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The Perfect Lawn

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Smallaxe, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 700

    So, what you're saying is that someone who fertilizes every 6 weeks, waters every other day, and has a beautiful lawn, has unhealthy dependant turf? Please enlighten us!

    Who claims to follow scientific understanding of botanical principles? Maybe you do but that doesn't mean that everyone else will. THE LABEL IS THE LAW! If someone is following rules and regulations that were passed into law but are different than what the extension offices are recommending, that means that they're wrong? Again, please enlighten us!

    This quote is completely ridiculous! You need money as well, that's why you do this, correct? EVERYONE in this industry needs money or they wouldn't be doing it - yourself included. Unless of course, you work for free! Do you?

    I follow a 6 step program (5 fertilizer applications - 2 that include Dimension, 1 that includes Allectus, 1 Organic fertilizer, and 1 "Winterizer" Fertilizer) where I put down 1lb. of Nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. per application, for a max of 5lbs. per season. I apply these at 6 week intervals and follow it up in the fall with my last application, which is a granular dolomitic limestone. At no time during the year, do I exceed the specifications on the label. I also use no weed control and pluck those as I go. I also use no fungicides. My lawn is the best one in my entire neighborhood, doesn't have a single weed, the neighbors love it and always comment that it looks beautiful. How is that unhealthy? Is it because my lawn is "dependent" on fertilizer to feed it? Like any living thing, food is required at regular intervals to keep it's life sustainable. You couldn't go for months at a time without food, correct?

    There is no "Perfect" lawn! While it's something that we all want to achieve, it's simply impossible to do. Mother Nature holds the cards and she'll ALWAYS throw something at you, whether it's heavy rains, high intense heat, drought, insects, fungus, etc.... That doesn't mean that we can't get a beautiful lawn that has some small issues during the season.

    If we followed what the Extension services always tout, we'd all have weed infested prairies that require nothing. I've seen a lot of our extension service recommendations and some of them are quite frankly, not realistic. Besides, who's to say that what the Extension service touts, is the Gospel Truth?

    By the way, it's almost impossible to get a strand of healthy, self-sufficient independant turf turf that's not dependent upon food for it to live. If you can provide pictures of a beautiful lawn by someone who's doing the bare minimum, please post them up!
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012
  2. Grasssales2001

    Grasssales2001 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 111

    Actually,plants produce their on food through a process called photosynthesis. Take a day off from cutting grass and spend the day observing nature. You would be suprised what you might learn.
  3. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 700

    I know about Photosynthesis and understand it very well. However, how does that translate to beautiful, healthy grass without any fertilizer whatsoever?
  4. Grasssales2001

    Grasssales2001 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 111

    How much of the 5 lbs of N is actually taken up by the plant? Have you ever charted the growth of your turf? When is it most actively growing? When is it dormant? Could you get the same results with less N? If you irrigate, have you ever had your water tested?Do you mulch your clippings?
  5. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 700

    I had my soil tested for the PH Level last year and it came back at 6.2, slightly lower than the 6.5 - 7.0 that the experts recommend. Thus, roughly 18% of my fertilizer is wasted and 82% is going to the grass. After I apply another limestone application this fall, I'll be getting it checked again next summer and I expect the PH to raise into the proper area, thus more of the fertilizer's nutrients will be taken in.

    I've never charted the growth of the lawn but I do know for sure that it grows the best in the spring, followed by a slowdown in the summer, and then it picks up again in the fall - but not as much when compared to the spring growth. Most of the "experts" say that a cool season mix of Perennial Ryegrass & Kentucky Bluegrass will do well with 3.5lbs - 4.5lbs. of Nitrogen per season. I'm at 5lbs. right now so I'm slightly higher. The Nitrogen does get used up, as does the Potassium and the Iron, so I'm not too worried about it. I do use Fertilizers with 0% Phosphorus (does not get used by mature plants and thus sits in the soil) so I'm not contributing to contaminating the soil in that area. I could not get by with less Nitrogen during the season as I can always tell by that 5 - 6 week mark that it's beginning to starve and the color fades.

    I do have an irrigation system and vary my watering to coincide with what the turf needs. My town has a watering ban from April 1st - September 30th and I can only water on even numbered days. In the spring, I didn't really need to water at all. Once I began to water, it was 15 minutes per zone every other day and then I increased a few times by 15 minutes as the temps went up and the rain disappeared. Currently I'm at 1 hour per zone every other day. I have town water so I do not have it tested. However, I feel that if it's good enough to drink, I'm sure it's not going to hurt the lawn.

    I do mulch my clippings and I'm a firm believer in mulching. My lawn is not perfect (none of them are) but it's very good and I get compliments on it all the time.
  6. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,583

    Our organic based cool season programs do very well with 3.5lbs N.
  7. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,365

    Hmmm, our lawns have been doing quite well with 2.5# N the last 3 years. Maybe 4.

    Applied one time............
  8. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 700

    I'm a firm believer that organic based Fertilizers work awesome. I've seen them in action and I actually use one during the season. However, I'm not fully behind the Organic based weed control (Corn Gluten), Organic based Insect control (Garlic Barrier), and the Organic based Grub Control (Milky Spore). I've seen them in action first hand and it's something that I'm not impressed with. I've also sat through multiple classes over the years that were put on by U-Mass Amherst and Pat Vittum, Randy Prostek, and others and they're all in agreement that while those products may work somewhat, they won't work much to meet your customer's expectations.

    I'm not against Organic controls, it's just that I don't see them living up to my expectations in trying to create a beautiful lawn (with the exception of the Organic based fertilizers).
  9. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 700

    So, you're only fertilizing one time per season at 2.5lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.? What kind of product are you using?
  10. Grasssales2001

    Grasssales2001 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 111

    I deal with warm season grasses. But what if I told you sod could be grown from seed to a sell-able state with 3#'s of N. It takes approx. 15 months.

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