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View Full Version : local company only spraying Nitrogen year round as fert. Is this good?


Nathan Robinson
04-27-2007, 12:52 AM
A local company only sprays nitrogen as there fertilizer year round. Anyone, (like me or not) who has turf knowledge please post if this is a good thing or bad. Should we (fertilization and weed control operators) be doing more for these soils? Are Humus Content, ph, Soluble Salts, Calcium, Phosphate (HPO4), Potassium, Magnesium (Mg), Manganese, Sulfates (SO4), Boron, Zinc and other vital nutrients not of importance? Is there a such thing as to much Chlorides? Does this contridict us as providers if we are not keeping up on anything but Nitrogen? I was under the impression that roots where as important as the shoot in turfgrass. Can the cell walls in turf grass be completely healthy with only nitrogen? Ultimately is this ripping off the customer who doesnt understand grass by just making it grow and turn green?

indyturf
04-27-2007, 01:38 AM
I don't know of any companies spraying only nitrogen, but no that wouldn't be a good idea. anyone doing that is just out for a quick $$ and not thinking about the health of the turf long term.

Nathan Robinson
04-27-2007, 01:42 AM
Sort of what I was thinking. I would assume spraying nothing but salts such as nitrogen would make the soil crack in hot weather allowing warm air to be exposed to the roots causing severe damage to the grass plant in dormant seasons. I would love to know everyone else opinion on this.

heritage
04-27-2007, 02:10 AM
A local company only sprays nitrogen as there fertilizer year round. Anyone, (like me or not) who has turf knowledge please post if this is a good thing or bad. Should we (fertilization and weed control operators) be doing more for these soils? Are Humus Content, ph, Soluble Salts, Calcium, Phosphate (HPO4), Potassium, Magnesium (Mg), Manganese, Sulfates (SO4), Boron, Zinc and other vital nutrients not of importance? Is there a such thing as to much Chlorides? Does this contridict us as providers if we are not keeping up on anything but Nitrogen? I was under the impression that roots where as important as the shoot in turfgrass. Can the cell walls in turf grass be completely healthy with only nitrogen? Ultimately is this ripping off the customer who doesnt understand grass by just making it grow and turn green?


Nate,

Are you sure the company only sprays N??? All Season?? I highly doubt that.

Pete D.

Nathan Robinson
04-27-2007, 02:17 AM
Pete. I am sure buddy. Why do you doubt this? O...They spray iron here and there as well. They use weed control and crabgrass control as well. What I am saying is they only use nitrogen as their only fertilizer year round. Please display your opinion on this.

heritage
04-27-2007, 03:51 AM
Pete. I am sure buddy. Why do you doubt this? O...They spray iron here and there as well. They use weed control and crabgrass control as well. What I am saying is they only use nitrogen as their only fertilizer year round. Please display your opinion on this.

Nate,
Off the top of my head, applying only N is not a good thing, weather it be Urea or Ammonical Form. These acid forming fertilizers will Lower soil P.H. here in my soil type, putting Calcium in solution and also burning up Organic matter as N speeds the decomposition process. Soil microbes will also be supressed, and more diseases can follow.

The Tilth of the soil will become hard as organic matter is burned up too, and even less pore space in the soil....Less O2 in and Co2 exchanged. More bad stuff.

Phos. will be more locked up with Al as soils get even more acidic. If there is not enough P in solution, the turf will not have any energy for processes like growth and Sugar Transfer to roots. K will also become painfully low, as it will not lock up in soil, and lower with each rainfall or removal of clippings or both.

S will also lower as plants take up a tenth of a pound of S for every pound of N taken up by plants.

I could keep going, but I think you should get the picture. Plants need 13 Elements in the soil in proper proportions/balance, for plants to have those building blocks for healthy growth......With C,H and O fron the air, and of course Sunlight.


Just apply N, and turfgrass will decline for sure.

Pete D.

