Any Ol' Fertilizer Will Do

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by Smallaxe, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    I've never heard that N would oxidize or succumb to solar degradation... It does 'volatize' or evaporate and 'leach' or wash through the soil into the water tables...

    The nice thing about slow release, it shoouldn't volatize during a drought... But then one wouldn't need to fertilize again after the drought... that was more the point I was going after...

    I believe that nitrogen burn is real and during the course of a hot dry summer, that it is possible to weaken grass plants enough with excessive N to kill them...
    Even though the N applications are 4 weeks apart, when the first application is still extant in the soil we are creating a buildup...

    My belief in N burn however is just from watching TGCL do their 6 - 7 apps on nonirrigated sand... :)
  2. turfmd101

    turfmd101 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,289

    This may be off the general discussion.

    If severe droughts occur and normal fertilization continues. I also believe continuing to fertilize with N will definitely cause turf to exhaust energy and become week. I also feel in these situations of drought. The right fertilizer is most important in preventing osmosis of water in the root system by compounding salt in the soil higher than the salt content of the root system. This is droughts biggest issues when considering GOOD or BAD fertilizer quality's. Especially around coastal salt spray areas.
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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    It does make sense that if the plants were correctly fertilized that they would be best able to stand the period of drought better... if they were underfed when the drought hits they would be less likely to stand against the drought...

    I do not believe that having nitrogen salts sitting on the grass during a drought is a good idea, but would be better if the plant had done lots of active growing and storing up energy before the drought...

    That is why I am a big fan of fertile soil, moreso than quick growing brite green grass... if a plant has what it needs always available it won't be taken out of sync with its natural processes... I like to do N when the roots are done expanding in the Spring and beforethe heat and drought hits... then do more N when the Fall rains return after the heat and drought of Summer... Those are the 2 basic apps for N and Fe...

    N with H2O and cool temps, all go together... unless all 3 are present the plants will be 'out of sync' and that stress needs to be considered...

    Fertile soil,,, has CE sites, good air/water ratio and enough microbial activity to mine almost any mineral from the soil that is needed by the plant at any given time... :)
  4. turfmd101

    turfmd101 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,289

    I firmly agree.
    My opinion on good or bad fertilizer is based on the quality of raw material used for the blend ( high or low quality ). I also agree that with improperly applying N STORED ENERGY is the biggest loss. Do you feel this action shuts down the storage of energy at the same time?
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  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Based on this article,,,
    and what I've learned over the years, I've arrived at the following conclusion for cool-season grasses... basic principles apply to all grasses , but the timing would be all different...

    As the grasses break dormancy early in the Spring they call on their reserves to grow the roots out into the thawing ground... as the ground thaws the microbes become active and begin their mutualistic relationship with the plants' microscopic root hairs...
    Since topgrowth is NOT the grasses' priority, the microbes would mine actual minerals from the soil that the plants would like to have to build the strongest and most virile roo tsystem possible... All W/out additional fertilizers and absolutely no root inhibitors...

    I imagine that a lot of this early underground growth is over by our 2nd mowing or so... Now is the time I like to add N and Fe so the color brightens up and the robust growth of the entire plant allows new storage opportunitiesfor the upcoming Summer and all of its related stresses...
  6. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,852

    So if you apply (controlled release fert) , and it doesn't get watered in for several months, this is a bad idea? -- I know of granular fert that can sit there pretty much "forever" until precip happens.

    Our lawns turned out looking better, cuz the nutrients were "in place during drought conditions", compared to to others.

    Lawns that did not recieve nutrients during late summer "struggled" and looked pale & thin. Not good -- especially going into winter.
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    I believe it is a good idea to have "nutrients in place" like you've indicated... in that we are definately in agreement about that... where I have a problem understanding where you're coming from,,, is the idea that adding fertilizer during a drought is actually "nutrients in place"...

    I can't comment on southern grasses, but the thing we did here was add fert as soon as the heat was over in Late Aug - Early Sept.,,, just as soon as the first Fall rain came... it still took 2 months for the granules to dissolve and in fact I could still see granules , still in place, when the snow came,,, and these were less than 15% slow release...
    I use water soluable N in the Fall because I want the N, in place, i.e., in the root zone before the ground freezes... N is wasted on frozen turf and will likely end up in the water table when snow melts and the March winds blow...

    how this compares to Alabama grasses,,, I don't know,,, but the thing to remember about fertilizer is that,,, until it is in usable form, and in an accessible location where roots can use it... it is NOT 'nutrients in place'... :)

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