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Hybrid Bermuda experts

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by ThreeWide, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,116

    I'd like to open a theory-type discussion on late season color.

    Most of the hybrids I deal with are 419, so let's keep that as the subject cultivar.

    What have you found to be the secret to maintaining late season color right up until the first frost? You see that sports field managers at the major universities do a good job with this. At UGA's Sanford Stadium for example, they have not overseeded with rye but the turf still looks great. (I saw it in person last weekend)

    Common practice is to not apply more than miniscule amounts of N after mid-September, so let's throw that out.

    I manage one lawn in particular that had a granular application of Fe back in August. That lawn is holding its color very well to this point.

    Another lawn I manage was treated with liquid Fe in September. However with this lawn I've noticed less response from that treatment. Granted, the soil condition of these are not yet optimal since I took these over only a few months ago. Soil tests were recently completed. I suspect that with the now known pH issue, the Fe application was not as effective. Both of these received the high potassium application back in September as well.

    Is the secret really Fe? Or is there some other trick to holding the color later in the season?

    I'd like to know if any studies have been done on this.
  2. I would apply sop 3-5 weeks before first killing frost!

    Apply liquid cheleted iron after last mowing but before the killing frost! If too early, you'll mow off the green turf. My experience is on vamont bermundagrass, a cold hardy common bermunda.
  3. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,116

    I was told once that applying iron just prior to a frost would cause the turf to turn black.

    Any truth to that?
  4. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956

    Ferrous Sulfate will turn any turf Black and stunt it if applied too heavy. Potassium-nite 13.75-0-46 is a quick response that might work at 1 lbs K per M. However the days are shorter and 419 needs a lot of Orange light that we are not getting this time of year. It is the light factor not air temp that causes the slow down in growth. Soil Temp of course plays a big part also.

    BTW Freeze is not a factor in my area.
  5. I agree with ric, don't over apply fe
  6. quiet

    quiet LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 720

    Great question. And now there's a lot of variables in play, too. Soil temp decreasing somewhat, sunlight decreasing rapidly, but this year for us in TX, temps still warm with above normal temps throughout all of October - 90 today, 89 yesteday, 92 Tuesday.

    Had to do an "emergency Ironite" application to lawn in late August, now it's in mid-May form - just beautiful color. Did the same with another lawn 3 weeks ago, but not seeing the same response. But I've been foolin' around with cut heights on this one, back down to 2" from 2.25" all summer (it was starting to get a matted look from the Novex fert applications earlier this year).

    Was tempted to try Ammonium sulfate, but that seems way too radical this time of the year.

    Where's SWD? He needs to join in on this discussion!
  7. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,116

    Not to divert the subject here...but I forgot to mention cutting height. I think this is also a factor.

    The lawns I manage are around 1 1/8 inches in height. Quiet, if you are at the 2" level or above, you might not retain color as long. You are getting less sunlight on the crown area.

    At least that is my belief.

    FWIW, our local 4 inch soil temp is 67 degrees.
  8. greenerpastures

    greenerpastures LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    Don't overlook the obvious. August was the coolest on record here. Late Sept. had temps in upper 40's. Last two weeks have been mid 90's and very dry. My 419 fields are "confused". The mower guys tend to back off the mowing from every other day when the grass slowed in Sept.---Growth conditions picked back up, and the mowers and irrigators didn't. 419 isn't very forgiving to this situation. Air temps do effect growth rate--high and low----, it is the basis for many crop growth models, albeit soil temps are crucial as well. Best 419 lawns here are those who maintained a rigorous mowing and watering schedule.

    BTW - I have common and 419 ballfields in the same complex. Common looks great, 419 is lacking -----and Ric's light spectrum comments are going to make me dig out the old college textbooks.
  9. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,956


    Orange Light is the first morning light that hits as the sun starts to rise. It has been prove to be the best light of the day for many plants including most turf and specially Bermuda.

    My area is equal to Brownsville Texas in climate. Therefore I don't see the air temp difference that you do in the Dallas area. BTW I have a niece who is married to a landscaper in the Dallas area. Gary Who's last name I can't remember is a college grad in landscape design and seems to be very successful. My niece is in the finance business and travels a lot. Of course Dallas is the money capital as far as the Finance business goes.
  10. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,116

    That explains why one of my properties has difficulties in the area that gets only late morning and afternoon sun.

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