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View Full Version : Fertilizer injectors for irrigation systems


rlpsystems
01-24-2009, 04:20 PM
Has anyone had any luck with any of these. I've seen "fertigator" and such products on systems but they never work.

Wet_Boots
01-24-2009, 04:26 PM
Why bother with them?

rlpsystems
01-24-2009, 04:34 PM
Why bother with them?

Good question. Ive had alot of customer ask about them. I have seen the remains of some still connected to the controller. Seemed like a waste but who knows. I didnt know if you all (pronounced yal) had any luck or knew anything about them.

Wet_Boots
01-24-2009, 04:37 PM
I still follow aspects of irrigation I don't actively participate in. FI seems like a potential backflow hassle, as you are definitely 'contaminating' the water in the system.

rlpsystems
01-24-2009, 04:44 PM
Almost 90% of my installs pull water from a lake. So contamination is not an issue for potable water just run off into the lake.

Wet_Boots
01-24-2009, 05:24 PM
Around a lake you don't want to be fertilizing, period, I would think. Nothing kills a lake faster than fertilizer runoff.

Mike Leary
01-24-2009, 05:25 PM
They work and are available as organic; still mandated to use a R.P., though. Only a piker would permit run-off. :hammerhead:

DanaMac
01-24-2009, 05:32 PM
Audit your systems first, and see how uniform they are. You may get areas that then get over fertilized, and some that get under fertilized. And the results could be apparent.

rlpsystems
01-24-2009, 06:27 PM
Audit your systems first, and see how uniform they are. You may get areas that then get over fertilized, and some that get under fertilized. And the results could be apparent.

Thanks Dana. Alot of homeowners want the easiest way to do anything available. Education goes a long way...

DanaMac
01-24-2009, 06:34 PM
Thanks Dana. Alot of homeowners want the easiest way to do anything available. Education goes a long way...

I know, my suggestion is easier said than done.

rlpsystems
01-24-2009, 06:36 PM
I know, my suggestion is easier said than done.

Somebody's gotta say it. The rest is not important.

AI Inc
01-25-2009, 01:30 AM
Ive installed about 10 ez flows. Great concept , but the quality of the produce kinda sucks.
And the fert they sell looks just like miricale grow.
Do a search , this has been discussed here before.

bicmudpuppy
01-25-2009, 02:21 AM
Why bother with them?

Depends on the application. They sent the fertigation unit back right after construction and never installed it here. It was a "cost saving" decision. The majority of the course was built on a sandy arroyo. Being able to spoon feed vs 12 week fert apps would benefit the turf as well as the pocket book. I can get liquid and water soluble injection suitable fert for around $3.50 per pound of actual N. I can buy granular fert in the neighborhood of $2.80 per pound of actual N. Do eight pounds of N per acre for sixty acres and you spent about $3,000 extra for the liquid, BUT it takes almost 40 man hours per app and 80 pounds per acre is a split application, so 80 man hours means over half that cost back. No worries about leaching or uniformity of application (yes, the system DU is a factor, but not near the worry that operator error is for the fert spreader). I've seen quotes that can get that injectable price down to closer to $3.00, if that happens then the injector pump might pay for itself.

NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC
01-25-2009, 02:26 AM
http://www.sprinklerwarehouse.com/EZ001-CX-EZ-Flo-1-5-gallon-Tank-Assembly-p/ez001-cx.htm

http://www.fertigator.com/index.html

Az Gardener
01-25-2009, 02:35 AM
I have used most of the brands that were 1-k or less and most do work. Like anything else they need service from time to time and they need to be refilled on a regular basis. I have never had any problems with strange looking lawns because one area got more than another. People that have never used them always say that.

I found a product years ago that I liked it only comes in a liquid and it is hands down the best I have seen it is a bridge product which is to say it has an organic base with a little synthetic to jump start things.

Fertigators are good the barrels get scored after a year or so and need to be replaced.

Fertile Earth are also good they need a lubricant that they put in their product or the unit will seize up after a short period of time. Even if you are not using any product just the water running through them will cook the gaskets. So you must use their product or use a compatible lubricant with your product.

EZ flows I have heard are better I have not used one in years my product always clogged them up and their customer service was the worst.

Dosatrons and Dosmatics are good both need gasket kits once a year and they like to push more product than I need.

