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grass4gas
11-20-2009, 08:34 PM
After December 7th here in Delaware. I understand runoff issues and so forth, but come on, the ground here does not freeze until some time in January, but surprizingly it thaws overnite on February 14th, and the major LCO's are out applying. Go figure.:confused:

How about the rest of you who live in states that have freezing temps...do you have regulations on this issue as well?

Jack

grassman177
11-21-2009, 12:46 AM
not yet and better not get wind of it here, i try not to go that long anyways , i am done after todays work with all round 6, thanks to the weather. it rained and snowed many days in a row and shut us down so it prolonged the work getting done. sound familiar huh!

grass4gas
11-21-2009, 07:36 AM
This started last year for our state, and it caught alot of us by surprise...you know how politics work. This past February 15th, it looked like everyone was out doing round 1. I don't start until March 1 and I usually finish up by Christmas.

What I did this year is get all my N/P requirements down on my early fall service...(I used to do a 75/25 split between the two)... and then apply some micros and potassium on my last round.

The other thing this law forced me to do is get my ornamental shrub ferts done early as well. I would usually do these on windy days or days when there was a chance of rain...not now.

I don't disaprove of the law, I just think the dates are a little out of wack.

Jack

AL Inc
11-21-2009, 08:20 AM
Could be worse, no N apps between 11/1 and 4/1 here. We had to do all of our final ferts last month, and doing pell. lime in the next few weeks as clean-ups are finished.

grass4gas
11-21-2009, 06:32 PM
Could be worse, no N apps between 11/1 and 4/1 here. We had to do all of our final ferts last month, and doing pell. lime in the next few weeks as clean-ups are finished.

Yea, I fiqure the farther north you go the more this might be an issue. Is this for the whole state, or just the Norfolk and Sussex counties?

Anyone in the New England states have to deal with this?

Jack

DUSTYCEDAR
11-21-2009, 06:57 PM
HUMMM they never think it through all the way just do what we say
rain has been a big pain this season

mdlwn1
11-21-2009, 07:02 PM
I have to say..yeah it may hurt some of the better guys, but it stops the yoyo's (which we all know is MOST of the industry) from doing too much harm. Wait till they figure out that 30% or more of that fert runs off or vloitizes even during the season....then what?

turf hokie
11-21-2009, 08:54 PM
Yea, I fiqure the farther north you go the more this might be an issue. Is this for the whole state, or just the Norfolk and Sussex counties?

Anyone in the New England states have to deal with this?

Jack

We just got a P ban except for soil test showing deficiency or new seeding. No fert at all from 12-1 to 4-1. Beginning 1-1-2011. What is next is what concerns me.

JWTurfguy
11-22-2009, 09:24 PM
No lawn fertilization between 12/1 and 4/1 here in Westchester County, NY, effective this year. Also, a P ban similar to the one Turf Hokie mentioned (we're in neighboring counties). Originally, they were pushing for 11/1 to 4/1 like in L.I. but the green industry managed to pull off a small victory, pushing it up to 12/1. Strangely enough, the P ban includes organic sources of P such as biosolids (for now anyways), so with the stroke of a pen, when the P ban goes into effect in the summer of 2011, the lower-grade sludge organics will be in trouble unless they can somehow find a way to pull phosphorus out of poop.

The fine for violating the new fert application window is only 50 dollars (first offense, multiple offenses are no more than $150), so my guess is that most LCOs are going to just go about their normal business and ignore the law just like they ignore pesticide licensing, blower regulations, etc.

FdLLawnMan
11-23-2009, 01:09 AM
I have to say..yeah it may hurt some of the better guys, but it stops the yoyo's (which we all know is MOST of the industry) from doing too much harm. Wait till they figure out that 30% or more of that fert runs off or vloitizes even during the season....then what?

Where do you get that info from. All the studies I have seen when using a 50% slow release fert that nearly all of it is used and virtually none leaves the area from which it was applied.

greendoctor
11-23-2009, 01:30 AM
Exactly. The anti-lawn types should think hard about what they are asking for. Thick, healthy turf is highly absorbent of many environmental contaminants, preventing their movement out of the turf area. I do not understand the rationale behind a P ban on lawns. P is an element that is usually bound to soil very tightly. The only way to get P into waterways is if soil erodes. How can soil erode? When politically correct fertilizer regulations cause turf to thin out.

