Early Green Up – Randy’s Way

In our frequent “warmer then normal” Januarys, I usually recommend the “early green up” on my lawn schedule.  This always triggers a series of calls asking, “Randy, you hinted that it may be time to put down the 15-5-10, but isn’t it too early, considering your schedule says “end of February, early March?”  I figure an explanation is in order so we can clear up any confusion caused by my “off schedule” recommendations during periods of mild weather in late winter. 

Here are some example responses:

My Answer: It’s warm enough, and even if we get another cold front, it doesn’t appear that anything on the horizon will take us below freezing for extended periods. It’s mostly about soil temperature, anyway. One night with a few hours at 35 degrees is not enough to reduce soil temperatures that have warmed up considerably during the past few weeks. So, yes, apply now without any problems. Or, if you want, wait and stay true to the schedule.

Another question…   

“I have been seeing 15-5-10 weed-and-feeds with either Trimec or Atrazine. Which one do you prefer?”

My Answer: I don’t typically recommend any weed-and-feed products. You should only use a fast-acting, fertilizer-only formulation, the most common being Nitro-Phos Imperial 15-5-10. But how bad is your weed problem? If you have lots of broadleaf weeds, I will make a rare exception and allow the use of Trimec-based Nitro-Phos 15-5-10 Weed & Feed in the aqua-blue bag. BUT avoid the dark-blue bag that is Atrazine-based. Anyway, if you follow my schedule long enough, you’ll have a healthy yard and won’t need weed-and-feeds in the first place. 

Another question…

“I’ve been following the schedule, and the results have been great. In fact, my yard is already greener than any others near me, so do I really need the 15-5-10?” 

My Answer: If you’re a longtime GardenLine listener, successful in all your gardening work, you should already know that the early green-up 15-5-10 is totally, completely, undeniably and most certainly OPTIONAL. If you’ve had success with the basic slow-release fertilizers and winterizer, you do not have to put out the fast-acting 15-5-10 at all. It’s only good for 30-45 days anyhow, and if you’re green now, and you put the April 1 slow-release formula out per the schedule, you’ll be doing just fine. No one is going to force you to do anything else.