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First Fert. and Spray Program - Help

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by Northern Turf Man, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. Northern Turf Man

    Northern Turf Man LawnSite Member
    Posts: 53

    Hey guys...starting to put together my first fert/spray program for the upcoming season. (Yes, I am licensed!) Because I am at the northern tip of the U.S. (Maine/Canadian border), my JDL guy suggested a 4-step program.

    This is roughly what I have come up with so far:

    Round 1 - Late May: 19-0-6 with 0.10 Dimension Pre
    Round 2 - Mid/late June: 25-0-6 and liquid broadleaf
    Round 3 - Early/mid July: 24-0-8 with 0.20 Merit grub control AND/OR liquid broadleaf
    Round 4 - Mid/late August: 32-0-10 and liquid broadleaf
    Lime if needed

    A few questions:

    1. Do you think 4 rounds is sufficient? Would a September fert. be too late in the season for me, providing that temps will get into the 30's at night in October?

    2. How is the best way to price post apps on a proposal? The first time will most likely be a blanket app, but after that I'm thinking blanket apps won't be necessary, so I feel I might not get business if all apps include the price of a blanket post-emerge app. Should I just add X amount of labor expense into the price of a fert. app to account for whatever spot spraying might have to be done, as the chem. cost for spot spraying would be minimal?

    Any help would be appreciated!!

    Patrick
     
  2. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    1. You can not live off a 4 app program
    2. You sound like a granular or dry program.
    3. good luck
     
  3. acculawnsystems

    acculawnsystems LawnSite Member
    Posts: 163

    I would offer a few different options to your customers ranging from 5 up to 7 or 8 apps. You can also include aeration and seeding as one of the steps. Acculawnsystems.com can help you organize your pricing per sq foot. Check out the video explaining the system at acculawnsystems.com. Give consistent bids instantly.
     
  4. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    9 apps is ideal :laugh:
     
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,770

    Can you really do your crabgrass pre emergent in late May? Cold in Maine but...seems late.
    Frost dates:
    http://www.victoryseeds.com/frost/me.html
    Talk to more people...more fert dealers...more university people. Normally your crabgrass control has to be down by the date of the last frost in your town. If it takes 3 weeks to cover all your lawns--you need to start 3 weeks in advance of that. Look for local soil temp average records. Crabgrass control should be down before soil temps hits 55 degrees. Some people say apply crabgrass control about the date of the first mowing--or before. (Northern grasses.)

    Your fall fert and blanket herbicide should be between about 2 weeks before and two weeks after the first frost in the fall. My opinion.
    Remember you are not allowed to apply 2,4-D more than twice per year.
    There is time enough for 5 applications if they are 5 weeks apart.
    Optionals include grub control, lime, seed, aeration with seed, organic fert applications.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    You are correct in the idea of not requiring multiple "Blanket Broadleaf Applications"... Spring application for broadleaf occurs when the ground is warm, moist and the weeds are actively growing... The second application for broadleaf is when the weeds are 'actively' storing carbs for the winter...

    If you're required to play catch-up on weeds all Summer long as this salesman suggests then you are purchasing garbage, in the first place... maybe some spot spraying would be acceptable during summer months, but after a season or 2, spot spraying should be the ONLY application for Spring and Fall... maybe just Fall once you get it right...

    Fall ferts are the most important and the Spring Fert shouldn't be done until the turf has completed it natural period of Spring Root Growth...
    http://turfdisease.osu.edu/turf-disease-updates/benefits-late-fall-fertilization

    You have just restated the reason why the landscape industry is run according to selling products NOT caring for turf... another excellent example as to why foolishness reigns with the culture of cool season grasses,,, and it all starts with a sales pitch... :)
     
  7. Northern Turf Man

    Northern Turf Man LawnSite Member
    Posts: 53

    Thanks for the input guys. Since I'm just starting out, I really appreciate the guidance!

    RigglePLC - I realize its a bit late, but the big reason for it is because sometimes we still have a bit of snow on the ground by then and things are still quite soggy, as well as spring cleanups sometimes go into late May. I will do some more research on spring soil temps in the area as well.

    Smallaxe - Since in theory one blanket app should take care of most weeds along with proper maintenance, how might I go about setting that up on a proposal? If I "quote" for blanket apps for both fall and spring, I feel like my bids will be considerably higher than others. Any suggestions?
     
  8. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961


    My two cents it the client does not really care if it is a blanket or spot treatment.
    It take time to get a yard into the condition where spot are needed. When that time comes you do it to save money and use less herbicides.

    The client wants the problem solved for a fair price. They do not need those kinds of details in your quote

    Do not sell price, sell quality lawn
     
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    Deukster is correct in that it doesn't matter what you're doing on your visits, as long as you're doing the right thing...

    There's nothing wrong with contracting 4 visits... if all you do is spot spray the odd weed, add a little seed here or there and look at the soil moisture during a midsummer visit,,, then so be it...
    no one benefits from an unnecessary blanket app of broadleaf or anything else that is unnecessary...
     
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,770

    Remember dandelions will be at their maximum yellow bloom about the date of the first mowing. Veronica also if you have it in your area. Chickweed and wild garlic also prominent. Violets, creeping charlie, and Oxalis appear a few weeks later--about when the temp first hits 80.
    When the temps start hitting about 85 (if at all), then spurge, mallow, purslane, crabgrass and other summer annuals appear, (plus nutsedge).
    When temps cool off in the fall--I estimate about highs of 65--then new dandelions, veronica, chickweed, henbit and the winter annuals appear.

    I never did much spot spraying. It takes almost as much time as blanket spraying--and there is always the chance that you will not see small weeds, and thereby miss them.
     

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