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grnbld
03-18-2006, 11:22 PM
New to fertilization.

Are there any differences between agriculture fertilizers and turf fertilizers?

olderthandirt
03-19-2006, 12:05 AM
New to fertilization.

Are there any differences between agriculture fertilizers and turf fertilizers?

Yes......................................................

nocutting
03-19-2006, 01:10 AM
Yes......................................................
Think you can elaborate just alittle ?

TURF DOCTOR
03-19-2006, 01:32 AM
Ag is fast release, turf is slow release,turf is mostly nitrogen not all of it but most.

olderthandirt
03-19-2006, 01:46 AM
that should help you through 90% ^^^^^^^

grnbld
03-19-2006, 10:59 AM
Is there any laws against using ag fert on residential turf? Reason I ask is that when you talk to people at places like lesco they frown real fast and give you reasons not to use that type of product. I understand that they are competitors and they are pushing their product for sales, but I believe a person told me it was against the law in one of our conversations. Does anyone know if this is true? I have looked in books and on the internet but I have not found anything stating one way or the other.

muddstopper
03-19-2006, 11:04 AM
the real answer is no there is no difference between ag type fertilizers and turf type fertilizers. There are differences in blends. Turf fertilizers tend to use poly coated and osmos coated nitrogens but the nitrogens are still the same nitrogens that you can buy for ag purposes, they just have an extra coating to help control release times. Farmers have a hard time justifiying the extra cost of extra coatings on the fertilizers they use. Turf people on the other hand are treating relatively small areas and the exta cost is minimal and can be passed on to their customers, but it is still the same fertilizer under that coating. Before I get jumped on for those statements, There are numerous types of fetilizers available, not only in nitrogen but in P and K and all the other forms of micro nutrients, farmers can and do use these other forms as well as the turf grass professional. Large crop farmers tend to use more of the exotic types of fertilizers than the turf grass people. At least those that are trying to balance their soil fertility levels.

muddstopper
03-19-2006, 11:12 AM
Is there any laws against using ag fert on residential turf? Reason I ask is that when you talk to people at places like lesco they frown real fast and give you reasons not to use that type of product. I understand that they are competitors and they are pushing their product for sales, but I believe a person told me it was against the law in one of our conversations. Does anyone know if this is true? I have looked in books and on the internet but I have not found anything stating one way or the other.


I have never heard of any law that says you have to use only fertilizer labeled for turf use on a residential lawn. Lesco doesnt sell a lot of fertilizer to farmers simply because of pricing. I can see why they wouldnt want you buying your fertilizer from the local farmers co-op. It would save you money and cost lesco sales if you started going to the co-op for all your fertilizer needs. Now get your butt up to your co-op and start saving money.

TURF DOCTOR
03-19-2006, 11:15 AM
bottom line go to lesco and use there turf fertilize pay the little extra the results will sell you it's not that much more expensive.

Az Gardener
03-19-2006, 11:38 AM
Mudstopper is right, at the core its all the same. Here we have neither lesco or co-ops but we do have companies that service both farmers and LCO's, bulk pricing is the biggest difference. Farmers here use mostly liquid fert and most LCO use granular. I buy liquid too because of my injectors but at 30-50 gal. per purchase I don t get the discount the farmers do. I pay 12.00 per gal. and farmers pay 8-9 per gal. This is for a humate based bridge product not straight synthetic. Probably will be the same for you.

SWD
03-19-2006, 11:47 AM
The primary difference between agricultural fert and turf type - aside from the obvious analysis supporting crops versus turf - is prill size.
Most synthetic fertilizers begin to weather once contact with sufficient amounts of water occurs. This weathering process on the more open areas of farm fields is not damaging to the crops as the osmatic pressure isn't there.
The same fert on a turf site is extremely damaging due to these larger prill sizes. Once the weathering process begins, where do you think the predominant amount of moisture generating the weathering is coming from?
The moisture in the turf's leaf tissue - insufficient additional water from either rain or an irrigation system and bingo - burning.
The yellowing, stunted, damaged appearance following a incorrectly applied fertilizer. This is actually a desiccated situation in the plant as the available moisture has been adsorbed by the fertilizer, drying out the grass plant.
I would highly recommend staying away from ag size fert and for a better process use greens grade fert instead.

