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DA Quality Lawn & YS
01-06-2009, 06:00 PM
Guys

I met with my JDL rep last week. I am planning to offer a 3 or 4 step Fert Program for this coming season (will also integrate weed control but lets keep that out of the conversation for now). For you Upper Midwest guys out there, what do you think of these ferts. All Lesco, all granular program. Exact timing of course depends on weather and soil conditions and temps.

Early May
20-0-6 w/ .10 dimension, 20% PSCU
Early to mid June
24-0-11 straight with 50% PSCU
Late August to Early Sept
24-0-11 straight with 50% PSCU
Late Oct to Early Nov
30-0-10 with 50% PSCU

This is the 4 step. For the 3 step, I would eliminate the June fert app (or, would it be better to eliminate the early Fall app?).

Also, we discussed a 2nd app of Fert with Dimension as the June app. What do you guys think of this? Pricing for me would be pretty dead on with the straight fert app, so I guess why not if better crabgrass control is present?

Finally, this is my biggest question. What about the late fall fert? I have researched and read about differing opinions on a greater conc. of slow release N in the fall. My JDL guy said more slow release in the fall is good. I am not so sure, I have read that if the late fall app is applied late enough in the season, the N goes toward plant food storage and winter 'prep' in which case top growth wouldn't be a factor and contribute toward snow mold. What do you think?


Thanks

rcreech
01-06-2009, 06:32 PM
I am in OH...but very similar to what I do here.

My only rec would be to use 30-0-10 50% atleast on round 3. I run 30-0-10 on rounds 2 and 3. I would definitly recommend going all mineral on the last app as there is no reason to use an SCU that last in the season and it should also save you some $$$$.

Typically products that contain higher amounts of N are cheaper/K and the best part is you don't have to carry and use so much product.

A lot of people get caught up on the N analysis, but I like to look at the higher N products and use less!

Other then that it looks like a very sound program!

americanlawn
01-06-2009, 06:43 PM
We're one zone south, so we "offer" up to five app's. (up to 5 pounds of N per year for high maintenance lawns). Most here (central Iowa) offer up to six app's, and one (large National company) offers seven :confused: app's.

I know several LCO's in the Twin Cities offer five app's......not that this is good, but it brings in more revenue. Something to consider. Then there's fall aeration, grub, & mowing. I like your 4-step program. My 2 cent's worth. :usflag: p.s. How 'bout them HAWKS at the Outback Bowl!!


20-0-6 w/ .10 dimension, 20% PSCU
Early to mid June
24-0-11 straight with 50% PSCU
Late August to Early Sept
24-0-11 straight with 50% PSCU
Late Oct to Early Nov
30-0-10 with 50% PSCU

This is the 4 step. For the 3 step, I would eliminate the June fert app (or, would it be better to eliminate the early Fall app?).

Also, we discussed a 2nd app of Fert with Dimension as the June app. What do you guys think of this? Pricing for me would be pretty dead on with the straight fert app, so I guess why not if better crabgrass control is present?

Finally, this is my biggest question. What about the late fall fert? I have researched and read about differing opinions on a greater conc. of slow release N in the fall. My JDL guy said more slow release in the fall is good. I am not so sure, I have read that if the late fall app is applied late enough in the season, the N goes toward plant food storage and winter 'prep' in which case top growth wouldn't be a factor and contribute toward snow mold. What do you think?


Thanks[/QUOTE]

jkranium
01-06-2009, 06:44 PM
Well the slow release N in the fall is a joke. You want quick release of N not slow. As for the 2 apps of dimension don't do it. It will save you money, plus too much pre-emerge can cause root pruning. There is no way you have enough crabgrass pressure to justify it. Only other thing I would suggest is using 19-0-0 with dimension instead. Should save you some cash and you are getting a fair amount of potash down with the other apps.

robertsturf
01-06-2009, 06:55 PM
Do you guy's have any insect issues? Or disease problems? Those might be possible add-on's in addition to aeration and or overseeding. I agree with the SCU in the last app, a waste of money.

LushGreenLawn
01-06-2009, 08:11 PM
Well the slow release N in the fall is a joke. You want quick release of N not slow. As for the 2 apps of dimension don't do it. It will save you money, plus too much pre-emerge can cause root pruning. There is no way you have enough crabgrass pressure to justify it. Only other thing I would suggest is using 19-0-0 with dimension instead. Should save you some cash and you are getting a fair amount of potash down with the other apps.