How am I part of the solution? I soil test before putting an area on my program. Yes I apply liquids, however the rates are fractional, usually containing less N than what is applied in a standard granular round. I do not apply more than what the grass can take up in 7 days. I think the rate of N uptake was something like 1/10 lb of N per day. I also hold all applications if heavy rains are forecast within a week of the application. Related to that, I insist that irrigation systems are timed and operated in such a way that minimal runoff occurs from the lawn and landscaped area. There are no fertilizer restrictions in Hawaii yet. But I do not want a party with an anti lawn agenda making the rules.

philk17088
11-23-2009, 04:31 PM
In NY how much fert gets done anyway from 12/1 to 4/1?

In central PA I'm lucky to get anything going before April 1 between frozen soil, lawns with a winters worth of crap on them, etc.
I don't like the idea of a state dictating fert times but at least the closed window makes some sense.
Does this apply to ag applications too?.

JWTurfguy
11-23-2009, 06:30 PM
In Westchester County, the law only applies to lawns, so ag, trees, gardens, etc are exempt.

As far as how much fert goes down between 12/1 and 4/1, ideally the answer is NONE.
Unfortunately, though, with all the deciduous trees dropping leaves from the second half of October through November, getting through an entire round of late-fall fertilization after finishing cleanups can be tricky (assuming an early snow storm doesn't completely wipe out the entire plan). Considering that the ground usually isn't frozen by 12/1, we would have preferred a wider window of application, or at least verbage saying that it is illegal to apply fert to FROZEN soil, without specifying calendar dates. We're counting our blessings though, when we remember that we still got a better deal than our friends in LI who have to deal with an 11/1 cutoff date.

I'm all for protecting the environment, but it would have been nice if these restrictions could have at least waited until the economy shaped up a little. Being in Wall Steet's backyard, Westchester took a huge hit with the recession and this won't help.

Smallaxe
11-23-2009, 11:00 PM
In Westchester County, the law only applies to lawns, so ag, trees, gardens, etc are exempt.

As far as how much fert goes down between 12/1 and 4/1, ideally the answer is NONE.
Unfortunately, though, with all the deciduous trees dropping leaves from the second half of October through November, getting through an entire round of late-fall fertilization after finishing cleanups can be tricky (assuming an early snow storm doesn't completely wipe out the entire plan). Considering that the ground usually isn't frozen by 12/1, we would have preferred a wider window of application, or at least verbage saying that it is illegal to apply fert to FROZEN soil, without specifying calendar dates. We're counting our blessings though, when we remember that we still got a better deal than our friends in LI who have to deal with an 11/1 cutoff date.

I'm all for protecting the environment, but it would have been nice if these restrictions could have at least waited until the economy shaped up a little. Being in Wall Steet's backyard, Westchester took a huge hit with the recession and this won't help.

I'm in the Midwest - you're in the NorthEast... From everything I've read, there is no reason for Fertilizer to be applied from Nov. 1 to Apr. 15 at least.

All my research says... October 10 to May 4 [in the shade] ... as a rule of thumb, here in Wisco. ... Earlier,,, if there is a wet and warm spring... :)

JWTurfguy
11-24-2009, 12:55 AM
Smallaxe, I understand where you're coming from on this one, but LCO's in NY run into some problems that may or may not be issues where you are (I'm not trying to talk down to you at all, I'm just not that familiar with your weather patters in WI).

First of all, if they're servicing a large number of accounts, most of which usually want fertilizer and CG control in April, trying to do all of them after 4/15 might not be practical, even though it may make more sense horticulturally. It would be nice if guys could push that application up a little bit, if for no other reason than to get better CG control, but if they don't green that turf up before the neighbor's lawn greens up, they're in trouble with the customer. People love KBG for many reasons, but it won't usually green up quickly in April without help. That being said, the vast majority of guys I know don't apply fert before April 1 (if for no other reason than the fact that they're too busy doing cleanups, or possibly even waiting for snow to melt).

