Best Fertilizer/Weed Killer

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by Doogiegh, Nov 16, 2001.

  1. Doogiegh

    Doogiegh LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 871

    What kind/brand of fertilizer does everyone use to get the lawns nice and green come spring? And if you do fertilize, do you put it down now or do you want until around March 15th when it warms up and the grass begins to grow again. I live in Central N.J.

    At my parents house, my dad always used the Scotts 4-Step program and usually put it on around Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day.. Each holiday meant there was another application of fertilizer to be put down and it always seemed to work out real well with the lawn. He also put down lime twice a year.

    Are there soil test-kits available to test the PH and stuff yourself, where can you get one, and are they expensive?

    Is the scotts 4-step really that good, or are there other brands just as good, just Scotts spends a ton of money on advertising?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 870

    This'll prolly get moved to the pesticide forum, but:

    Scotts is a good product. They DO have a strong maketing campaign along with their good product. They don't really serve the commercial applicator too well, and with the advent of their Scotts Lawn Service frnachises, I don't think they'll target our market as a strong supplier anytime soon.

    In Northern turf, the late season applications which are so beneficial are often skipped or skimped.


    LATE SEASON FERTILIZATION:
    1.) Most important of the year.
    2.) Apply at the time of your AVERAGE first frost. (Oct 25 in NJ?)
    3.) Apply high N and high K or per soil analysis.


    Cheapest pH is to test soil at local Co-op or Lesco.
     
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    This thread should probably (and probably will) be moved to the fert. and pesticide forum. But up here, where I am at, we have PERFECT conditions for what I'm doing again this year. At the end of this month, or beginning of December, provided the grass is all done by then, (I can't believe it's still growing like it is, and we have more warm temps on the way) I'll be putting one last ap of 24-5-11 down. With this down, I leave the final cut at about 2.5 to 3 inches. In the Spring, as it starts to warm up, and the grass is ju u ust about to come out of dormancy, I come in and cut it down to 2" and cut all the dead off the top of it. After that, the lawns exPLODE! My clients can't believe.... how green their grass gets in the folllowing week! I tell them ahead of time that I'll give them the first green lawn onthe block, and by gosh, I DELIVER! This is simply amazing the results I get. I know alot of the services around here ask me how I do it, but I never tell!;) I guess if they were smart enough to be on here, they would know!:cool:
     
  4. hertelbr

    hertelbr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    Doogiegh,

    It sounds like these guys pretty much summed it up. Runner's reply was right on with the preseason cut to 2". By cutting the tips off of newly emerging grass blades stimulates crown activity pushing additional growth and as a result early green-up. The nuts and bolts of the late fall fertilization are as follows. The shoot growth of cool season grasses is best between 65 and 75 degrees fahrenheit(soil temperature). Root growth is best at 55 and 65 degrees(soil temperature). So when the air temps. cool into the 40's and 30's, the soil temps. cool much slower (high specific heat). It is to cool for optimum shoot growth so that slows or stops but perfect temps. for root growth. Carbohydrates are still being produced by the still green grass through photosynthesis, and are stored for use next spring (early green up) and additional root growth yet this season. Probably more than you wanted to know, but the simple fact is most homeowners skip this application because there is not an immediate response. In my opinion it is the most important application of the year, especially after a hot dry summer like we experienced this past season. As for the fertilizer Lesco has always provided me with great service and great products, especially their 24-5-11 50% SCU w/ Fe and Mg.
    - Brandon
     
  5. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,211

    I'll concur with that fall app being the most important. You didn't say where you are in Central Jersey, but you'll be wanting to get your fertilizers from Lesco, UHS, or one of the good Commercial Nurseries. They are all selling good products that are cheaper than Scott's making them affordable to sell to customers. Don't forget you can't apply some of the 4-step products to customer's lawns until you have that Pesticide License!
     
  6. Doogiegh

    Doogiegh LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 871

    Thanks for the fertilizer "how-to" replies. I'll check more into the numbers behind the fertilizer composition and learn more about the biology of the grasses as the winters rolls in.

    BRL - I'm in Edison. I am just starting and currently have 0 customers. I just read your other reply with the websites and have printed out all the forms.. I'll have to stop by New Brunswick to get a training manual and then study for the tests.. If I can take them over the winter, I'll be newly certified and fully licensed to go for the spring time.

    I see that the fee is $150, and I think being that I'm a sole-proprietor, with just myself working, I may have to have 2 licenses so it's like $300.

    Did you form a "small business" in NJ and is that a real pain in the neck to do? Can you be licensed for fertilizer if you don't file a small business application first?

    Gary
     
  7. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    24% N, late in the northern season is a waste of money and not environmentally sound. It is way more N than the turf can utilize this late, so it is wasted financially and the excess just tends to leach away. A fert like 10-20-20 with no slow release applied at a max of 4-5 lb/k is more usable and beneficial with less N leaching.

    The spring response noted in previous posts is from what was from the N able to be absorbed in the cooler conditions, but it is impossible without conducting an experiment to measure N wasted.

    I'd prefer not to have an actual particle carry over but just huge root reserves in spring as you'll get the green but with less growth.
     
  8. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 870

    That is why ideally you want all quick-release N.

    How late is late?

    Applied at the date of 1st frost, the turf will use most all of it.
     
  9. hertelbr

    hertelbr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    HBFOXJR,

    Just to clarify the 24-5-11 slow-release is what I use during the growing season late season I use the 35-3-5 all chemical, I agree with Kent Lawns on the high nitrogen, even after the lawns have quit growing and there is still green plant tissue it is photosynthesizing and storing carbohydrates since it uses more N than the other nutrients especially at those soil temperatures. I think companies do try to stretch the season and Late November applications and Decembers are mostly leeched. All of my readings have pushed high N in the fall, even at Michigan State University where I attend classes in the Sports and Commercial Turf Program they push high N. I'll check to see what studies they have done on it, I am sure I can come up with something.
     
  10. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,476

    Blue & Rye lawn 1-1.5 Lbs. N @ Dormancy
    Fine & Tall Fescue .75-1 Lb N @ Dormancy
    Creeping Bentgrass 0-.5 Lbs. N @ Dormancy

    For the 2-3 weeks following dormancy, cool season trufgrasses utilize applied available (soluble, not slow release N) Nitrogen by converting it to carbohydrates that are stored in the root system and used to break dormancy the following spring.

    Too much, or too late, or even goofy slow release forms can foster the conditions which favor snow old. Soluble forms applied too late can leach when it's wet or can volatalize when it's too dry. Either would be wasteful & environmentally destructive.

    High K such as Harolds 10-20-20 is the way to go on bentrass for sure. This type of approach won't hurt Blue or Rye as much as 35-3-5 would damage bents but I wouldn't expect those hungry blue lawns to green up really quick either.

    Try to program your lawns ( and customers) for the look and performance you want people to associate with your companies services. Sell the Bent Grass customers a good round-up renovation.

    Steve
     

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