Register free!


Reply
 
Thread Tools   Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-07-2013, 10:09 AM
gcbailey's Avatar
gcbailey gcbailey is offline
LawnSite Silver Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: southern WV
Posts: 2,104
is there a good reference book/site?

We have recently (June) acquired our business pesticide application (WV) and I have recently passed my technician license. I have a full time guy who is a commercial applicator (WV 4A), but 80% of his experience is on the herbicide/pesticide side. He does contract work for a local school system for weed application, but not fertilize.

I've signed up for an online course from Purdue University on pesticides, but from what all I've covered so far it's mainly from the technical side and not a lot about fertilizer applications, unless it's a section I haven't got to yet. From what I've been told by the state upon successful completion of the course, it counts as the 1 year understudy and I will be eligible to sit for my commercial app license.

From a business side my main goal was to be able to legally apply weed treatments to flower beds, banks, etc... For years we've had clients request for us to do so. However, I would still like to learn about the fertilizer side, just so I'm not ignorant. Right now and in the foreseeable future as a company we have no plans of getting into the large scale fertilizer applications, but still... I'd like to know.

We have a good relationship with probably the largest fertilizer application company in the area and I've approached the owner with our intentions and he knows that I'm not trying to cut in on him. He's also offered to tutor me some in the off season, but I honestly hate taking up a lot of his time. He's probably a $2.5M year fertilizer/weed/hardscape company and we are about a $355K year mowing company. For years I've referred my clients to him for treatments and he's referred his to us for mowing and maintenance and it's worked well.

So after saying all of that... I guess my question is, are there any books or websites out there that covers "general knowledge" or is the "search" feature my best friend?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-07-2013, 10:03 PM
foreplease's Avatar
foreplease foreplease is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: St. Joseph, MI
Posts: 1,270
Congratulations on getting to the next level gc.

For your area Penn State, Rutgers, or VA (do they have a turf dept?) would probably offer the most relavant advice. Purdue is certainly fine. I am partial to Michigan State

Best thing you can do for yourself and customers initially is develop a keen awareness of the predominant soil types and grass species in your area. Then begin learning what those grasses require annually and how those soil types handle fertilizers.

You are going to arrive at a range of needs per thousand square feet (M, some use K as abbreviation) per year. That baseball field might be a good place to experiment and they might like to have a couple free or cheap fertilizer trials. Anyway, your reading and talking to others will help you arrive at something like this for your area:
Low maintenance and overall standards 1.5# nitrogen/M per year. Probably does not treat for weeds, mows every 10-14 days, non-irrigated. Many places that are truly low maint don't fertilize at all.

Medium Maintenance maybe something like 2.5# N/yr

High end could be something like 4-5# N/yr (I do not have any athletic fields that use more than 4#/yr fwiw).

Then it becomes how should you deliver it (apply), how often, and when-a slightly different question from how often. Most cool season turf is better off with a big chunk of its total nitrogen delivered in Fall. It ell places that only want to fertilize once to do it late September to early October (southern MI).

Distinguish yourself by buying and using good products. My customers appreciate that I use high end slow release products and do not have to come as often. In Fall I will use all mineral (cheaper) fertilizers or low percentage slow release. You can learn a lot from your dealer/distributor. I don't buy fertilizer from them any more but John Deere Landscapes would be a good place to start.

I am not ignoring P and K, just trying to get you started on N, which is the key element of turf fertilizer plans.

Also, read about the nitrogen cycle to learn how various sources of nitrogen break down and become available to the plant. That should get you started.
__________________
Michigan PABL
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-08-2013, 09:32 AM
gcbailey's Avatar
gcbailey gcbailey is offline
LawnSite Silver Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: southern WV
Posts: 2,104
Thanks for the reply... I was somewhat surprised that the state suggested Purdue. I'm about 40 miles from Va Tech (cough, cough) and they are a huge AG school. Myself personally I'm for the other Michigan, GO BLUE!! haha.