TURF DOCTOR
03-19-2006, 11:58 AM
Good answer...

PaulJ
03-19-2006, 04:14 PM
Blend consistency is another difference . I know with lesco it is always the same bag to bag and spreads the nutrients evenly.

DUSTYCEDAR
03-19-2006, 04:50 PM
its not what u use but how u use it i can go into lesco and get a 50 lb bag of fert and get 50 to 100 k out of that bag but i know how to do it and not get burn it all depends on what i am trying to do if i just want a quick green or a long feed cycle
i try to do what is best for the lawn and not always my wallet i like to keep my customers :waving:

grnbld
03-19-2006, 05:58 PM
Well for the prices I was quoted from Lesco its not just a little extra there is a big difference. We are just getting into the fertilization so we don't have alot of customers for this service yet. But with those prices I don't see how a small time guy can compete w/ companies like Scotts or Trugreen. I understand the more you buy the better the price but you have to start some where some how.

grnbld
03-19-2006, 06:00 PM
If you don't watch your wallet you won't have to worry about much in the long run anyway. You have to do both.

TURF DOCTOR
03-19-2006, 06:10 PM
Well with trugreen i have mowed right beside the property they were spraying H20 nothing but water,a bag of 46-0-0 at lesco is like 18 bucks,a bag of straight amonia nitrate at the feed store is like 15 bucks.

muddstopper
03-19-2006, 06:18 PM
The only reason I can see to choose lesco fertilizer over the ag types is if the lesco rep can give you good advice on which product you need to use,(not likely), then the service is worth the premium price. Any fertilizer you can buy at lesco, you should be able to get at the local farm co-op. The co-op might not stock certain types but they can get it, or at least my Southern States dealer can, I am sure Royster Clark can also. I have my fertilizer special blended and I get if from Royster Clark. Try and get lesco to special blend a fertilizer for you, I dont think they will, but then again, I dont buy from lesco.

Agri-AFC
03-19-2006, 06:38 PM
the real answer is no there is no difference between ag type fertilizers and turf type fertilizers. There are differences in blends.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

TURF DOCTOR
03-19-2006, 06:53 PM
Well there is sulfer coating on lesco keep from burning,southern states not.

LLandscaping
03-19-2006, 07:26 PM
The fertilizer you buy at CoOps is usually not slow release. Straight nitrogen that is not slow release will burn the lawn.

TURF DOCTOR
03-19-2006, 07:29 PM
I'm going out on a limb here,if you get the water for turf there is probally not much difference but who gets water man we had a drought last season.

grnbld
03-19-2006, 11:01 PM
I haven't been quoted under 19.99 for anything they sell. I take that back when I talked to them a couple of months ago about getting into the fertilizing they actually did have some decent pricing. When I went to buy there product a week ago things changed. I guess it was my bad for not getting it on paper.

grnbld
03-20-2006, 06:44 AM
Just wanted say thanks for everyones input. It's pretty cool that everyone in this business is willing to help each other.

YardPro
03-20-2006, 07:01 AM
i have to disagree with mudstopper.
he is absolutely right in saying that there is no difference in the actual nitrogen in the two, But that is where our consensus ends.

ag grade fertilizer is a very shortlived product. there is no time release to the prills. you will get a big growth spurt, then a very rapid tapering off.
also the big problem is nirtogen runoff. the ag grade will release nitrogen much faster than most turf ( except mabey bermuda) can uptake it. this creaste excess nitrogen in the soil strata. it will move downwarn into the surface water supply, then begin to move elsewhere....

