennial ryegrass should be 8-10 pounds per thousand square feet.”
  • Spread evenly and according to package instructions. Be careful that you don’t create a spotted, patterned, or uneven overseeded lawn. You would be surprised at how easy it is to distribute seed incorrectly if you don’t follow the instructions.
  • Get the right fertilizer. If you are going to take a fall soil sample, choose the crop code for your warm season grass and follow the instructions. It is critical that your nutrient levels are not only correct to put your dormant grass to sleep but also to help the new seed thrive.
  • Adjust your watering regimen. Go back to a more frequent watering schedule for at least the first 2 weeks to jump start germination.
  • Mow back at normal height. Once the overseed germinates and begins to grow, raise the mow height back to the normal mowing height.
  • For all of you who live in cooler climates and have bare spots or problem areas in the cool season grasses, now is a great time to think about overseeding those areas. Remember though that your problems could be a result of poor soil quality or bad fertility. Make sure you do a soil sample to ensure you are not chasing a problem with wasted efforts and money.
  • Once you determine that your soil is healthy, make sure to rake and prepare the ground for seed germination. Again, choose the right seed that compliments the grass you either want or have in your lawn. Follow the instructions and make sure you water frequently for at least the first two weeks and then pull back the water schedule once the grass is taking a nice, strong stand. Use the fertilizer recommended by your soil sample. And finally, enjoy a fuller lawn.

Hidden Potential in Dead Leaves

I am driving back and forth to school, and I see large bags all over the roadway that are filled with leaves. I asked my 10-year old daughter if she knew why people should rake and bag leaves, and her simple reply was, “Your lawn looks better.” Her answer is exactly why most people rake the leaves out of their yards. People remove leaves from their lawns because they view it as a cleaner look with better curb appeal. But what you need to know is that fall leaves can impact not only a healthy lawn or garden but also the environment.

Lolli HopHop: The Landscaping Bunny knows, more than anyone, how beneficial fall leaves can be.

I totally understand why people want to rake leaves and clean up the yard, but what you do with the leaves is something you should consider. Instead of bundling up the leaves in a large bag and placing it street-side, consider using them for their nutrients. When the leaves are picked up by the public works department, they are hauled off to the landfill where the piles of debris undergo anaerobic decomposition due to the lack of oxygen. This results in the release of methane into our environment and contributes to climate change. According to the EPA Website (epa.gov), “In 2017, landfills received about 8.7 million tons of yard trimmings, which comprised 6.2 percent of all MSW (municipal solid waste) landfilled.” Moreover, when homeowners use blowers some leaves can end up in the watershed. This vegetative material then decomposes in the water generating nutrients that can also cause excess amounts of nitrogen, contributing to conditions favorable for toxic algae blooms.

Leaves are a natural fertilizer, weed barrier, and wildlife sanctuary and can easily be used as a mulch product. Instead of bagging or blowing the material, gather the leaves and place them around your bushes, plants, and trees. This will help recycle the natural fertilizer to the benefit of the plant. Due to the availability of oxygen in composting, the leaves will decompose without producing much, if any, methane and continually feed plants with healthy nutrients throughout the winter. And for the caterpillars or other creatures that rely upon vegetative debris for winter survival, you provide the perfect sanctuary for the winter. So, next time you consider bagging and removing your leaves, sure – bag them, but recycle them. Your plants, environment and even the caterpillars will benefit!

How JubileeScape makes smart recommendations using SoilKit

One landscaper in Alabama asks every homeowner to use SoilKit before they ever touch their lawn – here’s why. Our friends at JubileeScape perform landscaping services for commercial and residential clients all over the Gulf Coast. When it comes to attracting business from new homeowners, they use SoilKit to help find hot leads in new neighborhoods. 

Here’s how: JubileeScape delivers dozens of SoilKits to the doorstep of homes in their operating market, along with information on their residential services. Potential customers send in their soil for testing using SoilKit’s simple, prepaid collection through the mail, and SoilKit provides JubileeScape with the results of each home’s analysis. Landscaper passes the results on to each homeowner, beginning the sales process.

With the science on their side, JubileeScape can build a personalized soil fertility program for every homeowner’s specific needs – and with digestible nutrient reports, it’s easy to build a compelling sales pitch while educating customers on soil chemistry. 

Does it work? Here’s what Gulf and Eastern Shore area account manager Bryant Traylor has to say:

“I don’t think we’ll ever do another soil test without using the SoilKit.”

Bryant Traylor – Gulf and Eastern Shore Area Account Manager, JubileeScape

See the science for yourself. Go to soilkit.com to get started.

Palisades Zoysia: Prepare For Dropping Temperatures

Enjoy your Palisades Zoysia lawn in the fall and prepare it for winter.

This year I got to meet and speak to a lot of my neighbors. Our neighborhood was filled with families walking their children up and down the streets during the spring months. If you were like the millions of people that worked from home with the COVID-19 shut down, you likely got to make a lot of new friends.

This year, more people worked at home and spent time in their yards working with their lawn than ever. You may have even done something different like planting a garden or taking on another, unique home improvement project. Now that fall is here and winter is fast approaching, getting your lawn ready for colder temperatures is important. Something magical happens in the fall that causes the vibrant colors to appear on the trees. The fall colors are triggered by a cool front or frost that hits the trees. It traps the carbohydrates in the tree leaves. It is these carbohydrates that stop transferring food into the wood and down into the roots. The more vibrant the leaves are, the more likely the growing season for the trees was positive. It takes good soil health and great growing conditions that produce high levels of carbohydrates to produce beautiful fall colors.

Your Zoysia lawn is a lot like the trees in the fall. All summer, it uptakes nutrients and grows so that you have a beautiful lawn. Then, fall comes and it is very critical for the Zoysia plant to slow down its upward and lateral growth and begin the important work of storing carbohydrates. In the fall, your lawn begins focusing on storing carbohydrates into the roots and stolons, down at the soil level. If your Zoysia lawn is healthy in the fall, it is working overtime to store as much carbohydrate in the plant as possible. This will make sure it survives the winter and has plenty of food supplies to come out in the spring. A weak Zoysia plant in the fall makes your Zoysia lawn susceptible to winter damage and slow spring green up. It all begins in the soil. Taking another soil sample in the beginning of the fall is a great time to make sure that your lawn is getting the right nutrients to keep it healthy through winter and spring. To help your Zoysia lawn get ready for winter it needs to be transferring energy down and not up or out.

That is where soil health comes in. Lower nitrogen and adequate supplies of potassium and phosphate in the fall allows the grass to push the energy down into the lower parts of the plant. Too much nitrogen in the fall keeps the plants pushing up and not storing this energy. Keeping the pH between 5.7 and 6.5 will give your Zoysia the freedom to convert the soil nutrients into energy. Some areas in the southern US have had a lot of rain this year and it may have leached out more of your potassium. If so, that will impact the supply of carbohydrates that are needed for winter hardiness. The soil test will help identify that, and it can be easily corrected in your fall fertilization program.

A couple maintenance points to remember:

Make sure to keep the mowing height to 1-3″ and also put down a pre-emergent to keep the winter weeds away. And before your Zoysia lawn goes into full dormancy, keep an eye out for threatening insects and disease. I found a great website to read about all of the things to look for in the fall to make sure you lawn stays healthy. Find it here.

Keeping your Zoysia lawn healthy and enjoyable year-round is not as difficult as many other lawn grasses. Just knowing some of the key things to look out for is critical. Your Zoysia lawn can last as long as your house stands with proper care. This is the time of the year you should be able to really enjoy your lawn. Always
remember that a healthy lawn is not an accident.