As far as the November comment goes...again, the leaves tend to control the application window more than anything else. You can preach the gospel of nitrogen leaching, etc, all you want, but the bottom line, unfortunately, is that most guys around here won't apply fert until their cleanups are done, and that usually works out to being close to Thanksgiving. Again, if they have a large number of accounts to service, it might be tough to get it all done by 12/1. So it's not that we WANT to fertilize in December, or that we necessarily even plan it that way; it's more a matter of wanting to get the winterizer round down as quickly as possible without having to worry about County fines.

Horticulturally, your points are valid. Unfortunately, Agronomically (involving not only the science but also the economics of crop production) things don't always work out the way we'd like to in a perfect world---but we try.

mdlwn1
11-24-2009, 09:14 AM
Smallaxe, I understand where you're coming from on this one, but LCO's in NY run into some problems that may or may not be issues where you are (I'm not trying to talk down to you at all, I'm just not that familiar with your weather patters in WI).

First of all, if they're servicing a large number of accounts, most of which usually want fertilizer and CG control in April, trying to do all of them after 4/15 might not be practical, even though it may make more sense horticulturally. It would be nice if guys could push that application up a little bit, if for no other reason than to get better CG control, but if they don't green that turf up before the neighbor's lawn greens up, they're in trouble with the customer. People love KBG for many reasons, but it won't usually green up quickly in April without help. That being said, the vast majority of guys I know don't apply fert before April 1 (if for no other reason than the fact that they're too busy doing cleanups, or possibly even waiting for snow to melt).

As far as the November comment goes...again, the leaves tend to control the application window more than anything else. You can preach the gospel of nitrogen leaching, etc, all you want, but the bottom line, unfortunately, is that most guys around here won't apply fert until their cleanups are done, and that usually works out to being close to Thanksgiving. Again, if they have a large number of accounts to service, it might be tough to get it all done by 12/1. So it's not that we WANT to fertilize in December, or that we necessarily even plan it that way; it's more a matter of wanting to get the winterizer round down as quickly as possible without having to worry about County fines.

Horticulturally, your points are valid. Unfortunately, Agronomically (involving not only the science but also the economics of crop production) things don't always work out the way we'd like to in a perfect world---but we try.

If an LCO cant put fert down untill their cleanups are all done...they are doing something wrong. Maybe too much of one type of work or another. This law is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. Some seasons you can morally do it late..others you cannot. Guys need to realize that if they are in the fert business, they need to more flexible. Hopefully instead of complaining, LCO's will realize this and structure their business to accomodate the turf and understand WHY the laws were put in place.

Smallaxe
11-24-2009, 09:46 AM
TGCL has no problem broadcasting granules onto frozen ground that is steeply sloped to the lake.
The real question is whether the winterizer is even going to be used. Once the fertilizer is spread, and gets washed into the soil, and becomes available to the plant, -- Is the plant going to use it? or is the plant already sleeping?

I still can't imagine that the turf is growing bigger and better roots with the N applied after Halloween. The Extension office of WI says apply right up to Thanksgiving, but fertilizer companies have supplied scientific information to the Universities for years.

Kiril
11-24-2009, 09:54 AM
Unfortunately, Agronomically (involving not only the science but also the economics of crop production) things don't always work out the way we'd like to in a perfect world---but we try.

Too bad landscapes are not equal to crops or you might actually have a point. While landscape management can be likened to Ag in some respects, in many respects it cannot.

The way I see it, you either do it right or don't do it at all. Not having enough time, or it is inconvenient to do it at the proper time is NO EXCUSE! If people actually did appropriate applications (amounts and time) then there wouldn't be a need for the stoopid laws to begin with.

Well, actually if people planted regionally appropriate landscapes and managed their soils instead of their plants, there would be little or no need for NPK to begin with.

turf hokie
11-24-2009, 10:56 AM
I think I stated before, this law does not affect my business in that we are usually done with the ferts by Halloween with a few stragglers the first week of November,

The P ban was something we put in place ourselves 3 years ago. We soil test most lawns that are not responding anyway. We are now including a yearly soil test as part of our services beginning this spring.

