granular late fall fert - need advice

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by americanlawn, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    Green

    I love to blend a liquid mix for many reasons. Cost of Materials and Response being the main reasons I can give my customers more for their money using Liquids. But the new Politically Correct Tree Hugger Laws have tied my hands and making it Illegal to apply Liquid Fert.

    For the above reason I am trying to redirect the aim of my company to structural pest control and Niche Markets. But I am afraid I am too well known for L&O work and might not be able to get away from it.
     
  2. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,062

    The crunchy granola laws were apparently written by the sellers and manufacturers of coated urea. That's what is permitted in Florida. Although, if I were concerned with runoff and what is best for soil conditions, coated urea would not be my ideal nitrogen source or method of application. Does not happen on a consistent or predictable basis, but it does rain hard where I am at at least twice a year. I think I manage movement of fertilizer off site much better by applying fractional rates as liquids. 1/4 lb of N from granules is hard to apply evenly, might as well not fertilize at all. Not hard to spray 1/4 lb of N and get excellent turf response.
     
  3. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,849

    212 soil tests results in our market (central Iowa) regarding soil nutrient deficiencies:

    A) "loam" soils lacked:
    1) Nitrogen only

    B) "clay" soils lacked:

    1) iron
    2) manganese
    3) sulfur
    4) boron
    5) copper
    6) calcium
    7) molybdenum, plus 3 or 4 other micro nutrients..... depending

    Bottom line, neither of the 2 soil types lacked P or K, yet the high pH (subsoils) lacked MANY micro's. Weird.

    Wondering how many of these "special nutrients" one can "find in a bag" at Wal Mart or from Scotts, etc??. Fact is -- very few "professional" companies offer all these needed nutrients. Am I wrong?....Don't think so. Weird, ain't it? Even cobalt, nickel, and chlorine have their place regarding poor soils. my 2 cents
     
  4. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,062

    That is why I think there is a place for chelated micronutrient blends in lawn care. Especially when the soil test looks like your typical clay soil result.

    I can divide my test results into 3 typical scenarios:

    Clay soil inland, far from the beach

    pH less than 6
    calcium
    magnesium
    potassium
    iron
    manganese
    copper
    zinc
    sulfur
    boron

    Nitrogen is not lacking due to misuse of high N fertilizers in an attempt to make things grow.
    Phosphorus is seldom lacking due to misuse of 16-15-15, 10-30-10 or 10-20-20

    Clay soil with contamination by coral construction materials

    pH over 7
    potassium
    magnesium
    iron
    manganese
    copper
    zinc
    sulfur
    boron
    molybdenum
    excessive calcium, chlorides, and sodium
    excessive phosphorus, again misuse of high P fertilizers because soil is poor.

    Sandy soil with contamination by clay imported from the inland.

    pH over 7
    potassium
    nitrogen
    iron
    manganese
    copper
    zinc
    sulfur
    boron
    molybdenum
    excessive calcium, chlorides, and sodium aggravated by clay not allowing the salts to be leached.
    excessive phosphorus, again misuse of high P fertilizers because soil is poor.

    Each of these conditions requires a different program in order to have healthy turf and ornamentals.
     
  5. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956

    excessive calcium, chlorides, and sodium aggravated by clay not allowing the salts to be leached.


    Green

    I do several properties that get Salt water spray. I find Sulfur 0-0-0-90 releases Sodium from our calcareous sandy soil. Of course with a parenting material of coral, our sand is a natural 9.5 pH. 10 pounds of sulfur will lower thousand sq ft one point of pH.

    Many years ago I read a study that I only remember half of. It basically said the ratio of N to K effected release or soil binding of P. the higher K is applied the more P released from the soil. While higher N to K bound P. This effects my area because to this day Rock Phosphate has been strip mined from my area and shipped all over the world since the 1880's. BTW there is also a Dolomite pit just south of town. I think you are getting the picture of what I deal with.


    Larry

    I have a hard time believing your soil is not lacking in Potassium. Potassium is a luxury element that most plants (turf) up take everything that is available. Potassium readily leaches from the soil. Of course Scott uses very little Potassium because Potassium doesn't express a visible response. That mean you can't see what potassium does for the Plant. But Potassium causes root Extension or Deep Roots. Deep Roots are very important to plants during stressed times like drought or disease. BTW I tried to use laymen terms for you, like I would my uneducated customer.


    ..
     
  6. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,062

    I do not get too much salt spray in most areas. The problem occurs when entire neighborhoods are build on top of crushed coral. This is done because it is far cheaper than basaltic road base and it is easier to compact to engineering standards.

    I use sulfur and food grade citric acid. In some cases, the soil already has high sulfur. So synthetic acids like citric acid give me a better response.
     
  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956

    Green

    The problem is Sulfur, vinegar or Citric acid are only temporary solutions

    I tell my customers with Gardenias to put one cup of Food grade white Vinegar in a gallon of water and pour it on the base of the Gardenia once a week to lower pH. Gardenias like a pH of 5.5 and By treating with Vinegar you are fooling the Plant into thinking it is in a Rich loam soil. The problem is once you stop the weekly treatment the Gardenia turn back Yellow and stop flowering.

    Of course with a alkaline soil I am forever fighting soil locked nutrients which reminds of a thing that happened to me. A new customer was unhappy with a Big Box operation who even had their expert pull soil samples. The pH was super high yet they had pounded the lawn with tons of non acid forming fertilizer. I read there soil test and saw the pH reading. I then pounded the yard with several sulfur application and unlock enough nutrients to make the customer very happy. Of course I must always use acid forming fertilizers.
     
  8. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,062

    No such thing as a one time fix or permanent solution. Not unless someone is willing to drop the cash. Although most of my pH problems are caused by "landscapers". The red clay that is retaining the salt and alkalinity was usually not there to begin with, they brought it there or added more red clay on top of it. The right thing to do would be to excavate out most of the coral and clay, replacing it with a mix of washed sand and compost for lawns, fine volcanic cinders with compost for planter beds. I know this works because I had one landscape re done in this manner and no more problems getting plants to grow. It is easier to change the chemistry of sand, as you have it in your parts than red clay, which is what I usually run into.

    Regarding fertilizers, this is why I am not impressed with anything consisting of slow release urea. It fails to address the pH issue and therefore requires more nitrogen applied to get the same response. Which is rather stupid on the part of the granola eaters to mandate usage of slow release urea and nothing else if their goal was to reduce fertilizer leaching and run off. I do not think properly used ammonium sulfate runs off. Now if someone were to start coating ammonium sulfate to make that slow release, I would be a buyer. No such thing, so my fertilizer applications are low rate and frequent.
     
  9. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    Green

    Urea has never been a good acid forming product. it might form a little acid but not much. Lebanon fertilizer makes a Coated Ammonium Sulfate slow release. Only Helena Chemical Carries it in my area. You might not be able get in your area.

    Builders Here. Final fill & grade they are using Builders Sand or cheap fill dirt. I never could understand not paying an extra $ 200 to use good top soil on a Million dollar home. But it is behind the walls for under the ground and GC only cares about making an extra buck. I call it Plastic Pipe leading up to Gold Faucets.




    Larry

    I am still looking for an answer about Potassium in Iowa.
     
  10. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,849

    Ric, you are on my ignore list (due to all your lawnsite.com violations). Do everybody a favor --- quit posting on my threads until you abide by the rules and treat folks like they should be treated. Common sense. Common courtesy. Nuf said. :hammerhead:
     

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