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Early Spring Fertilizing

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Lawn Solutions, Feb 7, 2003.

  1. Lawn Solutions

    Lawn Solutions LawnSite Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 39

    I'm starting a lawn service this spring and I'm located in Midwest within the wonderful transition zone. (yes, I'm licensed.)

    Question: I have always followed a Fall Fertilizing Program with my own lawns (cool-season) and have had excellent results. The Extension Service of cource recommend this. But every lawn service in my area provides an early spring "wake-up" feeding which is a no-no according to most turf experts. Besides extra $ is this a good idea?

    This might seem trivial but I don't want to sell something that is not needed. Is this early spring application beneficial in any way?

  2. LndscpEssentials

    LndscpEssentials LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    I live in the Atlanta Transition Zone so I don't know how much this will help. On cool season lawns (Fescue), I know my company and most others will apply a feeding in Spring to produce color and growth. It's high in nitrogen yes but we know not to put any nitrogen on Fescue after April. Here, Fescue needs to be fed right in Spring and Fall, these are times it is growing best & you need to produce as much new & thick growth as possible. After April, N apps will produce all kinds of problems! Good Luck!
  3. I think I am missing the question here.

    Spring is when we feed, but honestly I feed for spring in the fall.
  4. Lawn Solutions

    Lawn Solutions LawnSite Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 39

    Late spring (Late April and May) is what our extension service says is the proper time to apply N. They recommend NOT fertilizing in early spring (late Feb, March) due to grass is already in rapid flush of growth and any extra N depletes carbs stored in roots and increases disease and insect problems, mowing, etc.

    But most of our local services, including Scotts, apply N in March even though they put down a N application in November. Just was wondering why everybody disregards advice?

    We need to have our Crabgrass Pre-Emer down around by early April so I imagine this is also a factor in early feeding.
  5. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    You raise a very good question. I use a very low N (13) with premerge in late March for the reasons you mention. I am no chemical expert.Perhaps some of the fert experts can chime in on this.
  6. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 488

    Here in the north, I have found that early May is soon enough for fertilizer, especially if a good fall app was made.

    I find that those people that get excited in March and early April with the first warm weather and apply N often end up with disease when the weather turns cold and damp.

    I find that the lawns that green up a little slower and wake up more naturally are often the best through the majority of the growing season.

    You really can kill a lawn with kindness.

    Austreim Landscaping
  7. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,261

    Why they do it? *

    1. If you had 9000 lawns and had to have pre-m down by end of April when would you have to start?

    2. If you are selling 7 or more applications a year when would you have to start?

    3. If you don't have to mow it why would you care?

    4 Isn't true sales about selling someone something they really don't need?

    5. Most people (right or wrong ) want to see results after an application. ie. Insane growth.

    6. If they have underbid you by $3-5 per app they are probably not putting much N down anyway. Just collecting the payment.

    * the following reasons are not policy or endorsed by the mgt or employees of Mark Milner Lawn Care.
  8. turfsolutions

    turfsolutions LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    I fully relate to your question. The answer really depends on the lawn and weather. If you have a lawn that is a little spindly and needs a quick jump, then put down some N in the early spring, but not too much, maybe 1/4 - 1/2 lb per 1000sq ft. The other companies that pour out the N early in the spring with no regard for the landscapers or even their own customers who cut the grass they are treating will lose customers in the long run. If a customer is cutting their own lawn, they will notice that before they put the lawn mower back in the shed, the lawn needs to be cut again. A knowledgable lawn applicator should know that overfeeding a lawn will increase the succeptibility to disease during wet weather. The same however can go for underfeeding. You just have to take it one lawn at a time.
  9. xpnd

    xpnd LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 378

    Here in Tx the extension service did an analysis of our caliche soils and determined it would require over 1lb of sulfer to be applied to less than one square foot (that's not a typo guys) to simply negate the effects of the carbonate in our soils. Knowing this I simply eliminated/refused to make this a standard application in my program, however it's now back in the program as an optional application. The "educated" customer that knows more than I do by never attending continuing education classes in turf managment dictated I put it back in the program. The translation here is that I was eliminating to many potential clients by knowing how to spend their money wisely. I figured it was neither helping nor hurting their turf so if they insisted on throwing money at me, well I certainly would squat behind the plate and catch it. Educate those that will listen and be educated and do what is right. Your reputation and credibility with that customer group will increase and you will have more of this quality customer each year. If the questionable application does neither significant harm nor good, put on the glove and catch the money.
  10. JTHutch

    JTHutch LawnSite Member
    Posts: 115

    Here in Kansas, Early spring applications are low N (19 or less) With pre emerge. It is mostly applied for the pre emege. First application is mid February then late March. But for early spring green up is what the winterizer is for, hammer it with Nitrogen then and your fescue lawn will be as happy as can be in the spring.

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