Runner
04-27-2007, 05:48 AM
There is a term for this....This is called tru-green mentality. This is probably al he knows.When you're taught by the biggest and best company out there, this is what you learn. NObody has nicer lawns than trugreen....nooooo body. After all, that is how their lawns stay so "nice and thick", and are so drought and nitrogen stress tolerant. Nope...THOSE lawns don't just lat over lifelessly. That's why you can never see footprints 3 days after someone walks on the grass, either.:rolleyes:

Grandview
04-27-2007, 06:24 AM
If P and K levels are already high, it is not a problem to apply only nitrogen.

tremor
04-27-2007, 07:21 AM
Correct....Turf will not "luxury feed" on P or K so if the soil is meeting the minimum needs then it is somewhat irresponsible to use P & K. Look at all the Phosphate bans our industry is seeing now.

garydale
04-27-2007, 07:51 AM
If N is the only thing lacking its fine with me.

It also causes a lawn to revert back to crap for the customer who cancels thinking he can do it himself.

Runner
04-27-2007, 12:19 PM
Yep. See, here,...we have adequate p rates consistently - which is one of the reasons we run without it (except in seeding operations). The k, being much slower than n to move also, is sometimes adequate, but the majority of time, lacking. we ALWAYS get results from applying higher amounts of it. as a matter of fact, around here, what happens is trubrown lawns literally grow thinner and thinner as the time goes by. I realize that they apply SOME k, but it is just never adequate amounts. They just go for the green-up per dollar factor. Personally, I LOVE taking on these yards - because it is so easy to show a difference to the customer in a relatively short amount of time (1/2 to 2/3 a season). The real results show the following season. Occasionally, I will go as far as to hit it with some higher sop if the conditions truly warrant it - just to expedite the results. True, there is a higher cost factor, than doing this over a little time, but many times, if it is that thin, the benefits outweigh the service calls and/or the weed potential.

Nathan Robinson
04-27-2007, 02:21 PM
ok, what about other thins outside P and K?!?!?!? Do you think they are really checking all of there soils for P and K levels? I highly doubt that. I just feel only applying N (year round) is cheap and ripping these people off. I would feel terrible if I was charging people to spray a slow release salt on there lawn year round. They may as well just apply Epson salt as cheap as thats being! Maybe I just value my lawns a little more and maybe I am concerned about soil health and the roots as well. I have a lawn right next door to one of this companies lawns and the difference is huge! There lawn is green. It also grows like crazy and when it gets hot I will see the other difference. How well does their program due in heat and drought stress.

heritage
04-27-2007, 02:44 PM
Yep. See, here,...we have adequate p rates consistently - which is one of the reasons we run without it (except in seeding operations). The k, being much slower than n to move also, is sometimes adequate, but the majority of time, lacking. we ALWAYS get results from applying higher amounts of it. as a matter of fact, around here, what happens is trubrown lawns literally grow thinner and thinner as the time goes by. I realize that they apply SOME k, but it is just never adequate amounts. They just go for the green-up per dollar factor. Personally, I LOVE taking on these yards - because it is so easy to show a difference to the customer in a relatively short amount of time (1/2 to 2/3 a season). The real results show the following season. Occasionally, I will go as far as to hit it with some higher sop if the conditions truly warrant it - just to expedite the results. True, there is a higher cost factor, than doing this over a little time, but many times, if it is that thin, the benefits outweigh the service calls and/or the weed potential.


Hi Runner,

I have adequate P levels too, But I have mostly clay soils and even with keeping soil P.H. around 6.2 The P is not very soluable. I confirmed this on warmer soils when P is more available...But Saturation Paste soil test showed little AVAILABLE P. I will use a 4-1-2 ratio spring and fall and a 1-0-1 ratio in the summer. If overseeding I will apply a starter fert with high P so it's available to those little seedlings before it gets locked up in my clay soils.

Plants need N,P,K,Ca,Mg,S in pretty large amounts....Thats why they are Macro Nutrients as you already know. If any One element is in short supply, Plants will suffer and not thrive.

The big movement to ban P should be dependant on soil types as well as nearby lakes, streams, and low water tables in sandy soil.

Plants without P? I see more disease, thin, unhealthy turf.

And what about the Farmers??? They use 10,000 times more P than all the green industry combined. You won't hear much about that though, cause we gotta eat right? Won't get much of a yield without P.

