Spring N App and Timing

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Smallaxe, Mar 27, 2012.

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  1. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    I can't find the thread in which I was challenged on the 'timing' of spring ferts and how 'shoot growth' occurred at the expense of the roots...

    So I am answering it here... :)

    http://turfdisease.osu.edu/turf-disease-updates/benefits-late-fall-fertilization

    * "The true advantage that late-season fertilization provides to turfgrass root growth is realized during the following spring. It has been shown that the root growth of turf fertilized during the late-winter/early spring declines soon after nitrogen application (3 & 5). Conversely, turf fertilized using the late- season concept becomes green early and rapidly, without the need for an early spring nitrogen application, and root growth continues at a maximum rate. It appears that the excessive shoot growth encouraged by early spring nitrogen applications utilizes carbohydrates that may otherwise be used for growing roots."

    This is actually a very good article that looks at the life cycle of turf grass and gives an opportunity to enhace the growth of the turf... :)
     
  2. Greenery

    Greenery LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 512

    The more energy the grass plant uses towards shoot growth the less available energy it has for root growth. N apps promote shoot growth.

    That's how I see it at least.
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  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    What the article is saying is that,,, Early Spring fertilization causes undesireable shoot growth, which in turns diminishes healthy root growth...

    Are you saying that you agree or disagree with that strategy?
     
  4. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,466

    Most lawns don't need the N,lawn companies put it down to show the customer they are doing their job. Better of putting lime down to green it up.
     
  5. Greenery

    Greenery LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 512

    I agree.

    I wouldn't think there would be too many that disagree.

    The obvious problem is that the volume driven company's need to get going as soon as they can to get through there rounds.

    Their employees are trained in this method, then they leave and start their company and they use what they learned at company X.

    The customers are so accustomed to the early ferts that they also believe that's how it should be done.

    We have new customers every spring call wondering why we aren't there the minute the snow melts. (even though they were explained the timing of our apps)

    All you can do is try to educate the customer.
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  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    It's True... Volume driven companies, have to do, what they have to do... Customers believe all kinds of funny ideas becuz of years of seeing things happen a certain way, kind of like tradition...

    I believe it is important we not let 'tradition', be the 'science' that guides our actions and beliefs about lawncare... Thanks for the clarification... :)
     
  7. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 386

    I think this is probably the #1 thing that most people outside the pros don't know. There's plenty of N down there in almost every case and spring growth is already enough, adding a spring app just makes the mowing harder to keep up with and summer heat more difficult to tolerate.
     
  8. Greenery

    Greenery LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 512

    Correct, but why do do many "pros" apply early N apps?

    Smallaxe- where is your challenger I am interested in hearing the other side of the discussion.
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  9. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 386

    Depending upon the region, many places are not supposed to put down a winter app or late fall app, in those cases they may want some N. But imo, it's mostly because it doesn't HURT the APPEARANCE of the lawn, and for a while makes it look thicker and nice.
     
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,912

    I am dubious, about the idea that spring nitrogen damages the grass in some way. Naturally you guys that mow it--would like to avoid excessive growth. But weather is usually cool, excessive growth is more likely to occur in late summer when soil and air temps are high and the lawn has just been fertilized for fall...and there is 4 days of steady rain. Hayfield!
     
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