One thing I've been learning is that this particular area is somewhat of an anomaly. I guess we are technically listed as a transition zone, but we are up in the mountains, where in no amount of distance you can go from 1,400ft to 3,200ft and 15-20 degrees variations of temperature and seasonal changes.

The types of grasses is something I'm somewhat weak on. I can tell the difference between bluegrass and fescue, but then you start throwing in all these "hybrids" and everything else... I've also noticed several of our higher end properties contain multiple species of grasses, so I assume you have to treat that a little different too.

As far as a local dealer, that's somewhat of a problem. There is a JD lanscapes about 2 hours away in Roanoke, VA, but within the immediate area we have a Purina Farm and Feed and they are mostly AG related and don't have much knowledge of anything related to specifics of fertilizers outside of "we carry this...". We also have a TSC, for what it's worth. I know the fertilizer company I mentioned in the previous post orders everything by the truckload straight from the manufacturer or regional distributor.

Even as far as purchasing a decent spreader or sprayer, none of that is available for local purchase. Around here it's Lowe's and their Scott's products and from what I've read on LS, that's paying for a brand and most of their application rates are for their cheap spreaders, then you have to do extra math to use another brand spreader with their products.



Quote:
Originally Posted by foreplease View Post
Congratulations on getting to the next level gc.

For your area Penn State, Rutgers, or VA (do they have a turf dept?) would probably offer the most relavant advice. Purdue is certainly fine. I am partial to Michigan State

Best thing you can do for yourself and customers initially is develop a keen awareness of the predominant soil types and grass species in your area. Then begin learning what those grasses require annually and how those soil types handle fertilizers.

You are going to arrive at a range of needs per thousand square feet (M, some use K as abbreviation) per year. That baseball field might be a good place to experiment and they might like to have a couple free or cheap fertilizer trials. Anyway, your reading and talking to others will help you arrive at something like this for your area:
Low maintenance and overall standards 1.5# nitrogen/M per year. Probably does not treat for weeds, mows every 10-14 days, non-irrigated. Many places that are truly low maint don't fertilize at all.

Medium Maintenance maybe something like 2.5# N/yr

High end could be something like 4-5# N/yr (I do not have any athletic fields that use more than 4#/yr fwiw).

Then it becomes how should you deliver it (apply), how often, and when-a slightly different question from how often. Most cool season turf is better off with a big chunk of its total nitrogen delivered in Fall. It ell places that only want to fertilize once to do it late September to early October (southern MI).

Distinguish yourself by buying and using good products. My customers appreciate that I use high end slow release products and do not have to come as often. In Fall I will use all mineral (cheaper) fertilizers or low percentage slow release. You can learn a lot from your dealer/distributor. I don't buy fertilizer from them any more but John Deere Landscapes would be a good place to start.

I am not ignoring P and K, just trying to get you started on N, which is the key element of turf fertilizer plans.

Also, read about the nitrogen cycle to learn how various sources of nitrogen break down and become available to the plant. That should get you started.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-09-2013, 09:27 AM
foreplease's Avatar
foreplease foreplease is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: St. Joseph, MI
Posts: 1,270
Quote:
Originally Posted by gcbailey View Post
Myself personally I'm for the other Michigan, GO BLUE!! haha.
Ha ha! That field requires no fertilizer, only disinfectants and crumb rubber. Really though? Even after they took two of your coaches?

Don't get a cheap spreader. I don't know if that means UPS, a road trip, or eBay or what but you will only need to do it every 10-12 years if you get a good one.