How do you know what kind of crabgrass pressure he has in his area?

jkranium
01-06-2009, 09:12 PM
I happen to know several operators in MN (one in Rochester as a matter of fact) and Wisconsin that is how I know the type of crabgrass pressure. Add to that the fact that he is north of me and I don't have that type of pressure even in the lawns with sandy soil. You on the other hand would. I know that because I also owned a fert & squirt in South Jersey and did two apps with .15 dimension and still got some breakthrough.

LawnTamer
01-06-2009, 09:24 PM
No apps till May??? Here, everyone wants to be the first one on the block with a green lawn. If I didn't hit the lawns till May, I would be able to count my clients on my hands, cuz they would have jumped ship and gone elsewhere.

If you are going to apply N in the fall, just do straight 46--, no SCU.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
01-06-2009, 09:33 PM
This really is great input guys, thanks.
Consensus so far is little to no slow release N in the fall. I can handle that.

I outlined a 4 step program BUT I may make the 5th step straight broadleaf control if I go with a 5th step. (Do any of you guys do straight herbicide apps with no fert?). For my area, I am trying to keep the number of rounds down to keep my services not only economical, but prudent for the lawns I will be working on. We are looking at 4 lbs N/yr/1K with my 4 stepper, I have no logical reason to do a 7 app deal just to make cash, I am not into that.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
01-06-2009, 09:41 PM
By the way....thank goodness the Hawkeyes pulled thru for the Big Ten in the Outback...they were the only ones to win!

LawnTamer - I am not sure how I would put down 1st round in mid-April. Sometimes we still have frost in the ground at that time. I thought soil temps need to be right to apply 1st round w/ Dimension? Keep in mind this is MN.

jkranium
01-06-2009, 09:45 PM
Well there are benefits to doing more apps other than just the money. You really want to avoid putting down much N in the spring as this can contribute to disease problems. Also the weed control is much better, obviously. Probably 20% of my customer base takes 4 apps, and do they ever complain about weeds in the summer (especially a wet one). On the other hand, there are very few complaints from full program customers. Also, remember part of what you are selling is your expertise. It is much easier to address problems on the lawn or landscape when you are there more often and can make timely recommendations.

americanlawn
01-06-2009, 10:01 PM
Cool -- seems that just one crabgrass app is all that's needed for lawns north of U.S. Highway 30. Go figure, but this is true. At least in Iowa. I-80 south = a different story, cuz crabgrass pressure is higher south of U.S. 30. Go figure.

FdLLawnMan
01-06-2009, 10:19 PM
I am in Wisconsin and 1 hour South of Green Bay. The only blanket application of crabgrass control I do is for new customers that have not had any services for years. After that I spray the edges with Dimension with few problems. I do not apply any nitrogen until May 15 and it works great for me. For my 5 step customers I might start May 1, and that would be with a very high SCU number, 75% or greater, but absolutely no earlier that May 1. 4 lbs is the most I apply and all that does is cause more clippings. I only apply 3 lbs a year to my lawn and it is fine. I have about 10 lawns that get 2 lbs a year and they are also ok. If you could get away with it I see nothing wrong with weed control only for one round. I did it for years before I had my T3000 ride-on. Straight 46-0-0 in October within two weeks of when the grass stops growing. Remember, 2/3 of your nitrogen should be applied in the fall. You can easily skip the summer fert and just spot spray weeds then with no problem. I assume most, if not all the lawns are not irrigated.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
01-07-2009, 01:03 AM
I am in Wisconsin and 1 hour South of Green Bay. The only blanket application of crabgrass control I do is for new customers that have not had any services for years. After that I spray the edges with Dimension with few problems. I do not apply any nitrogen until May 15 and it works great for me. For my 5 step customers I might start May 1, and that would be with a very high SCU number, 75% or greater, but absolutely no earlier that May 1. 4 lbs is the most I apply and all that does is cause more clippings. I only apply 3 lbs a year to my lawn and it is fine. I have about 10 lawns that get 2 lbs a year and they are also ok. If you could get away with it I see nothing wrong with weed control only for one round. I did it for years before I had my T3000 ride-on. Straight 46-0-0 in October within two weeks of when the grass stops growing. Remember, 2/3 of your nitrogen should be applied in the fall. You can easily skip the summer fert and just spot spray weeds then with no problem. I assume most, if not all the lawns are not irrigated.

You assume correctly that 95% of my lawns are not irrigated. Thanks for the great info.

mngrassguy
01-08-2009, 02:31 AM
Wow, where should I start....

First, I get MANY calls each year from people who have been on "organic" lawn care programs for years and are now inundated with weeds and crabgrass. Low CG pressure around here? I don't think so.

Unless you have the ability to tank spray lawns, you better do 2 apps of pre-emergent. Pre's control other weeds not just CG.