I just dont like the basis for the P ban, we were told by the "experts" locally that their science was based on "visual observations of algae blooms in the summer and attribute them to P in fertilizer" this is crap and we all know it, they had no benchmarks for comparison, or any studies or real data to show ANYTHING either way.

I will state it again, my fear is WHAT IS NEXT?

I enjoy what I do, feel I am a steward of the environment and becoming a better one as I learn more about organics, soils etc

However, I cant feed and house my family on the mere fact that I enjoy what I do.

My county passed a law that bans ALL products unless we can prove they are "SAFE" on any county owned property. Can anybody deem ANY product "safe"? whether it be organic or not. Heck water will kill you if not used properly.

So again what is next? Will there be a day in the near future where I am legislated out of business entirely? I am adapting but if there are laws passed that ban all products unless deemed "safe" I am up the crick without a paddle

Smallaxe
11-25-2009, 07:23 AM
I enjoy what I do too. P bans are nothing more than control of everything you do. They wanted N out of the lawns by the lakes and streams years ago, but no one would pay the high taxes if they couldn't have a nice lawn, down by the water.
P is a more politically expedient 1st step.

Clean the debris, of sticks and leaves, out of the lakes annually -end of problem. They need a problem that only gov't can fix, just like global warming. Global Warming means global tax and control over everyone on the planet.
Even after the University hacking, that showed it was such a hoax and fraud, people will still believe it and the agenda will go forward. We're idiots that can't think for ourselves. That is why those charts only showed sunlight reflecting in one direction.
Imagine getting a "good education", in manufactured fairytales. Just like the "millions of years", lie.

Ric
11-25-2009, 02:02 PM
Exactly. The anti-lawn types should think hard about what they are asking for. Thick, healthy turf is highly absorbent of many environmental contaminants, preventing their movement out of the turf area. I do not understand the rationale behind a P ban on lawns. P is an element that is usually bound to soil very tightly. The only way to get P into waterways is if soil erodes. How can soil erode? When politically correct fertilizer regulations cause turf to thin out.

How am I part of the solution? I soil test before putting an area on my program. Yes I apply liquids, however the rates are fractional, usually containing less N than what is applied in a standard granular round. I do not apply more than what the grass can take up in 7 days. I think the rate of N uptake was something like 1/10 lb of N per day. I also hold all applications if heavy rains are forecast within a week of the application. Related to that, I insist that irrigation systems are timed and operated in such a way that minimal runoff occurs from the lawn and landscaped area. There are no fertilizer restrictions in Hawaii yet. But I do not want a party with an anti lawn agenda making the rules.

GreenDoctor

I am not sure if you Received the E mail from Turf Magazine about U of F and some Florida Counties Banning Nitrogen from June 1st to Sept 31st. But the bottom line is U of F Scientist are saying Fertilizer Bans are more harmful to the environment than Fertilizer for the same reasons you listed.

There is a new state wide Law proposed in Florida that limits Fertilizer application to 50% slow release etc etc. It is also proposed to over ride any local laws. It has not passed the state legislation as yet. While it will effect my program a little, I have no problems with it from a horticulture point.

I think we see the same extreme BS here on Lawnsite with the Tree Huggers and the inability to compromise with Bridge products. Both have value and together is the best we can provide.

greendoctor
11-25-2009, 02:24 PM
GreenDoctor

I am not sure if you Received the E mail from Turf Magazine about U of F and some Florida Counties Banning Nitrogen from June 1st to Sept 31st. But the bottom line is U of F Scientist are saying Fertilizer Bans are more harmful to the environment than Fertilizer for the same reasons you listed.

There is a new state wide Law proposed in Florida that limits Fertilizer application to 50% slow release etc etc. It is also proposed to over ride any local laws. It has not passed the state legislation as yet. While it will effect my program a little, I have no problems with it from a horticulture point.

I think we see the same extreme BS here on Lawnsite with the Tree Huggers and the inability to compromise with Bridge products. Both have value and together is the best we can provide.

