PDA

View Full Version : Liquid Fertilizers


Ohio ProTurf
12-11-2004, 07:20 PM
Wondering if anybody uses liquid fertilizers with one or more of their rounds. I have been using a granular only program for fertilizers, but have been playing with the idea of using a liquid fert(.25#N per M) /iron/herbicide combo for my second round next season.
I really like the flexibility of using granular products (being able to adjust the rate from lawn to lawn if I need to), but being able to make one pass over the lawn for round 2 would definitely be a time saver when things are really busy Mid-Spring.
My main concern is maintaining a quality program from a fertility standpoint. I don't want to jeopardize quality for sake of efficiency. I'm not so worried about the effect of switching to a liquid on Round 2 for my customers who are getting all 5 of our applications. I'm more concerned with the ones who are only taking 4 of the 5. These folks skip Round 3. I wonder if I would notice a drop-off in quality on these lawns, since most would go from May to late August/ early September before another application of fertilizer. I am very comfortable with the release characteristics of slow-release granular materials. Will .25#N from a slow-release liquid source continue to perform from May to late August?
If anyone has any input, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks in Advance :)

James Cormier
12-11-2004, 08:20 PM
Wondering if anybody uses liquid fertilizers with one or more of their rounds. I have been using a granular only program for fertilizers, but have been playing with the idea of using a liquid fert(.25#N per M) /iron/herbicide combo for my second round next season.
I really like the flexibility of using granular products (being able to adjust the rate from lawn to lawn if I need to), but being able to make one pass over the lawn for round 2 would definitely be a time saver when things are really busy Mid-Spring.
My main concern is maintaining a quality program from a fertility standpoint. I don't want to jeopardize quality for sake of efficiency. I'm not so worried about the effect of switching to a liquid on Round 2 for my customers who are getting all 5 of our applications. I'm more concerned with the ones who are only taking 4 of the 5. These folks skip Round 3. I wonder if I would notice a drop-off in quality on these lawns, since most would go from May to late August/ early September before another application of fertilizer. I am very comfortable with the release characteristics of slow-release granular materials. Will .25#N from a slow-release liquid source continue to perform from May to late August?
If anyone has any input, I'd love to hear it.

Thanks in Advance :)

1/4 lb of N to last from May to august, I dont think that would work no matter how you apply it.

Liquid really comes down to are you set up to do it. Do you have large storage tanks in your shop and set up with a filling station to get it into your spray tanks, Remember your water will increase alot so you gotta factor that into your costs, as well as time filling those trucks everyday.

Then the added liability in having a "tanker" truck driving around all day with all that juice. And finally you gotta be ready for the perception with going out in neighborhoods pulling hoses and spraying lawns, Thats not as common as it was a few years ago, I think alot of the general public view that as not being environmentally responsible ( I know its not true ) way of doing lawn care these days.

Just a few things to consider. I miss the results of those days , but that dosnt mean Im going back to those days

Jim

Neal Wolbert
12-12-2004, 03:14 AM
Have to agree that 1/4# won't last very long. Slow release liquid nitrogen products are available for sure. N-Sure is one we've used a lot of in the past. 1 to 1 1/2# N from N-Sure and 1/4 to 1/2# N from urea should last 10-12 weeks if irrigation is normal in the summer. Pretty expensive though. The last N-Sure we bought was $7.50 a gal. in 275 shuttles. Each gallon contains 3# N. Our company is all liquid and we get by with 5 apps. in the Northwest, but we don't use N-Sure anymore. Neal

Dman1214
12-12-2004, 10:50 AM
If I could put some perspective on your inquiry. We had 16 "tanker" trucks and would spray lawns that had weed concerns at the rate of 3gal/ooo ft2. In our 5 app program we would spray most of Rd 1 (coverage for pre-emergent), R2 and Rd 4 - depending on weed populations. The rest would be granular applications - we marketed our services as being able to do the best of both. My experience was that when you introduced any CRN source, the cost was prohibitive and we were somewhat limited on the fertilizer analysis we could offer (can only dissolve so much in water - esspecially a cold water source, without precipitate (fallout). It was my experience you can apply a better overall fertilizer with granular formulations, micronutrients being the exception (ex. a foliar liquid Fe source is far more effective than a granular one).