So just N on turf....No. Your soil tests show adequate P? Be sure it's available to the plant. Saturation Paste soil Test, and Standard soil test.

Pete D.

Nathan Robinson
04-27-2007, 02:50 PM
As far as adding (so called hocus pocus organics) would you agree in clay soils that a humic and fulvic acids are far more effective than any other sythetic chemical on the market? I sure do.

NattyLawn
04-27-2007, 04:17 PM
As far as adding (so called hocus pocus organics) would you agree in clay soils that a humic and fulvic acids are far more effective than any other sythetic chemical on the market? I sure do.


What is humate more effective at doing in your opinion?

DUSTYCEDAR
04-27-2007, 05:06 PM
p in the clay we have up here tends to stay for a while so i have been using higher k ferts and very little p and i am seeing better lawns for it

NattyLawn
04-27-2007, 05:40 PM
p in the clay we have up here tends to stay for a while so i have been using higher k ferts and very little p and i am seeing better lawns for it

I hear that Dusty...I've been using Nutrients Plus 7-2-12 with great results.

theturfboss
04-27-2007, 07:35 PM
[QUOTE=heritage;1810021]Hi Runner,

And what about the Farmers??? They use 10,000 times more P than all the green industry combined. You won't hear much about that though, cause we gotta eat right? Won't get much of a yield without P.

If you think your margins are slim, look at farmers margins over the last 30 years...They may be using 10,000 more times P, but I would bet that most of them only use what they need...P cost money, and most of them would not just spread it for fun.

P contamination is a hot topic in our area. The information I have read shows that most of the P in the soil stays there, as you know its highly immobile. Some surface run off from the turf may occur, and very leaching occurs. Most contamination comes from the run off of driveways, sidewalks, streets. Into the storm drain and into retention ponds, lakes, streams, etc. How many companies do not blow the hard surfaces clean and into the grass?

My thought is regulate how we use it and how we clean up after our selves, not necessarily regulating how much we use. Just my thoughts...

heritage
04-27-2007, 08:03 PM
Turf Boss,

I couldn't agree with you more.


Pete D.

americanlawn
04-27-2007, 08:36 PM
If N is the major nutrient lacking....okay, I see it. I know "most" of TruGreen's applications here are urea instead of a balanced/slow-release fert.

But it seems to be working for them.

Years ago, the urea thing would have worked well for most lawns.

Nowadays, most of "our" lawns are growing on CLAY soil.

So five years ago, we sent in over 200 soil samples throughout our clay-soil areas. There were several micronutrients lacking (not to mention the high Ph). I will not divulge the complete results, but iron, manganese, boron, etc.....were deficient.

We buy these needed micronutrients from "Agro Liquid" in Michigan.

Good luck.

J Hisch
04-27-2007, 08:58 PM
P and K may also get added on Round 1 with the crabgrass control, P and K may also get added with the Grub Control, P and K may also get added with fall seedings. You just never know, but applying 3.0- 3.5 LBS per year is what is recommded you never see suggested P and K levels. reason being every lawn is different, every soil is different and unless you soil test (lab style then adding P & K may be of no value, but if cultural signs show stress, or lawns are thining then maybe it might be time to add P & K

bntt68
04-27-2007, 10:37 PM
I agree with you Nathan. I think it is a bandaid fix. I am more concerned about having healthy turf rather than just green.

Shades of Green LService
04-27-2007, 10:42 PM
I agree with you Nathan. I think it is a bandaid fix. I am more concerned about having healthy turf rather than just green.

However, If you have a PITA, it comes in handy.

Nathan Robinson
04-27-2007, 11:15 PM
whats a PITA? 68, healthy soil means healthy turf. I see you are aware of this. There are some people that just dont get that concept...

Shades of Green LService
04-27-2007, 11:21 PM
whats a PITA? 68, healthy soil means healthy turf. I see you are aware of this. There are some people that just dont get that concept...

