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phasthound
08-25-2008, 10:06 PM
You guys know that I come from the dark side. :)
Well actually, I come from a long background in woody ornamental care. From the 70's to the late 90's it was taught that high N was God's gift to trees. After all, look at that great green flush of growth it produced! Now that's a healthy tree. Over time it was realized that the flush of growth actually took energy away from root systems and defense systems. Research showed that trees feed high N were more susceptible to insects, diseases and drought stress. The tree care industry has moved away from promoting excessive N and towards biostimulants & organic matter.

So, I would like to know what the benefits of high N for turf are aside from a quick green up. I'm not bashing anything or asking for university studies. I honestly want to know, cause it doesn't make sense to me.

ProLawns
08-25-2008, 11:26 PM
Turf grasses need nitrogen to maintain their color and vigor. Different grasses need different amounts of nitrogen and at different times. As a rule of thumb apply during their growing season, warm season grasses in the summer, cool season grasses spring and falll etc. It's best to use fertilizer that is at least 30% slow release, 50% is even better. Too much quick release nitrogen just gives a quick flush of growth that usually does more harm than good.

bug-guy
08-25-2008, 11:28 PM
i don't understand this high N question. a bag of 24-2-11 covers 12000 ft2, 15-0-15 covers 7500. @ 1 lb per 1000 same amount of N per 1000. homeowners always come in and say 24-2-11 that's too much N, i just show them the 16-0-8 then they are happy.

pinto n mwr
08-25-2008, 11:32 PM
highest possible N with the highest possible slow release. Gives me more time in between apps. Also opens the possiblility to not apply at a full lb and achive good color. When you deal with 100+ HOA's you need a looooong duration fert

rcreech
08-26-2008, 12:03 AM
There is no comparison between woody ornamentals and turf...so I think that is the best answer! With that said, some types of turf take more N then others. Almost too broad of a question.

FdLLawnMan
08-26-2008, 12:12 AM
Nitrogen is the key nutrient for turfgrass. I attended a seminar this past winter which spoke of this very subject. Turfgrass needs 17 essential nutrients to grow. It is extremely rare in my state to be short of any of the 6 micronutrients, 3 secondary macronutrients, phosophorius or potassium and oxygen. That gives you 12 of the 13 essential nutrients for growth. It has never been shown in any study to my knowledge that adding additional amounts of the previously mentioned nutrients to a soil that already has adequate amounts leads to any additional benefits. If you add iron all you are doing is staining the plant to a darker color. Iron is also one of the few, maybe only that you can over apply without hurting the plant.
That leaves us with nitrogen. Nitrogen applied at the correct time, in the correct amounts leads to a healthier, thicker stand of turf. When you add organic matter to the soil, which is good, you are adding material that the microbes break down into nitrogen. The problem with organic matter is the soil will only support about a 5% level. My soil has 5% organic matter in it, but you can really tell when I apply the fertilizer. The plant itself really does not care what form the nitrogen originally comes from. It just cares how much is there and if there is enough moisture so it can use it. Nitrogen is the only element that the plant will luxury feed on. The more nitrogen you feed it, the more the plant grows. A typical turf football field will receive between 6 & 8 lbs a year of nitrogen.
In cool season turfs, 2/3 of the nitrogen applied should be applied in the fall. My programs consist of the following, a lb of nitrogen in the late spring or early summer, of which it is at least a 80% slow release, a lb of 50% slow release in late summer, early fall, and then a lb of a 30% slow release or straight urea as my late fall feeding. Most of my lawns have the clippings put back on the lawn so that is worth about a lb a year. I could replace the first feeding with an organic fertilizer but I have yet to find one that is the same cost as what I am paying now.
One year I applied about .25 lbs of liquid nitrogen per k every 10 to 14 days on my lawn. That was the best my lawn ever looked, but who is going to pay for that.
So that is my short dissertation on nitrogen. If anybody disagrees with me or has anything to add I am all ears, or eyes.

whoopassonthebluegrass
08-26-2008, 12:23 AM
For me it's simply logistics: the higher the N the less I have to carry around, the less I have to refill the hopper, the less I have to store, the less trash...

fertit
08-26-2008, 04:44 PM
For me it's simply logistics: the higher the N the less I have to carry around, the less I have to refill the hopper, the less I have to store, the less trash...

Amen Brother- just use as much SRN as possible and make it go even further. :weightlifter:

americanlawn
08-26-2008, 10:35 PM
If I have to push a spreader with twice the amount of fert weight in the hopper (up hills & through thick turf, or wet grass), I'd tell my boss he can shove it. M, D, & C. This reply is posted by American's employees with the owner present.

I agree. That's why we have "technology". (duh) Larry



Amen Brother- just use as much SRN as possible and make it go even further. :weightlifter:

bobbyge
08-26-2008, 10:42 PM
high nitrogen fert has its place. and it is important. as does low nitrogen fert. it's all a matter of the talent, in the man behind the spreader.

jdmcat
08-26-2008, 10:54 PM
I don't think phasthound is talking about the percentage of N in the fertilizer, but rather how much we put down per 1000. (correct me if I'm wrong)

He does make an interesting point though, as there are several turf diseases that are only made worse by applying N.

RigglePLC
08-26-2008, 11:32 PM
Plant clover--then you don't need nitrogen.

cod8825
08-27-2008, 12:30 AM
Better yet Riggle Round up

phasthound
08-27-2008, 08:20 AM
I don't think phasthound is talking about the percentage of N in the fertilizer, but rather how much we put down per 1000. (correct me if I'm wrong)

He does make an interesting point though, as there are several turf diseases that are only made worse by applying N.