We had a 5000 gal holding tank and took in full tanker truckloads (4000 gal) of fert - usually a 20-0-6 formualtion. Neal's shuttle tanks an an option. You can also make your own using 46-0-0 urea, Poly-N, and 0-0-62. However, this is time consuming and requires excellent mechcanical agitation in your tanks - a hot water source would be best but not practical.

Jim and Neal addressed the other considerations.

DMAN1214

DUSTYCEDAR
12-12-2004, 11:17 AM
if the customer wants the full program 6 apps in mine, i give them the very best service i can, anyone that only wants less than the full service gets just that.
meaning they dont want to pay for 6 apps they wont have the same materials on there lawn and it wont look as good as someone on the full program.
they r being cheep so why am i going to kill myself to make there lawn look as good as someone that is paying for 6 apps when they only want 4. payup

cemars
12-13-2004, 06:36 PM
My experience was that when you introduced any CRN source, the cost was prohibitive and we were somewhat limited on the fertilizer analysis we could offer DMAN1214

As far as being limited on the analysis, you can create almost anything you want. For example, if you have a tank of straight Coron (28-0-0, 72% CRN) and bags of 0-0-50, DAP, and urea, what can't you make? I disagree with you on CRN being cost prohibitive, yes the materials are more but you save big on labor vs. a granular fert and liquid-broad leaf app. (unless you are using a PG or Z-Spray), not to mention no blowing sidewalks, filling spreaders, etc.

James Cormier
12-13-2004, 08:32 PM
I disagree with you on CRN being cost prohibitive, yes the materials are more but you save big on labor vs. a granular fert and liquid-broad leaf app. (unless you are using a PG or Z-Spray), not to mention no blowing sidewalks, filling spreaders, etc.

I believe the labor is a wash, either way.

Spraying you got, filling the tank,mixing all materials, bucket testing, pulling the hose out to the end of property before spraying, dealing with dragging hoses around trees,beds,cars,houses,plants then reeling the hose back in.

Granular you got loading truck, filling spreader, sure you passes are not as wide as spraying but you start right out from the truck spreading then work your way back to truck.

Back in the day when We started with spraying then switch to granular then back to spraying later in the year, I never saw production $$ change that much.

So if the materials are that much more for liquid crn, then I would agree its cost prohibitive.

greg6775
12-14-2004, 10:36 AM
Then the added liability in having a "tanker" truck driving around all day with all that juice. And finally you gotta be ready for the perception with going out in neighborhoods pulling hoses and spraying lawns, Thats not as common as it was a few years ago, I think alot of the general public view that as not being environmentally responsible ( I know its not true ) way of doing lawn care these days.

Just a few things to consider. I miss the results of those days , but that dosnt mean Im going back to those days

hmmm trugreen is the biggest company out there and they spray all day long i think some people that only push dry are the people that dont no how to spray or maybe that dont no how to fill a tank makes you wonder who these people are doing yards these days

James Cormier
12-14-2004, 11:57 AM
Then the added liability in having a "tanker" truck driving around all day with all that juice. And finally you gotta be ready for the perception with going out in neighborhoods pulling hoses and spraying lawns, Thats not as common as it was a few years ago, I think alot of the general public view that as not being environmentally responsible ( I know its not true ) way of doing lawn care these days.

Just a few things to consider. I miss the results of those days , but that dosnt mean Im going back to those days

hmmm trugreen is the biggest company out there and they spray all day long i think some people that only push dry are the people that dont no how to spray or maybe that dont no how to fill a tank makes you wonder who these people are doing yards these days

My last year working for chemdog (1990) was the first year they dropped the spraying all apps, we sprayed rd 1 and again rd 4 but the rest of the apps where granular.