Chemilizers are OK too provided your flow rates don't fluctuate too much. From very high flow to small flows or ;) was it just very low flow rates? I forget it has been years.

LMI pumps with a flow meter to control the pump are very good and probably give the longest trouble free operation if you have power near the backflow.

Fertilizer injectors get a bad name because most are not familiar with them and no one maintains them. Lets face it how often do diaphragms or solenoids go bad? What about pop up nozzles? Injectors are no different, parts go bad and someone needs to replace them, period.

NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC
01-25-2009, 02:42 AM
I found a product years ago that I liked it only comes in a liquid and it is hands down the best I have seen it is a bridge product which is to say it has an organic base with a little synthetic to jump start things.


What liquid product is it you talk about?

greendoctor
01-25-2009, 06:34 AM
Depends on the application. They sent the fertigation unit back right after construction and never installed it here. It was a "cost saving" decision. The majority of the course was built on a sandy arroyo. Being able to spoon feed vs 12 week fert apps would benefit the turf as well as the pocket book. I can get liquid and water soluble injection suitable fert for around $3.50 per pound of actual N. I can buy granular fert in the neighborhood of $2.80 per pound of actual N. Do eight pounds of N per acre for sixty acres and you spent about $3,000 extra for the liquid, BUT it takes almost 40 man hours per app and 80 pounds per acre is a split application, so 80 man hours means over half that cost back. No worries about leaching or uniformity of application (yes, the system DU is a factor, but not near the worry that operator error is for the fert spreader). I've seen quotes that can get that injectable price down to closer to $3.00, if that happens then the injector pump might pay for itself.

Unscientifically and just from my observation from using nothing but liquid fertilizers on turf and ornamentals for over 10 years, 1 lb of N applied as a spoon feed liquid gives a much greater response than 1 lb applied as granules. In other words, to get a 1 lb N response, less than 1lb N needs to be applied. I theorize that is because the turf utilizes a far higher percentage of fertilizer when it is applied as a liquid. Throwing down a high rate of granules does not guarantee an efficient response.

Az Gardener
01-25-2009, 11:12 AM
What liquid product is it you talk about?

here is the link http://www.biofeed.us/products.shtml

The real advantage to injectors is building good soil that will absorb the water better and prevent runoff. Make complete use of the fertilizer that is applied. Many times nutrients are present in the soil but the plant can't take them up because of soil PH or an imbalance of micro nutrients. So if you are just shooting out some liquid nitrogen I think you are missing the boat with injectors.

NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC
01-25-2009, 11:50 AM
here is the link http://www.biofeed.us/products.shtml

The real advantage to injectors is building good soil that will absorb the water better and prevent runoff. Make complete use of the fertilizer that is applied. Many times nutrients are present in the soil but the plant can't take them up because of soil PH or an imbalance of micro nutrients. So if you are just shooting out some liquid nitrogen I think you are missing the boat with injectors.

I looked over the website, what particular product do you recommend?

Waterit
01-25-2009, 12:24 PM
Many times nutrients are present in the soil but the plant can't take them up because of soil PH or an imbalance of micro nutrients. So if you are just shooting out some liquid nitrogen I think you are missing the boat with injectors.

Soil pH is critical. If pH is off, all the N in the world won't do much good- ask any turf expert.

Kiril
01-25-2009, 10:19 PM
IMO, fertigation for landscapes is a waste of money and absolutely not necessary.

Compost does a soil good!

Mike Leary
01-25-2009, 10:29 PM
Compost does a soil good!

Wish I had a nickel........

Kiril
01-25-2009, 10:37 PM
Wish I had a nickel........

......... and a bottle

bicmudpuppy
01-25-2009, 11:35 PM
IMO, fertigation for landscapes is a waste of money and absolutely not necessary.

Compost does a soil good!

I would agree that fertigation for LANDSCAPING would be over kill and not economical for the results. Fertigation for TURF is another matter. ROI is the question. Can you get back the cost of the equipment and product vs other products and application methods.

And, to answer another point, it isn't just about N. Everything from wetting agents and microbes, to micro nutrients and sugars can be added as needed. Yes, I said sugars. Molasses is the most common. Molasses promotes microbial growth and activity. The research isn't there to prove how MUCH benefit is actually happening, but the evidence points to drastic reductions in fertility requirements on turf. The idea is that the sugars boost the bacillus colonies to a point that they increase the available nutrients without having to fertilize.

