Fescue – Chicken Litter Compost?

Q: I have a fescue lawn. I want to use composted chicken litter as a supplement to fertilizer to drive root growth. What is the best time to apply the litter? How often?

A: This is a situation where you’ll have to experiment to see what combination of chicken litter and regular fertilizer makes your turf look best. It’s hard to know how much litter would supply the nutrients your lawn needs. Depending on how old it is and where it came from, chicken litter has a typical fertilizer analysis of 3-3-2. You’d have to apply 33 pounds per 1000 square feet three times between September and March if you depended exclusively on litter for fertilizing your lawn. A disadvantage of litter is that it releases its nutrients slowly in cold weather. An advantage is that it supplies organic matter to the soil besides the chemical nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.