Drought stress and Apps

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Laner, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. Laner

    Laner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    My area hasn't had a drop of rain for over 3 weeks! We are dry...grass is brown (dormant) unless it is shaded, then it is green but not growing much. I typically don't do any apps when lawns are this dry/dormant. I have seen many competitors doing apps in the last 2 weeks. With these conditions how many of you would be doing apps? What type of app and how effective are the apps? What precautions do you take when the lawns are this dry?
  2. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    We contact the customer.............notify them of the drought conditions...........skip the application.! This is our loss!!! This is why we try not to accept non irrigated lawns for weed control. We will discourage customers in taking apps that are not irrigated. Too many conditional factors that limit the herbicide's..and fertilizers.!!
  3. turfsurfer

    turfsurfer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 364

    Really!! So let's say you have 1000 customers and an average price of $55. You are willing to just drop $55,000 (or more) in revenue because conditions are dry? Do you also not personally take in any nutrients (fast) when you aren't feeling well? How about just explaining to the customers that you will be putting down high slow release nitrogen. this nitrogen will just sit there and slowly keep the lawn fed as you get rain events thereby setting the grass up for a great recovery once the dry spell is over. I have fertilized lawns that looked like a desert only to have these lawns be the first to look fantastic once the high temps and drought went away.
    I do agree that you have to be careful with herbicides during hot dry spells and that there effectiveness depends on actively growing weeds with sufficient ground moisture.
  4. sedge

    sedge LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 34,764

    this one is a duh......
  5. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,001

    You shouldn't have any problems applying fertilizer that is high in organic matter during drought. The nutrients will release when conditions allow and you are improving the soil at the same time. A great lawn will follow.
  6. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    Please don't get me wrong, as when I mentioned skip the app, I don't mean skip it completely and not do it, rather than delay the app until more rain is emminant.
    The loss of income associated with the delay of the app is regained later! Back in late June, we went through a month and a half of solid drought with 110 degree heat. We skipped a round 4 application until later notice. The customers that did have irrigation were applied but those without water didn't get the round 4. After the rains regained, the delayed customers were caught back up with their fert program.
    We use slow release ferts but not any type of XCU's as the cost isn't productive here.
    So dont get me wrong, my response was a bit vague as that is how we had to do it this season. I can understand that with a 1,000 customers at 55.oo each will be a hit to the midsection as income lost.........but temporary!! I will not treat unirrigated lawns here as the customer mindset is depending on the applicator to have the magic wand when things go sour and the grass burns out. You know what I mean!!! We don't take the chances!! Herbicides are definately a no--no!!!
    Apologize for not being more detailed.
  7. Laner

    Laner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    In the past we have had some dry summer months that we delayed the apps until we started receiving enough moisture to bring the grass back from dormant stage. We have seen good results operating in this manner, but I am always looking for new methods/practices to improve my customer's lawns.
    We don't have many that are irrigated here, so not taking on customers that don't have irrigation would be a very career limiting move.
    Thanks to everyone for your help.
    It appears my rain dance over the weekend (not a pretty sight) has brought us some very much needed rain! Looks to keep it up through part of the day tomorrow. This should be enough to get things back going again and allow me to continue my apps.

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