Frost in April? I can remember 4 years in the last 20 we still had frost in the ground after April 15th. I can also remember 4 times in 20 I found dandies before April 15th. If you don't start your apps by then, you will start getting the "where are you? My neighbors lawn has been done already by other co". Don't go there and don't get caught with your pants down, so to speak.

Why would you limit yourself to a certain # of visits? Do what the customer wants/needs. Your 4 visit (not apps) program is a good place to start but you need to variate from there.

Sears got big by selling their good, better, best programs and you should too with 4, 5, 6 visit programs. JMHO

RigglePLC
01-08-2009, 10:38 AM
Good suggestions. I agree with Liontamer. Put down your first crabgrass control when the grass greens up-or when the first dandelion becomes visable. If you have a full customer load you will have to start a few weeks before that to assure you will have every lawn completed. Snow will not hurt crabgrass control--just delay you for a couple of days. Myself I would suggest two weed control aps--early summer and fall. Upscale homes, sod lawns and irrigated lawns will benefit from optional additional aps. If customers or sales prospects are used to receiving 5 or 6 aps, they will expect you, (as a professional) to do the same.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
01-08-2009, 03:14 PM
Ok...I seem to be getting differing opinions on early Spring visits here. mngrassguy says 'get your buns out on the lawns by April 15'. One or two others advise they start work early May (all are in the same relative climate zone as I am). I want to advise that I will NOT have a large amount of business this season - I am just starting out doing apps. I am hopeful for like 10 customers this season, more, great! Therefore, not the need to start quite so early as I can get all my CG apps done in like a day or two.

Can somebody please clarify for me what is a good rule of thumb for when to put down CG apps? I was under the impression that putting down these apps too early was a big no, no.

rcreech
01-08-2009, 03:23 PM
The best way to apply a cg preventor is to look at what you are trying to control....which is crabgrass.

Grabgrass doesn't germinate until the ground temp is about 55 for a few days (which is technically controlled by GDD's or Growing Degree Days).

So technically that is all you have to worry about. You are applying a PREVENTATIVE or PRE EMERGENT product so it has to go on before the seedlings germinate.

Now if you are using Dimension it has both Pre and Post activity so you don't have to worry as much about if the cg has germed.

If you don't have many accounts I would apply as late as possible.

Personally where I live the cg usually germs around April 15 so that is the date we shoot for.

If I had 10 accounts I would start on April 10th...but I have many more then that so I usually start around March 15-20th and try to be done by April 15 or by May 1st worst case. I am using Dimension so the date isn't as critical with its post qualities!

At the end of the day...you just want it on before the cg emerges unless you are using Dimension. Every area can be slightly different and that is controlled by GGD's (Growing Degree Days).

Does this make sense?

Victor
01-08-2009, 05:04 PM
Here's something you should also know. Just because the crabs start popping in your area, that doesn't mean that another frost won't come along and kill them for you. It's not uncommon around here (Columbus) to have the first crabs of the year pop up in April, just to be killed off by late Spring frost events. I can't tell you how many times I've seen this.

FdLLawnMan
01-08-2009, 05:39 PM
Wow, where should I start....

First, I get MANY calls each year from people who have been on "organic" lawn care programs for years and are now inundated with weeds and crabgrass. Low CG pressure around here? I don't think so.

Unless you have the ability to tank spray lawns, you better do 2 apps of pre-emergent. Pre's control other weeds not just CG.

Frost in April? I can remember 4 years in the last 20 we still had frost in the ground after April 15th. I can also remember 4 times in 20 I found dandies before April 15th. If you don't start your apps by then, you will start getting the "where are you? My neighbors lawn has been done already by other co". Don't go there and don't get caught with your pants down, so to speak.

Why would you limit yourself to a certain # of visits? Do what the customer wants/needs. Your 4 visit (not apps) program is a good place to start but you need to variate from there.

Sears got big by selling their good, better, best programs and you should too with 4, 5, 6 visit programs. JMHO