Pain In The A$$ = PITA

bntt68
04-27-2007, 11:23 PM
PITA= Pain in the a$$ Healthy Soil Rules!!!

muddstopper
05-04-2007, 12:23 AM
I cant believe all these highly educated lawn fertilizer applicators are compareing the amount of P used in agriculture to the amounts used in maintaining a healty lawn. The reason agriculture uses high levels of everything is because they are removing massive amounts of nutrients from the soil with every crop harvested. A 150 bushel corn crop will remove 78lbs of P per acre in the grain alone, more if the crop is cut for silage. In order to grow a similar size crop the following year, that 78lbs of P must be replaced. This is not the case in most lawn settings where clipping are left or mulched back into the lawn. Furthermore, fertilizers in row crops are usually banded into the soil where leaching is reduced, whereas with most lawn fertilizations, fertilizer is simply broadcast on top of the soil where it can run off in the event of a heavy rain shower. Yea, yea, I know about fertigation systems being used to apply fertilizers, but most farms dont have such systems in place.

If you are going to make comparisons, at least compare apples to apples

teeca
05-05-2007, 08:31 AM
i was wondering when and if this was going to come up on here.. after going to the green expo here in indy and sitting thru a few CCH class and listening to purdue (and the d*** from tru-green) talk about just using N and NOTHING else in your lawn program (as far as P K goes). they claim that the soil samples are loaded with all the p and k, so you dont need to add any. when i asked about Fe and other micro, they said they were just wasting money... after that i sat back and was glad that i was atleast getting my CCH for this and hoped that some of the newby's would do this...

muddstopper
05-05-2007, 10:48 AM
i was wondering when and if this was going to come up on here.. after going to the green expo here in indy and sitting thru a few CCH class and listening to purdue (and the d*** from tru-green) talk about just using N and NOTHING else in your lawn program (as far as P K goes). they claim that the soil samples are loaded with all the p and k, so you dont need to add any. when i asked about Fe and other micro, they said they were just wasting money... after that i sat back and was glad that i was atleast getting my CCH for this and hoped that some of the newby's would do this...

While these statements might of been made by truegreen, I just cant see Purdue endorseing such a program. My soils adverage about 18lb of P per acre, based on actual soil samples. Now how on earth is my grass going to get what it needs by just applying N fertilizer. Completely irresponsible. Furthermore, high applications, and even repeated lite applications of N only will result in the driving out of the available calcium in the soil, result in the depletion of soil humus, and encourage harmful bacterial and fungi growth in the soil. Also such a treatment will require even heavier amounts of N in later applications simply because of the tieing up of other nutrients. In my opinon, any fertilizer application should be based on soil test results from the area of application, and fertilizer requirements should be based on the needs of the soil and not the growing needs of the plants. You get the soil right and the plants will get what they need. Idiots like that tr***green rep are the reason our lakes and streams are polluted with Nitrates and Phosphates. If you continue to add N only fertilizer, you will eventually have to start adding calcium, even if you are in the extreme calcariuos soils of the midwest, simply because there wont be any availabe calcium to the plants. Without the calcium most of the other nutrients wont be avialable to the plants either.

teeca
05-05-2007, 03:29 PM
muddstoper, i'm with you, the professor at purdue zack was the one giving the class. they can say what they want, but i'm sticking with what i know works, my question was ya it might be their, but the grass isn't getting it, our soill Ph is on the high side, and adding iron does help. regardless of what TG and zack say.

muddstopper
05-05-2007, 04:54 PM
In their defense, they did say that the soil test showed everything else was therre in abundance, but the way it seems to have been presented, it looks like they are saying the soil is that way everywhere.

In your case with high ph and low iron availability, you might want to look at your base calcium saturations. It could be that your soil has to much calcium and or Phosphorous and that is what is locking up your iron. If that is the case, you can try driving out the calcium by raising potassium and magnesium levels by using magnesium sulfate and potassium sulfate, or maybe even amonnium sulfate, of course without a soil test I am just guessing. For all I know, your soil could be severly deficient in iron.

teeca
05-05-2007, 07:20 PM
i use SOP, used MOP for years. i'd like to use ammonnium, but can't realy find anybody that use's it, they just use urea. my understanding is that the ammon is that it is slower uptake, but less laching?? since you brought this up, is that correct? also, i put down .5# N per k (urea) would i do the same with ammon? or if i decided to go with both, could i split the .5# N between them have results? thanks