Nowadays I see far more spreading then spraying even from trugreed. And I would argue all day long that there are far more small companies out there that know soo much more about treating lawns then most applicators that work for trugreed. Your implying just because someone fills there truck for them they know what they are doing, or because they are the best marketing company they know turf??

Dman1214
12-14-2004, 11:59 AM
Just about the only reason to do liquid is for the weed control. Now, with the advent of the ride-on sprayer/spreader concept - going to granular makes sense. u can now get the weed control w/out a 2nd pass over the lawn. Why do u think the main reason TG/CL has stayed with liquid? The absolute most compelling resaon is that they cannot change over their equipment - too costly, too much training involved, too much employee turnover. etc. imagine one of their new hire lawn monkies on a z-sprayer? - I don't think so.
they have stayed liquid because of these reasons, at least they realize that the customer's #1 concern is weeds.

teeca
12-14-2004, 08:39 PM
i like the idea of granular, less likely to strip a lawn, burn a lawn, ( i'v seen some pretty striped lawns from tg/cl ) clogg the strainer in the sprayer.. the clogging of the strainer is what i hate most about deep root feeding of trees.. besides i get an even 14' spreed with the push spreader.

cemars
12-14-2004, 08:50 PM
So if the materials are that much more for liquid crn, then I would agree its cost prohibitive.

If its cost prohibitive, why do people use it? I for one don't pay more for a product unless it yields a benefit at least equal to its additional cost. Granted the increase in value (or perceived value) will not be the same for everyone, but there is a quite a bit of liquid CRN sold to those who find it worth the added cost.

Neal Wolbert
12-15-2004, 01:49 AM
Liquid gives you the option of tweaking your mix at will and adding lots of things. Nutrient extenders, micronutrients, microbes, fungicide, insecticide, herbicide, mycorrhizae, liquid sea weed, compost tea and more. Being on target is a huge advantage...leave your blower behind...save time and noise. You can lead the way in stopping off target fertilizer applications by going liquid and advertize being eco-friendly. You can offer a program no dry one will match. Tomorrow my lawn techs are going out to apply winterizer with major and micronutrients, iron for lawn moss and fungicide to prevent Fusarium Patch in the same pass. They will leave two invoices with one stop. They will not have any clean up to do and they will see a color change before they drive away. I don't think you can do that with dry in one pass, do you? Neal

Pilgrims' Pride
12-15-2004, 08:48 AM
Neal,

A color change before they drive away?

Neal Wolbert
12-15-2004, 11:45 AM
Liquid iron responses are nearly instant when applied at moss control rate of about 2# fe su 1000 sq. ft. So in the 10-15 mins. it takes to do a treatment color change is easily noticeable. We chelate our micros to further enhance the uptake through both blades and roots. Thanks for the interest. www.wolberts.com Neal

TSM
12-15-2004, 02:13 PM
Liquid gives you the option of tweaking your mix at will and adding lots of things. Nutrient extenders, micronutrients, microbes, fungicide, insecticide, herbicide, mycorrhizae, liquid sea weed, compost tea and more. Being on target is a huge advantage...leave your blower behind...save time and noise. You can lead the way in stopping off target fertilizer applications by going liquid and advertize being eco-friendly. You can offer a program no dry one will match. Tomorrow my lawn techs are going out to apply winterizer with major and micronutrients, iron for lawn moss and fungicide to prevent Fusarium Patch in the same pass. They will leave two invoices with one stop. They will not have any clean up to do and they will see a color change before they drive away. I don't think you can do that with dry in one pass, do you? Neal

Neal, my NEW hero!
:)
much to be said about appling liquid applications.

teeca
12-15-2004, 06:35 PM
wow! how long will the color last on a liquid iron app? is it like a typical liquid app (fert), that get's it good and green for 2 weeks, then goes back to the old dull green? how many app's do you do in a season? what type of grass do you have?

cemars
12-15-2004, 08:36 PM
wow! how long will the color last on a liquid iron app? is it like a typical liquid app (fert), that get's it good and green for 2 weeks, then goes back to the old dull green? how many app's do you do in a season? what type of grass do you have?