I would have big problems with limits on what type of fertilizer can be used. I use lots of 100% water soluble, however it is in a way that minimizes loss and movement off site. Lets just say that I am not the one spraying 1 lb of N from urea right before heavy rains are forecast. In my area, some years it is dry all year long. In the years that it rains regularly from December to March, I cut N rates to 1/4 lb and maintain until the weather turns hot and dry again. An arbitrary restriction does not take this into account. BTW, not fertilizing a lawn when the grass is under stress from the heat will thin it out and kill it.

Ric
11-25-2009, 03:25 PM
Greendoctor

I use 100% soluble fertilizer also, But not at a pound per thousand either. We get 55 inches of rain average per year. But that rain comes from 2nd week of June to the 3rd Week of Sept. We also have very sandy soil that will leach quickly into the water table. Somewhere there has to be a compromise between the environment and happy homeowners. IMHO Frequent Boom and Bust Fertilizer application is great for establishing a good turf from a bad one. But once a healthy turf has been established Slow release is a better way to go. Everyone must justify their program with the Climate they work in.

greendoctor
11-25-2009, 03:42 PM
I do not have sandy soil. My issue is clay soils that resist penetration of anything applied to it. The politically correct way to deal with this is to rip everything out and establish the lawn on compost, sand and aggregate. I will recommend that if I am there prior to a new landscape being installed. But in most cases, I am dealing with lawns that the owner has no intention of ripping out. There are many times that I maintain a landscape on foliar applications. Putting slow release granules on such soils is risky because I cannot account for when the nutrients release or where they go when they do. Low rates of soluble fertilizers offer me much more control and precision. The results also speak for themselves. On average, rainfall here is less than 20 inches per year with a 365 day growing season.

Ric
11-25-2009, 04:22 PM
I do not have sandy soil. My issue is clay soils that resist penetration of anything applied to it. The politically correct way to deal with this is to rip everything out and establish the lawn on compost, sand and aggregate. I will recommend that if I am there prior to a new landscape being installed. But in most cases, I am dealing with lawns that the owner has no intention of ripping out. There are many times that I maintain a landscape on foliar applications. Putting slow release granules on such soils is risky because I cannot account for when the nutrients release or where they go when they do. Low rates of soluble fertilizers offer me much more control and precision. The results also speak for themselves. On average, rainfall here is less than 20 inches per year with a 365 day growing season.

Good Doctor

Yes I like to recommend a perfect world also, But it is not always Economically feasible to do so. But My last statement was ""Everyone must justify their program with the Climate they work in."" I should have said Climate and Soil. Your Climate is 1/3 of the way around the world from me. What work for me might not work for you and vice a verse. But below is a link to the Recommendations by the Florida Fertilizer Task force. While not everyone will like it, It sure beats what Al Gore and Rachel Carson Fans might come up with. I personally find this recommendation to be fair to all parties and very workable. Passing a law that no one will obey is like Prohibition. Counties that have passed No Nitrogen Laws are now under attack and have no one or very few complying to those laws. The Fact that Tree Hugger jumped the gun with these ridiculous laws might help to bring about reasonable ones.

http://consensus.fsu.edu/Fertilizer-Task-Force/index.html


PS Our fight in Florida with a Fertilizer Ban is important to the whole Green Industry as is the Fertilizer Ban of the thread starter. I did not mean to side track or steal this thread because it is an important one to every LS member's well being as a Green Industry worker whether they are professionals or just Yard Boys.

mdlwn1
11-25-2009, 06:03 PM
I do not have sandy soil. My issue is clay soils that resist penetration of anything applied to it. The politically correct way to deal with this is to rip everything out and establish the lawn on compost, sand and aggregate. I will recommend that if I am there prior to a new landscape being installed. But in most cases, I am dealing with lawns that the owner has no intention of ripping out. There are many times that I maintain a landscape on foliar applications. Putting slow release granules on such soils is risky because I cannot account for when the nutrients release or where they go when they do. Low rates of soluble fertilizers offer me much more control and precision. The results also speak for themselves. On average, rainfall here is less than 20 inches per year with a 365 day growing season.

