Spraying SOP? (Riggle, Green Doctor, any others)

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by Toro 44, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,967

    Not to start trouble, but corn farmers do not worry about how green their corn leaves are or how it holds up to being mowed regularly. Neither do wheat farmers. As you said, yield of harvestable crop is the main point. I consider nutrient recommendations as base guidelines that may be added or subtracted from based on observation of response to applications. Each site or lawn can be different in terms of soil or microclimate. Lucky you if all the lawns you treat are on exactly the same soil, same humidity, same temperatures, same light levels.

    To the OP, what does your soil tests say concerning detectable potassium in the soil? No real advantage to boosting potassium levels too high. Clay soils tend to retain everything applied to it. Calcium levels, magnesium levels? How acidic are we talking about? A soil with a pH of 5.5 or lower is a candidate for lime. Dolomite lime is for soils that are also magnesium deficient. Calcium lime is for soils that have too much magnesium. A pH of 6.0 is something I would leave well enough alone. Adding calcium and sulfur to that involves gypsum.
     
  2. turfmd101

    turfmd101 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,278

    Sorry... I thought that was basic common knowledge. Simply having to be mentioned
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  3. Toro 44

    Toro 44 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    I think Green Doctor and Ric are probably the only ones well known here who spray at those volumes.

    Skipster and Turfmd101 make good points. I think this is where tissue testing really outshines soil testing. Tissue testing lets you know what is actually in the plant. However, the tissue testing seems more intensive from a labor and cost perspective. I already go to great lengths to do soil sampling on all my properties. I have not waded into the tissue testing world yet.

    I really like granular for my nutritional products. SOP is a nice product because it has sulfate sulfur which is immediately available and has a PH neutral soil reaction. I use micro nutrient packages when I blanket spray.

    My only looking for more liquid options for the sake of convenience. Helena Chemical has some nice liquid packages that can be sprayed at low volumes because of their very low salt index (Coron and Potassium carbonate). The only issue is cost.

    As far as Pennsylvania soils and K? I can only speak for the southeast region. Most soil tests from untreated turf come back having adequate K levels. I find deficiencies when a lawn has been treated with high N low K i.e. Scotts Turf builder, Tru-green, other local competitors. Years of high N with no attention to K seems to lead to deficiency in K.

    So far I have had good results with applying about a 2:1 ratio of N:K. When I've been treating for a while, the K level is generally good, and the lawn is improved.

    Core aeration is a must. I do a lot of that. In fact, I feel that this is a limiting factor in how many customers I can care for. I need to be able to do aeration on almost everyone around that time of year.

    I've also tried other things to help make existing nutrients available (humic, fulvic acids, micro-organisms). I also use granular fertilizer blends with bio-solids safe for food production. My goal to stimulate microbial activity.

    The lawns seem to like my approach. I keep growing every year because my customers talk about my service. I'm just always looking for ways to improve.
     
  4. Toro 44

    Toro 44 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155


    Soils are typically acidic, but again, this is usually on lawns that have been treated for years (urea and ammonium nitrate). Untreated lawns usually have a PH around 6.5. I've seen it as low as 4.5. Some lawns are on a program of aeration and 50lb of lime per 1,000 annually until the numbers come up. And it works.

    And yes, I use a lot of dolomitic lime. Typically calcium and magnesium are deficient. Sometimes just calcium. Then I may just use calcitic lime.

    And we do not have all clay. I should have been more specific. There is a fair bit of clay, but there is also sand and loam. We really actually have good soil composition.

    I'm not sure if it makes a difference, but the soil labs I use give general recommendations depending on the crop specified (KBG, TTTF, red, chewing, fine fescues etc). Of course it's not gospel, but it certainly is better than showing up and just guessing what the lawn has available to it. I've seen very good results by factoring soil test results, especially when it comes to PH.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  5. turfmd101

    turfmd101 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,278

    Sorry... I thought that was basic common knowledge. Simply having to be mentioned what you mentioned is to simplistic to understand.

    I was more interested in your opinion on individual turfgrass cultivars. Not the simple understanding of soil tests and the presence of nutrients verses the soils ability to let them go or what nutrients need applied based on low deficiencies. Rather, within a certain cultivar, each individual strand of any particular cultivar to utilize certain nutrient quantities for optimization of their performance.

    IE; two same turf varieties neighboring each other in the same soil conditions. One is 10 years old and one is 1 year old. I believe their is a difference in their gene structure that will disallow the same nutritional needs. Especially depending on the proper or improper cultural practices performed over long periods of time. For everything has an age life. The older things get and based upon how they are treated for will greatly determine their age life expectancy as well as nutritional dependencies. Not just what's available. Structural desiccation of functional gene structure.
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    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  6. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,967

    If what you are doing works, no need to change or seek anything different. The fact that you are not winging it and instead looking at soil tests is already light years ahead. I have my soil testing done by a service out of state. Only way to get results within 10 business days including bases, micronutrients, salt levels, in addition to NPK and pH. The results are written assuming that you know what you are looking at.
     
  7. turfmd101

    turfmd101 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,278

    There is also a threshold level for having too much P in the soil. The over abundance of locked up P in the soil will also cause the P to tie up other nutrients in the soil making these other nutrients UN available for plant uptake.

    On a side note.
    There is a blend available and when used at half rate during summer will help relieve stress and be cost effective.

    A 12-2-14 or by now due to P regulations a 12-0-14 that is 70% slow N & 70% slow K. 2% chlorine and a full minor package. With SOP.
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  8. Toro 44

    Toro 44 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    Are you talking about the Helena product?

    My price sheet shows a 14-2-14 + micros 60% crn. Maybe the one you are thinking of.

    I hear you on over applying P. My main concern is getting enough non-MOP K down in proportion to my N.
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  9. Toro 44

    Toro 44 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    Thank you for the vote of confidence. I use A&L labs. Was introduced to them when i needed some environmental testing done. They came highly recommended by Penn State, and i have not been disappointed. I really like the emailed reports.
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  10. turfmd101

    turfmd101 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,278

    Lesco was offering the 12-2-14 blend. It was also a Florida standard skew#. The bag is labeled as landscape & ornamental but can be applied to turf. It's great for shady areas since turfgrass is not partial to growing in the shade. It will also increase density in the shade over time because it promotes more horizontal than lateral growth. I believe there is also a 8-2-14 with the same slow release of N & P. Both blends were surfer coated for time release. You can Google lesco with the numbered analysis and get labels.
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