This is a large concern especially if you are in a coastal area, or close to rivers and streams. It it environmentally irresponsible to use an ag grade product on a residental turf situation.

the processing of the different grades (ag, professional, and nursery) are quite different.

prill consistancy and size are very different, and is the amount of "dust" in the product.

using an ag grade fertilizer just to make more money is a greed driven irresponsible act. this type of behavior is one of the big reasons for fish kills, increasing phosphorous levels in lakes and rivers, and therefore the increasing legislation tightening the noose on our applications.

muddstopper
03-20-2006, 06:51 PM
Yardpro, we are not disagreeing, we are talking about two different things. I can get the same time release fertilizers from my farmers co-op that I can buy at lesco. It will be coated the same, contain the same phrill size and the same type of NPK. All i have to do is ask for it, and it will cost less than Lesco. I have spent a lot of time learning what it takes to increase my soil fertility. I am still learning, but a lb of Urea, is a lb of urea, requardless where I buy it. ( I dont buy or use Urea) The difference is in the special coatings that control the release. Now our approach will vary according to what we are trying to acheive, and I certainly am not suggesting that you are wrong in your approach to fertilization. ( I dont even know what your approach is). I do know that your coastal soils require different approaches than my NC mountain soils. I base my opinons on what works for me. When science says one thing and the results in the field say another, I choose the results in the field. Its only science if it works everytime and is repeatable.

Agri-AFC
03-20-2006, 09:52 PM
Yardpro, we are not disagreeing, we are talking about two different things. I can get the same time release fertilizers from my farmers co-op that I can buy at lesco. It will be coated the same, contain the same phrill size and the same type of NPK. All i have to do is ask for it, and it will cost less than Lesco. I have spent a lot of time learning what it takes to increase my soil fertility. I am still learning, but a lb of Urea, is a lb of urea, requardless where I buy it. ( I dont buy or use Urea) The difference is in the special coatings that control the release. Now our approach will vary according to what we are trying to acheive, and I certainly am not suggesting that you are wrong in your approach to fertilization. ( I dont even know what your approach is). I do know that your coastal soils require different approaches than my NC mountain soils. I base my opinons on what works for me. When science says one thing and the results in the field say another, I choose the results in the field. Its only science if it works everytime and is repeatable.
We have genius here. Great response.

SWD
03-20-2006, 10:16 PM
What you need to understand is that the sulfur coating is not there to prevent "burning".
All synthetic fertilizer, regardless of the ratio, contains salt.
Learn soil chemistry and understand the valiances associated with soil structure, and this will make sense.
Sulfur exists to free up exchange sites on the soil structure, for a short term buffer the pH, and act as a mechanism to leach salts from the soil.
Sulfur has absolutely not one thing to due with relief from osmatic pressure.
The salt, which is an integral part of synthetic urea and IBDU based fertilizers, is incredibly damaging on the microbial activity which exists in the soil, and is necessary for proper plant respiration.
What is accomplished by synthetic fertilizers is a short term replacement of microbial activity masked by plant growth.
Less expensive, synthetic fertilizers, serves as a short term solution to overall edaphic management.
Provided you wish to gamble with account stability, continue to use synthetic ferts.
For sustained growth, manage the microbial populations in the soil.
Increased turf vigor, resiliency, turgor, density and health - to name a few benefits, will result.
There exists many alternatives for non-salt containing fertilizers in the turf industry.
The Ag industry will not, on a large scale, transition due to costs.
However, this economy of scale approach, is not applicable to turf-grass sites.
Balance the amount of acreage you maintain by that of a farmer maintaining 1-2 K acres.
The farmer can't pay for the non salt containing ferts as his profit margin is too low - this doesn't mean yours has to be.

grnbld
03-20-2006, 10:24 PM
Yard pro, I appreciate the advice, but to say using an ag grade is a greed driven irresponsible act is a little much. I don't think we are talking apples to apples here. I am talking about what muddstopper said. From what I understand talking w/ sales reps they can provide me w/ an identicle product as lesco for a lot cheaper price. It will have the same release rate, particle size, ect. Why would anyone frown on that. Is that greed or smart business?

