Liquid fertilizer how can it be better?

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by 1grnlwn, Feb 25, 2002.

  1. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,261

    Ok I know the applicators advantages for using liquid applications. But does anyone really think that liquid fertilizers are better for the turf? I offer both but only use liquid for weed and feed applications. When I do weed and feed I use 50% slow release liquid at a rate of about 1/5 lb N per K. Any more and I would not be cost effective. Liq slow is really expensive. Most people around here use urea and tell the customer oh yea its slow release( insert largest corp here) . Does foliar applied quick release even get to the roots? I am trying to get my towns sports fields and the super is convinced that that liquid stuff is the way to go. Am I going to have to wait till they kill the turf before I get my shot? How many use slow liquids and at what rate? How many use fast release and at what rate? My guess is no matter what I tell this guy I am not going to change his mind. I would like to learn more about liguid though.

    Mark
     
  2. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,261

    Ok. So everybody is using urea in their liquid and don't want to talk about it. Shamefull.
     
  3. OBRYANMAINT

    OBRYANMAINT LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 555

    I am definately not an expert.....but as i would understand it you cannot be very cost effective at all with fert and liquid in a residental setting.........now it may be a bit different on a golf course where you have more control of the turf via irrigation, topdressing, etc
     
  4. mowing king

    mowing king LawnSite Member
    from ct
    Posts: 85

    the benfit of liquids over gran is folier absorbtion and liquid goes deeper into the ground. The gran sits and waits for water,while the liquid gets into the leaf of the plant and then gets wash in with water. liquid fert will produce a deeper root system because the food goes into the soil and does not sit ontop of the soil like granular. The sources for slow release come from meth-urea or bluechip. Urea works fine on 6 week cycles with iron.
     
  5. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 472

    lawnking says:

    "liquid fert will produce a deeper root system because the food goes into the soil and does not sit ontop of the soil like granular."


    How does liquid fert produce deeper roots? Granular must be broken down by weather, time and microbes in the top layer of soil. At that point granular fert is in solution like liquid fert and available for root uptake. The grass will not know the difference in the source of nutrients.
     
  6. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,261

    In thick turf a liquid fert run will not reach the soil anyway. It would take a rain or irrigation to wash the residual fert off of the leaves to the soil. Or a lawn cutting.

    Mark
     
  7. mowing king

    mowing king LawnSite Member
    from ct
    Posts: 85

    how does liquid fert get deeper into the soil? Try this test. Get two thick sponges. Place some granular fert on the sponge and then put some liquid fert with dye in it on the other sponge. then pour equal amounts of water on each. you will see the liquid fert go down into the sponge and the granular fert just sit there.

    Grass and soil is like the sponge. Try it and you will see. We have our own test plots and can prove this. Or you can do your own test. you need to pull core and measure the weight and length of the roots.

    they may tell you all nutrients are the same but how they move into the rootrones are different. Do your own test. Please don't belive me,do your testing first. But if it didn't work I would not have 2 spray trucks.
     
  8. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 472

    Mowing King,

    I mean no disrespect, but I do not understand. Your example with a sponge sounds like a slight of hand trick. Of coarse a liquid fert with dye will be absorbed into a sponge and granules of fert will just sit on the surface. Now, if you where to sprinkle water on the granules, wouldn't the nutrients in those granules dissolve and be absorbed by the sponge just as deeply as the the granular fert? I do agree that one advantage of liquid fert is foliar absorption. But what about the negative aspect of liquid fert leaching through the root zone before the grass root has a chance to absorb it?
     
  9. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,261

    mowing king

    Do you use slow release N or urea?
     
  10. tremor

    tremor LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,476

    Regardless of source, all nitrogen, once it becomes soluble does move down into the soil profile. N can move down as much as 11 inches or so depending upon soil type & precipitation rates.
    Whether a granular or a liquid, slow release or not. There is absolutely no difference what so ever.
    If a soluble dye were incorporated into a prill of urea (or a slow release) water would move the N & the dye just like the liquid experiment. This assumes that the dye has the same solubility as the Nitrogen source. This is unlikely, but could be duplicated if the fertilizer industry didn't allready know.
    The real question here seems to focus on nitrogen solubility & foliar absorption.
    Foliar feeding of soluble N is a bit of a myth. Peters Professional product management has done a study of their own soluble ferts & found that foliar absorption is very minimal. Precipitation will move the applied N into the soil (if it isn't mowed off or gassed off at hi temps) where it will assume it's ultimate fate. Just like a granular application. They don't talk too much about it because so many people think there are advantages to foliar N. Hey, any N that finds the plant at proper rates will benefit the plant so who cares how much is foliar & how much is root? It's a good thing that the N falls off too. The fate of N sitting on a leaf would be pretty poor were it never moved off & foliar damage could also occurr.
    Mark, we manufacture blends & sell liquid Fertilizers from all-chem to 100% N-Sure (triazone urea) & I sympathize with you. We even supply (insert big co here), & we can & do make any liquid possible for any use as long as the purchaser meets some simple minmum delivery expectations. Most applicators do balk at the prices of true liquid slow N in solution. Examples are Coron & N-Sure but there's another one I can't remember right now. People get confused by the number of copy righted trade names, but there are only 3 manufacturers of raw liquid slow N's in a true solution. There are plenty of liquid blenders. We all find the liquid slow raws are more costly than granular.
    Cheaper is FLUF (flowable liquid urea formaldehyde) but it settles out real bad, still isnt cheap, and is way too insoluble. By the time all the N has become available, most of us will have retired or died. Any economic savings on cost goes right out the window when we refactor the rate increase to adjust for insolubility.
    I wouldn't sell the trizone N-Sure if it didn't work so well. N-Sure is made by Tersenderlo-Kerley. As I said before, there are others but none are as good. When all three are tested using the same methods, N-Sure is the most slow at 73%ASRN (Actual Slow Release Nitrogen). Using the same methods, the other 2 come in around 60-68%. The small increase in cost is made up for by the fact that we (the blender) can use a little less to give you (the applicator) the same amount of slowN. Or we can use the same amount & deliver more controlled release N.
    How the various N sources are converted to a soluble state are going to have to wait for another day since I'm off to the CGK conference in Hartford. Maybe I'll see some of you there.

    Hope this helps.
    Steve
     

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