Do you have room for a couple pallets of fertilizer somewhere? Maybe talk to a golf course superintendent in your area and see if you can piggyback on one of their deliveries. Chances are somebody is delivering fertilizer to small guys like you and me somewhere in your area - you just need to find them. Home Depot has some LESCO/JDL fertilizers. Price will probably not be as good as you can do with a turf distributor and, personally, I just don't like the idea of it professionally. If you only want 10 bags or something to get started then it may be worthwhile. TSC I am not too familiar with. I would not use any fertilizer from Scott's.
__________________
Michigan PABL
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-09-2013, 04:17 PM
gcbailey's Avatar
gcbailey gcbailey is offline
LawnSite Silver Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: southern WV
Posts: 2,104
Quote:
Originally Posted by foreplease View Post
Ha ha! That field requires no fertilizer, only disinfectants and crumb rubber. Really though? Even after they took two of your coaches?
I never said I was from WV , but oh I had to listen to every hillbilly leprechaun during the Rich Rod era...

I do have a 30x50 metal building that we store our equipment in. It's not heated or anything, just protected from the elements...

What are your thoughts on EarthWay spreaders? I have an Amazon.com prime account and I can get free 2 day shipping on them.

The golf courses around here are a joke too... they have the same upkeep as those little league fields we've taken on! Until you get over to the Greenbrier, there isn't a decent golf course around. They are all Elks Lodge courses and leave a LOT to be desired.

I will start calling around. I would ask the guy who owns the other outfit, but as I said, I don't want to come across as trying to cut in on his business. I've never believed in that and he's brought a lot of high end clients our way. Honestly he's probably at the point where he'd be willing to sell off his spray business because he's into the landscape/hardscape so much now. I do know he's hired a a guy to run his two trucks and crews. He's stepped back 85% into the shop (nursery) on most days.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-10-2013, 08:58 AM
foreplease's Avatar
foreplease foreplease is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: St. Joseph, MI
Posts: 1,270
I do not have any experience with the EarthWay spreader. It has been discussed here by other people. Seems as though it is often mentioned as one of the 4-5 worth owning.

Scary about your local golf courses. I understand about wanting to figure this out without involving the other guy. Maybe contact a couple fertilizer companies or look on their web sites for distribution info. Andersens and Lebanon would be good places to start. If you look outside known turf distributors keep an eye on SGN - you want to stay away from Ag type big granule sizes for lawns. Smaller SGNs are larger sizes, I believe. Also, you want at least some part of the material to be slow release of some type: UFLEXX, MESA, SCU, PSCU, etc. Organics, such as Milorganite! are slow release but expensive and only suitable for warm soil temperatures IMO.
__________________
Michigan PABL

Last edited by foreplease; 09-10-2013 at 09:03 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-11-2013, 08:40 PM
bamaturf bamaturf is offline
LawnSite Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: alabama
Posts: 134
i just sent you a PM
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-27-2013, 07:14 PM
Tyler259 Tyler259 is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 100
I'm curious about seeding, fertilizing etc. Don't have time to go back to college for it. The Rutgers site has good info.

Would be interested in taking a course in the Northeast also. Or some good books and websites.

Bump
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-20-2013, 09:18 PM
oqueoque oqueoque is online now
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: haddon hts. nj
Posts: 648
The Rutgers site is a good start. It is a free online course. You can find it by searching profact.rutgers.edu You might want to ask your local West Virginia county extension agent for assistance. If you have questions on specific topics , it is good to add .edu to your search. This will link you to various university research that is published online. Penn State has alot.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-26-2013, 08:58 PM
RigglePLC's Avatar
RigglePLC RigglePLC is offline
LawnSite Fanatic
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Grand Rapids MI
Posts: 9,555
Most soil fertility books are ag-related. James Beard's "Turfgrass Science and Culture" 1972, is the most complete textbook on turfgrass and has chapters on soil fertility. 672 pages. Fertility is discussed on pages 408 to 465. Look for a used copy, or drop by your library.

For a quick read try Trey Rogers, "Lawn Geek" Pp 148 to 166, 2007. Teaches turf science at Michigan State.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump





Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1998 - 2012, LawnSite.comô - Moose River Media
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:33 AM.

Page generated in 0.06862 seconds with 9 queries