Well, where should I start. If I get someone calling me about the competition starting before me I tell them I am doing what is right for their lawn, not trying to emulate the big guys and do an application when it isn't correct. I am doing exactly what the University recommends, early spring fertilizer is just the wrong thing to do in this climate. It cause's excess growth, increases disease and drought susceptibility.
I read all the time on here about guys getting crabgrass breakthrough even when using a pre-emergent. Out of 200 lawns I currently have about 3 need a blanket application of Dimension. I picked them up last summer after years of neglect. Another 15 to 20 need just the edges next to driveways and sidewalks sprayed with Dimension. I have not applied a pre-emergent to my own lawn, almost two acres of turf, for 10 years and I had one year of a few crabgrass plants that I killed with Drive.
I rarely see dandelions before May 15. If I blanket sprayed the lawn the year before at the correct time in the fall I should have gotten them all. Also, if the fall fertilization was applied in mid to late October why hit the lawn again with nitrogen early in the spring. The lawn should hold its color until May 15 at the minimum.
This is the way I have done things for 5 years now and my lawns look as good as anybodies.
I have 3, 4 and 5 step programs with the vast majority being 4.
With the minimum number of lawns that you have I would put down the pre-emergent around the last week of April at the earliest. I saw one crabgrass plant last year the second week of May last year, none before that.

grassman177
01-08-2009, 09:42 PM
i have to mention i think you have too high N in that program. my opinion and you are farther north by far. we use 15-3-5 in early spring, 21-5-11 plus Fe later spring with slow release, grub control has like 28 % N but i have no control, summer and early fall is 18-24-12 to push roots. sometimes Fe too. late fall is 36-3-7 all mineral and that rounds my course.

allot of guys force the N is my point and you get green as heck grass and way too much top growth and prone to disease and burning up faster the minute summer hits. we have to mow behind our apps , i dont want to cut off 10 inches a week so i do waht i can

mngrassguy
01-08-2009, 11:55 PM
Will you be mowing most of your app accounts DA?

JDUtah
01-09-2009, 12:29 AM
i have to mention i think you have too high N in that program. my opinion and you are farther north by far. we use 15-3-5 in early spring, 21-5-11 plus Fe later spring with slow release, grub control has like 28 % N but i have no control, summer and early fall is 18-24-12 to push roots. sometimes Fe too. late fall is 36-3-7 all mineral and that rounds my course.

allot of guys force the N is my point and you get green as heck grass and way too much top growth and prone to disease and burning up faster the minute summer hits. we have to mow behind our apps , i dont want to cut off 10 inches a week so i do waht i can

??

The original poster uses one less pound N than your program. Assuming you both use the labeled application rate.

??

DA Quality Lawn & YS
01-09-2009, 01:23 AM
Will you be mowing most of your app accounts DA?

Yep the ones I mow will be the ones I start out with. These folks have asked me for the service - they currently have trugreen or similar. I grew tired of seeing all their fert prills all over the sidewalks - I can do better than that.

I didn't think my proposed program used an overabundance of N. Right around 4 lbs I believe for the yr.

JDUtah
01-09-2009, 03:24 AM
I didn't think my proposed program used an overabundance of N. Right around 4 lbs I believe for the yr.

Maybe he thinks a lower number means less N?

MNBOY
01-09-2009, 02:10 PM
MNGRASSGUY is right on. I do two apps of dimension and it works fine for me. I don't have a lot of issues later on with crabgrass. Offer at least 4 and up to 6 apps. I offer a 4 or a 5 step program and tell the customers that the 5 step will provide better weed control. It's worked for me. I also apply (if a dry summer) 10-0-20 for my August application. This greens up the lawns good and doesn't provide much nitrogen during a dry time. You'll find out that you have to change your program around quite a bit due to weather situations. Experiment and research and you will find out what works best for you and the customer.

timturf
01-09-2009, 04:52 PM
Yep the ones I mow will be the ones I start out with. These folks have asked me for the service - they currently have trugreen or similar. I grew tired of seeing all their fert prills all over the sidewalks - I can do better than that.

I didn't think my proposed program used an overabundance of N. Right around 4 lbs I believe for the yr.

Well, my season is much longer, and we have a very stressful summer! Mowing starts April 1, and continues to mid to late Nov, and the cool season turf only receives ~ 2.75 to 3 lbs of nitrogen per season in 4 applications. High quality fert, fortified organic. all material has low salt index, only 4 apps per season How can I get by with so much less, high % slow release, and use fert which is less sustiple (sp) to leaching and volulation (sp)

If it wasn't for weed control, I would only to 3 app!

Note, lawns that are overseeded, get an additional .75 of n, along with p2o5 and k. Watch the high salt index in muraite of potash

Locate in the transition zone

PITA

grassman177
01-09-2009, 08:29 PM
i do have a longer season. i mean he uses a higher percent N per round than i do, per app. we put down everything at 4lbs per 1000 except the later fall winterizing app, that goes dwon at 2-3 lbs depending on the turf.

grassman177
01-09-2009, 08:32 PM
i was trying to get at the rate of N in the summer months, that is all. but then you can put that higher % product down at a lesser rate and be fine!! all in the intended use and control of the applicator. still a good program for up north in a shorter season