Automatic Fertilizer

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by cosmo, Nov 7, 2005.

  1. cosmo

    cosmo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 13

    I am going to have an irrigation system installed. My property is approx. 42,000sq ft. I am thinking of having an auto fertilizer installed when I have the irrigation system installed. What are the pro's and Con's. I currently have both liquid and granular put down through out the year. Will I achieve the same results with just liquid. Also can I put down pesticides with it. any info would be appreciated.
     
  2. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    You better have a perfectly balanced system that was installed correctly or you are going to have dark green full, quarter, and half circles all over your yard with light green patches mixed in
     
  3. Broker

    Broker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    Ditto, I would use them for flowerbeds but circular patterns on grass I would stay away from.
     
  4. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    If you Google "turf fertigation" you will find many articles pertaining to this. Some are from equipment manufacturers and others are from university studies. There are many pros and cons for fertigation of turf. I'd do some independent research before investing in this for your home.

    One article I found interesting is
    http://turf.ufl.edu/research/papers/Fertigation.htm
     
  5. jerryrwm

    jerryrwm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,274

    Now you're scaring the crap out of me. Is your backflow device of the RPZ type, and has it been tested lately? Or is it the typical PVB or DCA? Neither of which are approved for injector applications.

    Fertilizer injectors are fine if that is what they are used for - "Fertilizer" Pesticides and other chemicals need to be put on in the way the chemical manufacturer states on the label. Either an approved sprayer for wettables or liquids, and spreaders for granulars. This is usually stated in the Pesticide regs for each state.

    Put the chemicals on the proper way and then there won't be any chance of contamination.

    Jerry
     
  6. PurpHaze

    PurpHaze LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,496

    In our mega-ag area the number one cause of wells going "bad" as far as being potable is high nitrate levels. Up until about ten years ago we still had inner-city school sites on well water because it was cost effective. Then the district cut all these sites off well water and put them on domestic service which really is well water also but it has been treated and filtered. Downside now is that our pumps (and water) are no longer tested and not routinely maintained by the Maint. Dept. plumbers and electricians because the remaining ones just feed irrigation. Love it when a pump goes down in 105* summer and the site dries up when it takes 4-6 weeks to get the pump fixed. Curb appeal goes out the window. :D
     
  7. Critical Care

    Critical Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,654

    Think about what nitrates can do to certain components and metals. Is it possible to keep the bolts on fertilizer spreaders from rusting? Theoretically, chemical injection manufacturers suggest that the injectors and components are resistant to this. Yeah, okay.

    And, also consider what happens on a windy day when your system comes on. Do your neighbors mind if their vegetables get a dose of pesticides, or if their RV gets sprayed with a bit of nitrogen?

    I like the idea, but it would certainly have to be the right place and absolutely correctly installed to all codes.
     
  8. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    I have been using "fertigation " for over 14 years ever since I found a liquid biological product that breaks up the calachie around here and buffer the salts (our Ph is typically 8-8.2) The problem is finding a unit that is appropriate for your property. I have used everything from Mazzies to ez flow (what a piece of crap) to LMI pumps and flow meters. I have not gotten into the bigger Anderson's etc like they would use on a golf course but they are not appropriate for a residence. You will need a reduced pressure back flow device. If you can answer a few questions I can steer you in the right direction, may be as cheap as 300.00 or up to 1500.00 wholesale cost. Do you have electricity at your connection point or nearby? What size is your main line? Is this a new install or retrofit? How many valves and what do they run? (flow rates per min. if you know) The good news is most of what has been posted above is BS, you don't have to worry about green rings. You will have to check your local laws about what you can and cannot run through them. There is a company coming out with an organic pesticide that is legal in most states also smells great and keeps away small rodents too. I have yet to test the stuff but I have been dealing with the company for 3-4 years and they are not snake oil salesmen. I use a bridge product that is organic based so it brings the soil back to life with a little synthetic so the clients see results right away. I wish someone else had done all the R&D I have over the last 10+ years but I'm here now and I wouldnt go back. 36 of my 40 accounts have injectors.
     
  9. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,781

    Fertigation works in a lot of applications. In reality, turf ain't one of them. One of the best measurements of sprinkler performance is called co-efficeint of uniformity (and I'm sure I miss spelled that, but oh well). This is an industry created factor dealing with nozzle performance in an ideal condition. Yep, that means it is an imaginary number that has very little to do with real life. I mention it only because even the equipment that would have the highest marks would not meet EPA criteria for chemical applications. If the system is designed properly with the best we can achieve given the limitations of watering squares with circles, you may or may not see coverage problems. If the rates are high enough to hide them and low enough not to create them, you would need soil tests to prove it, but they will be there. On the flip side, the right system may still be more accurate than a poorly applied application through traditional means. I think if a person wants to fertigate, and they can do it without imposing on adjoining properties, etc. then, fine, BUT they should have to do it from a cistern or holding tank fed from an air gap protected source. There should never be a direct connection to municipal water even with an RPZ. It is systems like this that make defending DC's such a pain.
     
  10. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    I think fertigation would work best from a mist head, or perhaps a MProtator?
     

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