DanaMac
01-25-2009, 11:37 PM
I would agree that fertigation for LANDSCAPING would be over kill and not economical for the results. Fertigation for TURF is another matter. ROI is the question. Can you get back the cost of the equipment and product vs other products and application methods.

And, to answer another point, it isn't just about N. Everything from wetting agents and microbes, to micro nutrients and sugars can be added as needed. Yes, I said sugars. Molasses is the most common. Molasses promotes microbial growth and activity. The research isn't there to prove how MUCH benefit is actually happening, but the evidence points to drastic reductions in fertility requirements on turf. The idea is that the sugars boost the bacillus colonies to a point that they increase the available nutrients without having to fertilize.

Dang biologist. Or chemist. Mister smarty pants.

bicmudpuppy
01-26-2009, 12:04 AM
Dang biologist. Or chemist. Mister smarty pants.

HORTICULTURALIST? maybe??? AGRONOMIST? possibly?

Waiting for spring. I have a source for dense bacillus colonies in liquid that I can introduce into my irrigation pond. Natural, organic bacillus that should make a difference. It will remain to be seen. I'm still hoping that I can justify an injector pump with the non-existent budget.

Kiril
01-26-2009, 01:16 AM
Molasses promotes microbial growth and activity. The research isn't there to prove how MUCH benefit is actually happening, but the evidence points to drastic reductions in fertility requirements on turf.

Ain't gonna do you a lick of good if you have no food for the microbes.

Compost does a soil good!

bicmudpuppy
01-26-2009, 02:30 AM
Ain't gonna do you a lick of good if you have no food for the microbes.

Compost does a soil good!

And just what flavor of microbe stimulant on ESTABLISHED turf is the troll advocating? The molasses is a proven food for soil bacillus. Active Humates can be used as well. Cost is a factor. The molasses sold for livestock feed is cheap and very effective. I am seriously thinking about a rate of 3 gallons per acre in the spring with the spray rig if I can't get an injection pump. I want to hear more about the potential pros and cons of the methanol that gets added to promote the fluidity of agricultural grade molasses.

Kiril
01-26-2009, 02:53 AM
And just what flavor of microbe stimulant on ESTABLISHED turf is the troll advocating? The molasses is a proven food for soil bacillus. Active Humates can be used as well. Cost is a factor. The molasses sold for livestock feed is cheap and very effective. I am seriously thinking about a rate of 3 gallons per acre in the spring with the spray rig if I can't get an injection pump. I want to hear more about the potential pros and cons of the methanol that gets added to promote the fluidity of agricultural grade molasses.

This discussion belongs in the organic forum Bic ... if you can stomach it. :rolleyes:

Other than that, how much "food" do you seriously think you are applying at that rate?

I use molasses as a temporary stimulant for microbial based nutrient cycling, and only if necessary. In any event it still requires SOM to make it a worthwhile venture. What exactly are you looking to gain from this?

bicmudpuppy
01-26-2009, 09:01 AM
This discussion belongs in the organic forum Bic ... if you can stomach it. :rolleyes:

Other than that, how much "food" do you seriously think you are applying at that rate?

I use molasses as a temporary stimulant for microbial based nutrient cycling, and only if necessary. In any event it still requires SOM to make it a worthwhile venture. What exactly are you looking to gain from this?
IF I could inject, the hope would be to increase the overall organic chemistry. Organic activity will reduce PH along with some other benefits. I have a "bug" guy from the oil industry who has offered all the "bugs in a jug" I want at the novel price of free to me :) I haven't ever been a "bugs in a jug" advocate. The results have always seemed temporary from any thing I have seen UNLESS other factors are improved. The research I have seen seems to prove that improving those other factors would have had the same results only slower. In the artificial micro environment I maintain, sometimes that increased speed is a marketable commodity. The guys who have used molasses programs all claim major reductions in thatch with increased OM within the profile. Another good reason for artificially introducing and stimulating bacillus is the detrimental PH and salt levels in my irrigation and subsequently my soil profile. I had some really good results from some basic organic ferts this year. Emphasis was on L-Amino's and Humates.

