Fertilize on top of leaves?

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by greenstar lawn, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. greenstar lawn

    greenstar lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 648

    I was wondering how u guys fertilize with heavy amounts of leaves on the yard. I noticed that a few yards that I do tg will still spread before I pick up the leaves. Does the granules still make it into the soil? I bag most of my yards and am shocked to see the tg flag in the yard. I understand that they can't work around our schedule but why spread when the leaves are thick?
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  2. cgaengineer

    cgaengineer LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 15,782

    Granular no problem, liquid...I wouldn't do it.
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  3. greenstar lawn

    greenstar lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 648

    Yep it was at least granauls. Not sure if liquid was applied to but doubt it.
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  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,233

    This drove me nuts every year, as an applicator. In late October many of the lawns would have leaves--very frustrating.
    Nothing solved the problem. Sometimes I just postponed their treatment and had to drive back out to the site a week or two later. I would leave a note--"Call me when leaves are raked." They wouldn't call--or --they would call at 3 pm and say come right away before more leaves fall. "My lawn man said he would come on Monday--but he is not sure."
    Sometimes I applied the granules, and billed them and said I would return and redo areas where leaves were too deep, (thereby waiting two weeks, until it was convenient for me). At times I applied liquid and had to return in a couple weeks to redo parts--but by then I had switched over to granules.
    What percent of the granules get through the leaves? What percent are picked up? No one knows. What happens if rain on top of granules, on top of leaves?

    Any suggestions? What works the best? (Profit wise?)
  5. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,365

    when i worked at trugreen and other companies i took my blower with me in the fall and if the lawn was to bad covered i'd blow the leaves off the lawn quickly before i did it. small lawns of course... just depended on the lawn.. not gonna spend an hour blowing some leaves for free.. lol. some guys would just go over the leaves with fert anyway, if its light leaves fine, but i don't see putting granules over a lawn you can't see, who knows if its gonna really get through. mabee blowing off leaves isn't very profitable, because your adding extra work but neither is having to go out a second time because you couldn't do it the first time.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Cool-season grasses should be fertilized, before the leaves are coming down, as a winterizer, according to Ohio State research anyways(http://turfdisease.osu.edu/turf-disease-updates/benefits-late-fall-fertilization), so bag if you want to... not all the granules will be picked up and the extra left behind won't really hurt anything...

    Do to the drought, my early Sept fert is still showing up under the leaves as if they were just put down yesterday... I could raise the bag on the mower and hope for the best, or blow a bit more gingerly than normal, but getting the leaves off the grass is the priority...

    Those that allow leaves to kill the grass wouldn't know, or care, if the applied chemicals did anything or not... :)
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,233

    Anybody willing to experiment? The amount of fertilizer that penetrates leaves must be determined.
    How about a blue tarp. Add 6 inches of leaves. Spread a weighed quantity of 100 percent sulfur coated urea. Remove the leaves, (method is your choice). Weigh whatever is left on the tarp. (Or cement or whatever impervious surface you use.)

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