Ah, there ya go.

phasthound
08-27-2008, 08:24 AM
If I have to push a spreader with twice the amount of fert weight in the hopper (up hills & through thick turf, or wet grass), I'd tell my boss he can shove it. M, D, & C. This reply is posted by American's employees with the owner present.

I agree. That's why we have "technology". (duh) Larry

Is 3 to 4 lbs per 1000 an unreasonable amount to push?

There is new technology involved in how NP's chicken sh*t is processed. It is not the bulky, dusty smelly product that is usually associated with other sh*t.

phasthound
08-27-2008, 08:27 AM
Plant clover--then you don't need nitrogen.

Clover seeds used to be included in what was considered a good turf grass seed mix because of the N boost it provides. It took millions of marketing dollars to convince the American public that clover is a weed.

tremor
08-27-2008, 09:20 AM
"High N" fertilizer is what a "high N" crop requires. Hence a 4-1-2 ration is the desired approach for turf production & maintenance.

It's not the numbers on the bag but the ratio we're concerned with.

4-1-2
16-4-8
24-6-12
32-8-16 (can't be made with current technology) but you should get the idea by now.

3-4 # per season is OK for cool season grasses that are not expected to perform under demanding conditions. Turf is usually treated to .75-1# of Nitrogen per visit so divide the desired rate of N by the decimal analysis. Let' use 1#N as the benchmark for simplicity.

I don't feel that the Lawn Care industry should care two hoots about the analysis of the blends. Whether the commercial applicator can deliver an agronomicly sound program at a PROFIT is all that matters.

If someone is a marder for abuse then hauling 4-1-2 will work but it won't pay the bills very well.

200,000 sq ft per day production:

4-1-2 = 5000 lbs fert in the truck.....YIKES! F-450?
16-4-8 = 1250 lbs of fert........Better own a One Ton truck! F-350 maybe?
24-6-12 = 830 lbs of fert......(17) 50 lb bags isn't unreasonable. F-250 is OK
32-5-10 = 625 lbs of fert or 13 bags.......F-150 or even a fuel sting nipper will work just fine.

garydale
08-27-2008, 09:38 AM
200,000 sq ft per day production:

4-1-2 = 5000 lbs fert in the truck.....YIKES! F-450?
16-4-8 = 1250 lbs of fert........Better own a One Ton truck! F-350 maybe?
24-6-12 = 830 lbs of fert......(17) 50 lb bags isn't unreasonable. F-250 is OK
32-5-10 = 625 lbs of fert or 13 bags.......F-150 or even a fuel sting nipper will work just fine.

Excellent way to make the point Tremor. Labor/ time is always our biggest factor.

IMO we are cropping grass each week and that is what makes the high N nessecary. Trim off 1/3 of the canopy of a tree each week and it would need more N too.

americanlawn
08-27-2008, 04:46 PM
There is a 'natural' lawn service here that applies an "all natural" fert up to 12 pounds per 1000 sq ft. Tech Terra has organic fert that requires only a fraction of that amount, and still incorporates natural organic fert. I talked to a friendly competitor who swears by Tech Terra.

As far as natural fert, how 'bout P & K "inorganic"? I thought they were mined out of Mother Earth? That's about as natural as you get.

Note on winterizer fert..a friend told me last week they are planning to apply only 6/10th of a pound of N to save money until they raise prices for 2009.

bug-guy
08-27-2008, 07:37 PM
i don't understand this high N question. a bag of 24-2-11 covers 12000 ft2, 15-0-15 covers 7500. @ 1 lb per 1000 same amount of N per 1000. homeowners always come in and say 24-2-11 that's too much N, i just show them the 16-0-8 then they are happy.


as i said before i don't believe it matters what the bags states it's how much n per 1000 that dictates high or low.do you want to carry more bags or less(assuming the minor package is the same on each) and as stated here before if i wrote you a program from fla and you were in ohio you'ld flip when looking at it.
when i first started 6 # of n for st aug was acceptable now with BMP and all
we think 4 # but now we mulch cut and we have learned some lessons as we grew.
this forum is dominated by you guys up north and out in the middle (not a bad thing it's just i have to remember what flies up there doesn't here) heck here in fla you can have 3 different programs for north central and south florida.
we have a bigger issue with insects and fungus (i know that will cause an arguement) and a much higher fert need not to mention different variety 's of turf.
then you figure in most lawns have irrigation and is controled by the homeowner, too much than you get them to shorten and then the droughts come. we use send so much lit which we feel none got read.nothing replaces face time hard to do with working or active retiree's.
i know we all have had those issues but here it seems to be amplified here.

the big thing is to have a good agronomic program, use IPM where ever possible and the hardest educate the customer.i think down here we have lost our prospective and have gotten to a spray and pray mentality.

and we have no one to blame but ourselves

jmho

americanlawn
08-28-2008, 09:07 PM
The most important things here: 1) water deeply & infrequently during drought periods, 2) Mow at recommended heights (ISU recommends mowing/trimming at 3 - 3 1/2 inches during summer). Weedeating along the curb at 1/2 inch is a no no, but try to convince homeowners. I applied Tech Terra fert on my front lawn recently, and it's still holding its color.

Bottom line: "Mowing is the key to a nice lawn".