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Fall Fertilizer Application - During a Drought

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by lawnguru wannabe, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. lawnguru wannabe

    lawnguru wannabe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    As with most areas of the country, we haven't had any real rain in a couple months. My grass is brown. Does it still pay to put down the fall fertilizer application?

    Also, I usually do an application of spraying 2-4D this time of year too...Well, usually earlier but the lawn was stressed with the limited amount of rain, should I hold off on doing that till the spring now?


  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,705

    Still dry where you are? Its weather--ship weather happens. I would go ahead, but be sure to be prepared for your customers to holler--some of them will not be happy. Offer to broadcast seed. Spray weeds too--same problem. Perennial weeds like violets, ground ivy, and dandelions will be controlled (slowly). You just have to switch to a slow release nitrogen product, and explain to your customers that it will probably rain within 3 weeks. The fertilizer will then go to work and stimulate the grass to thicken and winterize it for quick greenup in spring. Be sure to explain how you are using a special fertilizer blended by your dealer to suit your city's drought situation. (neither Scotts nor your competition has this formula, of course.) Be sure to offer a refund or (redo in fall or spring) if the grass doesn't look good enough to satisfy the customer by December first. Be sure to use fear--a powerful motivating factor. Without proper care in fall, the customer may need a whole lawn resod in spring. And mention the approximate price. And the chance for crabgrass. In any case, be prepared to resod or reseed some lawns in spring.
  3. lawnguru wannabe

    lawnguru wannabe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    yes, very dry. we haven't had a measurable rain in i bet three months. if i put that winterizer fertilizer down, when the grass is dormant/brown, and we don't get any rain....will that have a negative impact, or not work at all for that matter? also, what if i do put some down now....and we do get some rain...does the fact that the grass has gone into dormancy have an impact on it?

    as far as spraying, i'm gathering that it's probably a no go as far as this year is concerned with the stress that the grass has gone through?
  4. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,705

    Spraying the weeds does not stress the grass--in my opinion. And besides you have mainly weeds plus the dead brown leaf blades of dormant grass. If its perennial rye, it may be dead. Be ready to take advantage of the business opportunities and serve your customers (and new sales opportunities), by passing out brochures or direct mail. You can aerate and seed, or power rake and seed--either this fall or spring.
  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    It is impossible to find the definitive results of whether squirt&fert has negative effects on stressed grasses,,, but I watched the TGCL wannabees, trash a non-irrigated lawn this year... I have seen it happen over and over again in the past number of years, but try getting a straight answer out of the universty research teams...

    If it isn't the squirt&fert... then what is it, that trashed this turf so quickly??? :)
  6. lawnguru wannabe

    lawnguru wannabe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    Well, it's supposed to rain this Saturday (on my wedding day...hasn't rained in three months and now it's going to rain on the day we're getting married. go figure! :) ), so I'm hopefully going to put down fall fertilizer sometime between now and then. As far as spraying....On the fence with that. I still see weeds that are green, but is it too late to spray....Are most of the weeds going dormant right now...Would I be better off waiting till spring?

    Thanks guys!
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Congratulations on your wedding, in that you're making it rain... Should've had it in September... :)

    I'm going out today and looking around during cleanup as to which weeds still need to be targetted as in, actively growing and then wait for a nice day near 60 degrees to spray... assuming of course, that they are still actively growing in adequate soil moisture... We purposely hold off until this time of year, when the weather is more normal... :)
  8. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    It is good luck for it to rain on your wedding day. It rained on ours and we had our 24th anniveresary Monday.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,276

    Have a great wedding OP and may it absolutely POUR on your day:)

    Yes, great time to treat broadleaf perennials like violet, ground ivy, etc. Will kill slowly, but will not be back next spring when it counts.
  10. lawnguru wannabe

    lawnguru wannabe LawnSite Member
    Messages: 72

    yes, if that isn't the truth! ha just my luck i've been praying for rain all summer, and then the one time i don't want it to rain! but, sounds like most of the rain here will be friday night into saturday morning so we may be good. i'm going to get out there tomorrow and put some winterizer fertilizer down ahead of that rain.

    thanks for the congrats!

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