Mid fall last round app

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by DA Quality Lawn & YS, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Ditta&Sons

    Ditta&Sons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,494

    Here in Ontario, Canada, I'm in a zone 6 and I'm applying a 4-24-24 fall fertilizer in mid October. A 50-0-0 urea fertilizer would be applied in the very early spring. Can anyone explain why a high nitrogen fertilizer would be applied in the fall so close to dormancy and freeze?
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Why would youapply 4-24-24 so close to dormancy and freeze???

    The whole point is that, everyone who understands the life cycle of grass agrees that it is useless to apply anything so close to dormancy and freeze...

    It is also detrimental to apply N fert in early Spring as well... Again, those who understand the life cycle of grass all agree with that as well...

    We must remember that it is the fertilizer salespeople that got everyone high on appling lots of fert all season long,,, NOT the horticulturalist that focusses on the needs of plants... :)
     
  3. Ditta&Sons

    Ditta&Sons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,494

    With the fall fertilizer I am encouraging the root growth, and nutrient storage which still occurs well into November since the ground isn't frozen. I have never applied urea in the spring myself, but have been told it would jump start the green growth in the early spring.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    Jump starting 'green growth' with N is what is detrimental to root growth... Are you trying to tell me that 4-24-24 applied now will be used up b4 the ground freezes???
     
  5. Ditta&Sons

    Ditta&Sons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,494

    Used up? No. Beneficial to root growth and nutrient storage? Yes.
    When did you apply your fall fertilizer? And what were the NPK numbers?
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  6. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,355

    Okay in light of there being an actual need for heavy P-K wouldn't it be safe to assume that healthy vibrant green top growth is needed to assimilate those nutrients?

    Case in point all the lawns I'm still mowing at 3.5" and above are still green and actively growing. Morning frost is common here now. Many lawns in my area have been dropped down in mowing height and put to bed for the year. Many of those look iffy and dingy. :(

    I have one client who used to work in the biz back east and used to be a licensed applicator. Every Fall he requests a crazy scalp low mow then he puts down Scott's Winterizer. Let's just say this lawn is always lagging in the Spring. The other point is he waters 2-3 times a day from June-August and really pours on the Scott's and is hyper green and a total PITA to mow. This lawn is lagging now and dingy.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,925

    Keep in mind...the soil cools off slower than the air. The roots are still assimilating nutrients. Photosynthesis goes on even in cold weather. So the grass gets dark green, roots grow deeper and get fatter as starch is accumulated and stored in the roots for next year. A certain amount of nitrogen is probably stored also.
    Our local professors suggest slow-release nitrogen. Quick release is fine--BUT--heavy rains can result in leaching of the quick-release nitrogen deep into the soil--eventually contaminating ground water.
    I wouldn't add phosphorus, nor much potassium unless a soil test indicated a need. The idea that either will stimulate roots is not supported by most turf professors.
     
  8. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,355

    Makes perfect sense to me. Going to keep as many accounts up around 3.0"+ as I can. My grass stayed fairly green right into December last year. The only time I ever collect clippings is that first low mow down to 2.25" - 2.5" in March during dryier weather range if the turf has been kept on the long side over the winter. This stimulates the crowns and removes the dry dormant turf and the green up is dramatic. I have pics somewhere along with power-raking test strips.

    My premise is the turf needs some stimulation and IF the grass has already been put to bed and mowed down to 2" +/- 0.5" there is NOT as much material to remove. More dry dead dormant grass to get pulled up with high lift blades or better yet G5/G6 gators....all that much better.

    And if the turf is green and vibrant right up till the hard freeze And has more leaf area...the more nutrients and goodies gets to the roots and total plant health.

    Seriously it was much easier to just fix airplanes. Nobody wants to fly in busted aircraft. Not much debate there.

    Not sure if there another business where there is As much disinformation and mass confusion as in lawn care.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    The timing of the root growth and storage fore winter does not happen on a calendar,,, it happens with seasons that include adequate moisture and never happens with drought...

    None of our soils have benefitted from adding P to lawns... in fact most of my lawns are on water and P is actually outlawed... I applied 23-0-6 earlier in the season once the heat of Summer was over, as well as Milorganite in some cases with the 1 pound of N/k goal in mind... our rain supply was rather weak again this season so I didn't get opportunity to add more and now it is too late anyways...
    The ol' wives' tales about NPK being utilized under the snow and that rapid greenup in the Spring with lots of NPK being a good thing,,, is quickly coming into focus as being false...
    So when you think you're doing the right thing it is always best to look a little closer at your cultural practices... :)
     
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    My lawns are back to their winter heights again now too... some are actually long enough to mulch mow back to the point they are standing straight up... the past couple of weeks have given us more rapid growth becuz of so much rain/dew/fog that mowing becomes necessary after the removal of the bulk of pine needles and such...

    I never bag the first mowing of the year, becuz there are no clients here that early in the season... I mulch mow low(not scalp) for 2 reasons... First to get the sun busy, warming the soil and secondly to get a fresh supply of ground cover that will also warm, soak up moisture and feed the microbes that will begin building soil structure ASAP...

    As the soil warms and the roots wake up they began growing deep and wide to get as much moisture and nutrient as they possibly can before they run out of reserves of winter storage carbs... the grass is perfectly fine with everything there is in the thawing soil,,, which is why I never think about fertilizing until after the second mowing or so...

    The reason there tends to be so much confusion about grass care because the fert salesmen have build up a multitude of false notions which people believe "Benefits" the grass... learning the life-cycle of the grass leads one to understand that "Quick Spring Greenup" is absolutely unhealthy for the grass... even the Extension Offices that STILL acknowledge 'verti-cutting/dethatching won't acknowledge it for Springtime... :)
     

Share This Page