And I will apologize to those who don't do the organic thing. I realize the organic forum is probably the "right" place, but other than a couple of other sites for Golf Superintendents, I don't go anywhere but right here at home.

Kiril
01-26-2009, 10:40 AM
The guys who have used molasses programs all claim major reductions in thatch with increased OM within the profile.

Ayyy, yes, with turf grasses that tend to generate thatch this is a benefit. Your bugs in a jug and compost will do the same.

Another good reason for artificially introducing and stimulating bacillus is the detrimental PH and salt levels in my irrigation and subsequently my soil profile. I had some really good results from some basic organic ferts this year. Emphasis was on L-Amino's and Humates.

Compost & compost tea. Are you familiar with the Presidio Golf Course?

And I will apologize to those who don't do the organic thing. I realize the organic forum is probably the "right" place, but other than a couple of other sites for Golf Superintendents, I don't go anywhere but right here at home.

I'll post a cross link if necessary. :)

bicmudpuppy
01-26-2009, 04:54 PM
Yes I am familiar with the Presidio. My understanding of the "bugs in a jug" is that without food, the bacillus are VERY temporary, and with food and time, the bacillus would cultivate naturally. I might make a trip over to the organic forum, but I keep up with what amounts to two forums on the National Assoc. site, the Moose River site (these guys) for Superintendents, and here. I don't have the time to keep up with those, let alone stick my nose in another forum. The guys who hang around the political and off topic stuff have my respect for being able to put that much TIME into this media.

Kiril
01-27-2009, 12:23 AM
Yes I am familiar with the Presidio.

Then you should read this.

http://www.presidio.gov/NR/rdonlyres/4E22E42D-F215-4648-80E9-191526FA4323/0/CompostTurfTrial.pdf%20

and take note.

http://www.jgpress.com/archives/_free/001130.html

My understanding of the "bugs in a jug" is that without food, the bacillus are VERY temporary, and with food and time, the bacillus would cultivate naturally.

If you are really interested in the bugs in a jug instead of brewing your own, then you should talk to ICT Bill (sponser). They have products that might fit your needs. It is my understanding they put the bugs to "sleep" before bottling. However in all honesty, your best results will probably come from a combined composts and on-site brewed compost tea program. This will also probably end up being your cheapest route as well.

bicmudpuppy
01-27-2009, 12:51 AM
If you are really interested in the bugs in a jug instead of brewing your own, then you should talk to ICT Bill (sponser). They have products that might fit your needs. It is my understanding they put the bugs to "sleep" before bottling. However in all honesty, your best results will probably come from a combined composts and on-site brewed compost tea program. This will also probably end up being your cheapest route as well.

I would consider brewing, BUT I have an annual pass holder who makes it his business to brew bugs for reclamation of oil well sites. He has offered me all the bugs I want for the perfect price. The hope is it will make a noticeable difference and I will promote it to other courses in the area and provide him an area of expansion. With a local supplier like that, even if I was paying for them, the convenience of NOT smelling the brewery is a major plus. Get him to fill a tote every couple of weeks and keep a lid on it! I guess I need to venture over to the organic forum. Compost "tea" sounds interesting. I am assuming (ignorantly) that compost tea is going to resemble the humate and l-amino's I have been buying in 5 gallon cases?

Kiril
01-27-2009, 01:03 AM
I would consider brewing, BUT I have an annual pass holder who makes it his business to brew bugs for reclamation of oil well sites. He has offered me all the bugs I want for the perfect price.

Hopefully that price is free since the two objectives may not be compatible.

I guess I need to venture over to the organic forum. Compost "tea" sounds interesting.

You should ... there are quite a few people there that really know their chit when it comes to CT and compost, it would be well worth your time if you are seriously thinking of an organic or bridge program.

I am assuming (ignorantly) that compost tea is going to resemble the humate and l-amino's I have been buying in 5 gallon cases?

No. The main thing you are doing with CT is either multiplication or extraction of the beneficial microbes from a high quality compost, worm castings, humus, etc.... The types of ingredients you use will be dictated by what you are looking to use the CT for and what you can put your hands on for a reasonable price.

Personally, I believe you can skip the CT in the right circumstances and just use compost. However there are advantages to using a combined compost/CT program, especially when you are talking high performance turf.