If it is killing fish and doing everything you claim, and it is environmentally irresponsible to use an ag grade product on a residental turf situation why wouldn't our government put a stop to it altogether?

TurfProSTL
03-21-2006, 02:33 AM
Its whats in the bag that counts, not whose brand is on it.

Check the analysis on the bag and the nutrient sources. Try some of the "ag grade" out on a small scale to check out the spreadabilty, particle size, dust, etc.

There are many suppliers out there not named Lesco that produce very good products.....

muddstopper
03-21-2006, 07:57 PM
Heres a little quiz for some of you.

1.What nutrient does nitrogen take the most of with it when it leaches from the soil.
2.If the soil contains 2% sodium and 1.5% potassium, which will the plant take up first.
3. a.Which nutrient causes the most compaction of the soil. b. Which nutrient will make soil the hardest.
4. Which nutrient will attract and hold moisture.
5. Your base saturation calcium is 68% and magnesium is 12%, does this need to be corrected.
6. How many lbs of soil, (approx) are there in one acre 3 inches deep.
7. Magnesium levels are high in your soil, what nutrient(s) would you use to bring those levels down.
8. Calcium puts the starch in the leaves, which nutrient is responsible for putting the starch in the grain.
9. Name three nutrients that help the plant defend against insects and disease.
10. Which source of phosphorous will remain available the longest. 0/20/0, 0/46/0, 18/46/0 DAP.

Agri-AFC
03-21-2006, 09:42 PM
Its whats in the bag that counts, not whose brand is on it.

Check the analysis on the bag and the nutrient sources. Try some of the "ag grade" out on a small scale to check out the spreadabilty, particle size, dust, etc.

There are many suppliers out there not named Lesco that produce very good products.....
I couldn't agree more.

muddstopper
03-22-2006, 06:35 AM
Nobody care to take my test?? Or are some of the so called experts not as expert as they want people to think they are

grnbld
03-22-2006, 07:37 AM
I'm new to fert so I couldn't answer all of those questions, but a would like to know where you find answers to specific questions like that? Is that a certain titled book or just internet and library info you have to reseach and get an answer here and an answer there?

Those question aren't on the turf exam. It's amazing what you don't have to know.

muddstopper
03-22-2006, 07:17 PM
Answers
1.What nutrient does nitrogen take the most of with it when it leaches from the soil.
ans. Nitrogen that leaches out of the soil will carry several nutrients with it, but nitrogen will attach itself to calcium and take it with it when leaching occurs.

2.If the soil contains 2% sodium and 1.5% potassium, which will the plant take up first.
ans. Plants dont distinguse between sodium and potassium. If sodium levels are 1/10 of 1 % higher than potassium, the plant will take up the sodium first.

3. a.Which nutrient causes the most compaction of the soil.
ans. magnesium will tighten the soil and can cause compaction.
b. Which nutrient will make soil the hardest.
ans. While calcium tends to loosen the soil, to much calcium will result in soil that is as hard as concrete.

4. Which nutrient will attract and hold moisture.
ans. Magnesium

5. Your base saturation calcium is 68% and magnesium is 12%, does this need to be corrected.
ans. Under most soil conditions this would be considered a perfect calcium to nitrogen ratio. Soils that have low CEC rates will benefit from lower calcium ratios and higher magnesium ratios. The total percentages of calcium should be 80% Calcium will replace magnesium on a lb per lb relationship
6. How many lbs of soil, (approx) are there in one acre 3 inches deep.
ans. There is approx 1 million lbs of soil in one acre of area, 3 inches deep. If you are applying nutrients according to PPM, (parts per million), you would add one lb of the nutrient for every ppm that you wish to increase the nutrient levels. If you are treating 6 inches of soil you would use 2 lbs of the nutrient to increase the ppm of that nutrient in the soil.