Being that Neal is in Washington state, I assume he is dealing with cool season grass. My experience with liquid iron is that you see a green-up in a few days that will last for about 3 weeks. This thread started out about controlled release nitrogen (CRN) and has strayed off topic a bit, however many good points have been made. You say that a typical liquid fert app will last about 2 weeks, thats pessimistic at best. Straight urea will give you 3-4 weeks, stabilized nitrogen (ie. a urease inhibitor) will last 5-7 weeks, Coron last up to 16 weeks, and UF will last for half a year. The misconception that all liquid fertilizer is fast release is one I deal with regularly with my customers, but it seems a lot of "pros" still believe the same.

teeca
12-15-2004, 08:53 PM
i haven't seen to many lco's around indy using liquid fert, besides tg/cl and some larger companies on large business complex's. and there green does not seem to last as long as my dry apps. and i'm sure it's a money issue, not a quality issue for them to use liquid.

Neal Wolbert
12-16-2004, 12:42 AM
teeca, Cemars' right, we treat cool season grasses only. Nine week intervals is typical. Color and vigor hold pretty steady. Not all sites will hold that long, some hold longer. As always, soil types are a biggy. We treat our N (urea) with an extender. We can't get slow release liquids (Coron, N-Sure) to last anywhere close to 16 weeks up here. 8-9 weeks max. and $35-$40+ an acre more for the same N, and you have to handle lots of messy liquid at mixing. Neal

DUSTYCEDAR
12-16-2004, 10:46 AM
i have found that the temp and irigation has a lot to do with how long my fert will release and last with the green dry or liquid so i work around the weather

teeca
12-16-2004, 05:38 PM
thanks neil, thats what makes this site so good, there are always things to learn.

what type of equipment do you use? (type of pump, spray nozzel, etc)
the only type of liquid fertilizer i have used is sol urea, which is a fast and easy spray, no problems except leanth of green. tree fertilizer from the DOGGET corp, which flow's good. and powder blue, which i have had no luck in keeping it well mixed and it clogg's very easy. the equipment i have is a 600 gal tank, mechanical agitation, 8hp honda, hypro D50 pump. the powder blue just won't stay in suspension. does the slow-release fertilizer you spray stay in suspension very well?

Neal Wolbert
12-17-2004, 03:15 AM
teeca, Your equipment sounds like it should work good with powder blue. If you use an extender your urea can last a couple months. Write me privately and I'll tell you more. The powder blue thing is a tough one, I'll admit. Everyone learns the hard way how to use it. We have it figured out...round tanks are best, no corners...mechanical agitation or very aggressive bypass...install a shut off as close to the tank as possible on your supply hose and shut it off when you shut down, even if it's for a few minutes...agitation needs to run for a while to suspend the blue BEFORE you open the supply to the pump...it's best to hook up your mech. agit. to an electric Hannay or similar motor so it runs constantly during your work day...install a garden hose back flow connection before your pump so you can clear your supply line if need be. We successfully apply 5-6# blue in 5-10 gals. water 1000/sq.ft. at times. There is nothing like blue when you want it's benefits. IBDU used to be made in a sprayable form but not now. We are going to try to talk them into making some for us though. Sometimes it works best for accounts you can't treat very often but want N release when the soil temps. are below 50 degrees when blue stops releasing. We use very little blue on lawns, however. With the extender we don't need it applying at 9 +- week intervals. Neal

Sterling
12-19-2004, 07:36 PM
neal my e-mail is sharrylora@bellsouth.net

kootoomootoo
12-26-2004, 11:57 AM
I spray Liquid iron on a few "special accounts" at a high rate and literally they are "blue" within a few days. We all know why but neighbors have no idea lol.