Fertilizer breaking down in the bag

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by LwnmwrMan22, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    I've been running 10-0-20, 10% Fe, 65% slow release now for 3 years.

    This spring, a couple of pallets were almost black, the color of the material when I opened the bag, and stunk.

    The properties I maintain are industrial places, where they're not overly concerned about what shade of green the grass is, just that it's green.

    I use this blend of fertilizer not only to promote root growth, but since I'm also mowing these properties, trying to keep down on the top growth as well.

    Anyways, after the first round, I noticed you could EASILY tell where I'd ran the PG Magnum with the deflector down, along the edge, there was a trail like the spinner wasn't working at all, just a line everywhere.

    I've never had that happen before. Yes, I realize technically you're supposed to shut off the 3rd hole, but I was spreading crabgrass control and like to leave that open for extra coverage along the curblines.

    Anyways, I had decent green for about 2 weeks, and now it's already washed out, much like there was never anything applied.

    Again, I've gotten no complaints from customers, just what I see.

    Is it possible that this fertilizer I got is so old that it's already breaking down in the bag, even while it was in storage? It's not damp, no clumps, not sticky. Just black compared to the other 4 pallets I have and like I said before, stinks.
  2. mdlwn1

    mdlwn1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    10?...65% slow?.........think about it...................did your soil sample say to use 10-0-20 for 3 years or are you.............the landscape industry is scary.
  3. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Yep, I appreciate the criticism. Rather than answer a question, throw jabs.

    It's not the only fert that I use, and it' the first time I've run across this in 10 years.

    Rather than take a supplier's word that the fert was fine, I'm trying to find out if there was a bad batch, the fert broke down, or I'm going nuts.

    However, thank you for your condescending post. I can post one as well.
  4. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    Sounds like the fert got wet or at least picked up some condensation. That is probably the smell.

    As far as the stripe around the property. I run my 3rd hole open when doing pre-m to get the edges also. Striping along the edge will happen occasionally when the perma -green plastice cover get gummed up and the fert slides of in one spot, almost comes down off the plastic like it was run thru a funnel.
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    Usually I buy my spring fertilizer in the previous fall. Save $2+ / bag this way. I've never had a problem in the past, and of the 6 pallets I have, there are only 2 that are like this.

    The other pallets, the prills are all white / yellow, with the occasional red.

    When I run my 19-0-6 Dimension, sometimes the prills are ALL white / yellow. Sometimes the prills are white / yellow and gray.
    Sometimes they're mostly gray with some white.

    Like I'd mentioned in my first post, these are properties that I mow as well as fertilize. Where I'm at, we don't need alot of N, there's plenty in the soil already from all the farmland. I also don't want tons of top growth in the spring, or else every week I'm double and triple cutting.

    I'm one that believes you put down more N in the early fall, so the plant can take in more energy for the winter.

    I use the 10% Fe for the green.

    It's just that this year, for whatever reason, I got about 2 weeks of decent green out of these odd bags of fert, and am trying to figure out if it's the Fe that broke down and doesn't work now for whatever reason, or if it's the N.

    Usually I get about 4-5 weeks of a nice deep green, without the top growth.
  6. k911lowe

    k911lowe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    i have also used fert.that got in that state.fertilizer is fertilizer.always worked for me.uder certain conditions fert turns that way,;however i would say its breaking down.a chemical change due to conditions.used to get that with 65% urea.
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,669

    Smell--maybe you got a few (hundred) pounds of Milorganite from the fert company's previous batch. Or some iron compounds are very black in color.

    So that is what the third hole shut-off is for! Rusted out and discarded long ago.
  8. jbturf

    jbturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,502

    ive always noticed a unpleasant odor when urea gets wet,
    ive noticed bags every now and again where the consistency
    is just off from the norm, i ask the supplier once in a while,
    when im concerned-- but ive learned they are clueless--
    they just sell the stuff, they have no idea what it looks like
    most of the time. trust me, when im opening +spreading12-13 pallets
    of the same product each rnd, i know when i get a bag of all
    white granules, amonst bags of wht(urea)--yellow(scu)--grey(pot)

    but if it were me and it were a whole pallet like you describe,
    id have my supplier swap it out- just a bag or 2 live with it
  9. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,373

    I think the second pallet that I have, this is what I'm going to end up doing.

    I'm completely not happy with the results that I got from the first pallet I had like this, and like I said previously, it's not at all results that I've seen before.

    It's got to either be bad fertilizer, or it's gotten damp somehow.

    Lesco rep said earlier to bring it back, that they'd swap it out when I showed him what it looked like, but at the time I didn't really want to load it all up again and haul it down there.

    But after this week of mowing, seeing the crappy crappy results I got from it, I believe it's going to be the way to go.

    I don't use alot of the fertilizer with the iron, just 4-5 accounts and was looking for someone that had some experience with it in the granular form.
  10. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,698

    So that is what the third hole shut-off is for! Rusted out and discarded long ago.[/QUOTE]

    :laugh: Same here...well it's still there but rusted in position. Rendered useless.

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