7. Magnesium levels are high in your soil, what nutrient(s) would you use to bring those levels down.
ans. Calcium will replace magnesium percentages of base saturation on a lb per lb basis, but calcium should only be used if the calcium levels are low also. If calcium loevels are hig and the magnesium levels are high, then sulfur will lower magnesium levels and actually leach magnesium from the soil

8. Calcium puts the starch in the leaves, which nutrient is responsible for putting the starch in the grain.
ans. boron
9. Name three nutrients that help the plant defend against insects and disease.
ans. several nutrients will help plants fight off disease and insects, but Boron, Copper, and Zinc are usually the nutrients that are deficient in most soils.

10. Which source of phosphorous will remain available the longest. 0/20/0, 0/46/0, 18/46/0 DAP.
ans. test have shown that P in the form of 0/20/0, and 0/46/0 will become lockedup in the soil in as little as 4 days in bad conditions and as little as 8 days in good conditions. 18/46/0 DAP has shown to have the longest availability time.

Prolawnservice
03-22-2006, 08:15 PM
Nobody care to take my test?? Or are some of the so called experts not as expert as they want people to think they are

Off the top of my head without looking I got them all but 3b, 6(didn't feel like doing the math:dizzy: ), 9 and 10, I actually thought 10 was a trick question till I read the answers. I believe I learned most of this in hands on agronomy, great book.

muddstopper
03-22-2006, 09:41 PM
Hands On Agronomy by Neal Kinsey. I have been meaning to buy his book but havent gotten around to it yet. For those interested the book can be found at Acre's USA.

Question number 10 came from a study done by the Tennesee Valley Authority, (TVA), several years ago.

to answer grnbld question, not all information is found in text books, never limit yourself to just one source of information. Easiest place to start is just simple internet searches. Just type in a subject you are interested in and start reading the links. You will often find one site will lead you to several others.

muddstopper
03-22-2006, 10:01 PM
http://www.acresusa.com/books/closeup.asp?prodid=5&catid=27&pcid=2

fertit
04-04-2006, 11:10 AM
You make some good points here, however- Salt Index- IBDU has the lowest salt index of any controlled/slow release out there. Also- products such as Nitroform are very low as well, and have been proven to increase microbial populations because they are release through microbial feeding.
Check salt indexes on the internet. Many Ag universities publish these charts. The key to using higher salt indexed fertilizers, which are essentially uncoated or non-reacted, is to use less per treatment but more often. That is the reason for using slow-release. Use more less often.

What you need to understand is that the sulfur coating is not there to prevent "burning".
All synthetic fertilizer, regardless of the ratio, contains salt.
Learn soil chemistry and understand the valiances associated with soil structure, and this will make sense.
Sulfur exists to free up exchange sites on the soil structure, for a short term buffer the pH, and act as a mechanism to leach salts from the soil.
Sulfur has absolutely not one thing to due with relief from osmatic pressure.
The salt, which is an integral part of synthetic urea and IBDU based fertilizers, is incredibly damaging on the microbial activity which exists in the soil, and is necessary for proper plant respiration.
What is accomplished by synthetic fertilizers is a short term replacement of microbial activity masked by plant growth.
Less expensive, synthetic fertilizers, serves as a short term solution to overall edaphic management.
Provided you wish to gamble with account stability, continue to use synthetic ferts.
For sustained growth, manage the microbial populations in the soil.
Increased turf vigor, resiliency, turgor, density and health - to name a few benefits, will result.
There exists many alternatives for non-salt containing fertilizers in the turf industry.
The Ag industry will not, on a large scale, transition due to costs.
However, this economy of scale approach, is not applicable to turf-grass sites.
Balance the amount of acreage you maintain by that of a farmer maintaining 1-2 K acres.
The farmer can't pay for the non salt containing ferts as his profit margin is too low - this doesn't mean yours has to be.