Nice to hear this. I am treating a clay property for the first time in my career. (heavy dense clay on a slope) It didnt take long to realize that small frequent (1/4 lb) max applications were the way to go. The 50% slow was too much of a roll of the dice if there was a lot of rain. Our property was designed with 2 fish ponds as the drainage basins for 30 acres (lol...I know). You can see the immediate affects in them if you so much as apply 1/8lb too much or within 10-14 days of rain.

greendoctor
11-26-2009, 01:30 AM
The other thing about my location is that there is very little flat ground here. It is not Florida flat or Midwest flat. Guess where the land slopes towards, the Pacific Ocean. That is why I spray all of my fertilizers with flat fan nozzles on a wand or a boom. It makes fertilizing a lawn in tight areas a simple, yet precise task, and not a Survivor stunt. I once tried fertilizing with granules. I hated it. The other thing that granules will do if you are trying to apply less than 1 lb N is what I call the green Dalmatian effect. There will be lighter and darker patches of grass depending on where the granules fell. Of course, this depends on the SGN of the fertilizer. Last time I checked, greens grade granules were over $40 for a bag that covers about 10,000 sq ft. I apply a liquid where 50% of the N is urea-triazone for the same price or less.

greendoctor
11-26-2009, 01:36 AM
Greendoctor

I use 100% soluble fertilizer also, But not at a pound per thousand either. We get 55 inches of rain average per year. But that rain comes from 2nd week of June to the 3rd Week of Sept. We also have very sandy soil that will leach quickly into the water table. Somewhere there has to be a compromise between the environment and happy homeowners. IMHO Frequent Boom and Bust Fertilizer application is great for establishing a good turf from a bad one. But once a healthy turf has been established Slow release is a better way to go. Everyone must justify their program with the Climate they work in.

You did catch where I mentioned spoon feeding turf less than 1/2 lb of N. I do not think that is a temporary practice. My whole program is based on monitoring the site from end to end every month. A good excuse for me to walk around and look is when I have the hand held boom covering every inch of the lawn. In the rare lawn that is sandy soil, I cut the N to 1/4 lb N and that is applied as urea triazone foliar. This is not a boom and bust application either. Grass stays green on this for up to 60 days and that is not a soil application either.

Ric
11-26-2009, 12:18 PM
You did catch where I mentioned spoon feeding turf less than 1/2 lb of N. I do not think that is a temporary practice. My whole program is based on monitoring the site from end to end every month. A good excuse for me to walk around and look is when I have the hand held boom covering every inch of the lawn. In the rare lawn that is sandy soil, I cut the N to 1/4 lb N and that is applied as urea triazone foliar. This is not a boom and bust application either. Grass stays green on this for up to 60 days and that is not a soil application either.

Good Doctor

I didn't miss SPOON FEEDING, You missed """"Everyone must justify their program with the Climate they work in.""""

The fact is Foliar Fert is easier to apply but must be done more often. Slow Release also spoon feeds. It requires more labor but doesn't have to be done as often. The question now is how do you charge for it compared to Foliar feeding. I charge the same because my customers are paying for results, not applications.

quiet
11-26-2009, 12:57 PM
Great thread. Great discusssion. Very serious issue.

My blood pressure got raised yesterday while I was next door, and I posted an intemperate comment. So glad to see a thoughtful thread on a very serious issue. Ric has pointed out how seriously we as an industry need to consider these bans from both sides of the fence. And the exchange between Ric and greendoctor so quickly focuses the differences on how we as professionals need to address our business practices to responsibly practice our profession by being stewards, rather than just applicators.

"Everyone must justify their program with the Climate they work in."

Ric - I don't think you could have encapsulized this any better. It is the heart and essence of the level we all need to have as a standard for our industry. How we balance our practices on a tiny micro scale level (someone's lawn) to the needs of a neighborhood>community>region>watershed>river>lake>ocean is the heart of being a professional in our industry.

As we continue to ask our fellow professionals to meet this challenge, we then enhance our environment, and avoid the knee jerk reactions of local bans. Bans that we see can also have unintended consequences.

By raising our levels of knowledge of our little microcosm and using thoughtful skilled practices, we now go from being the source of a regional problem, to becoming the solution.

That, my friends, is the mark of true professionalism in any industry.