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Fertilizer vs water

stevenf

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Louisiana
Looking to offer fertilizer this year. The main area I would like to target(most of my accounts) are mid-income homes with no irrigation. Now I know watering is a major part of the fertilization process, but how important is it? Should I not target the lower income homes because I think they will fail to water it?
 

greendoctor

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Honolulu, Hawaii
I will not touch a lawn that is not on an irrigation system or is too big to water with a hose fed by household pressure and volume in less than 30 minutes. That should be prefaced by the fact that my area gets less than 20 inches of rain in a 365 day growing season. There have been many instances where I have been accused of not doing what I promised, due to lack of results. All complaints can be traced back to a failure of the accusing customer to water adequately. I will also not touch a lawn that has an irrigation system with poor coverage. Same reason applies.
 

TL1981

LawnSite Member
Location
Indiana
I seriously doubt that most guys here are going to turn down customers if they dont have irrigation. Unless you live in the desert.
 

ted putnam

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Arkansas
I seriously doubt that most guys here are going to turn down customers if they dont have irrigation. Unless you live in the desert.
Uh...Yea. If I refused customers that didn't have irrigation I'd have about 30 for every 300 I now have. Not possible here. Of course my customers don't live in 2000 sq ft homes that cost over a million just because they're in Hawaii. Not all of them can afford to install an expensive irrigation system to water a huge yard but they can afford to have their lawn look pretty nice by hiring me. That being said, chances are, if you can afford a home in Hawaii a 5-10 grand irrigation system is "chump change". We usually get enough rain around here most of the year that watering is only a problem for a little over a month during the summer.
 

greendoctor

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Honolulu, Hawaii
Thanks Ted. If it rained often enough during the year, I would have a different position. Otherwise, I invite anyone to figure out how to keep grass without irrigation when it rains less than 20 inches per year and the growing season is 365 days, 366 in a leap year. $5-10,000 is peanuts for an irrigation system. Zoysia sod runs about $5,000 per thousand sq ft installed. So it would be stupid to let it dry out and blow away or become a weed patch. Most of the people who can afford a house and a lawn did not get their money by being stupid.
 

ted putnam

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Arkansas
Thanks Ted. If it rained often enough during the year, I would have a different position. Otherwise, I invite anyone to figure out how to keep grass without irrigation when it rains less than 20 inches per year and the growing season is 365 days, 366 in a leap year. $5-10,000 is peanuts for an irrigation system. Zoysia sod runs about $5,000 per thousand sq ft installed. So it would be stupid to let it dry out and blow away or become a weed patch. Most of the people who can afford a house and a lawn did not get their money by being stupid.
I wasn't trying to "bust your chops" in any way greendoctor. I was merely pointing out the differences in clientele. If you own a home in Hawaii, chances are you are loaded. I realize 5-10 grand for an irrigation system there is nothing but here, that's a lot of money. A million dollars will buy you a hell of a lot more house here than there. Also, Zoysia sells for $3/sq yd here not sure on installation price but total bill would come nowhere near 5 grand/1000. And yes we typically get 45-50 inches of rain per year. Last year we got 78 .Literally 10% of my customers have an irrigation system. I would be shooting myself in the foot to turn them down if they didn't.
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
Steve, go ahead and fertilize--when it rains or water is applied it will turn green. It will be more green and much thicker than if no fert were applied. Applied properly, quality fertilizer does not stress the grass. Liquid fertilizer could burn the grass in hot weather, of course. Are you talking St Aug, Bermuda or what?
Some customers may have to go on a "Rain Irrigation Program". Treatments are skipped if lawn is dry--but lost treatments are made up later or when rain is predicted.
 

VARMIT COMMISSION

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
OKLAHOMA CITY
Why not use a 100% slow release granular product. Lesco used to have one if I remember correctly, it was a 34-0-0. And UAP has a 43-0-0 OR 39-0-0 100% XCU. So you will never burn a lawn again, and wont have to depend on moisture. I actually poured one cup of 39-0-0 in a pile and tested the "guaranteed not to burn" theory. IT WON'T BURN!!!!! But it takes forever to get green out of it.
 

tlg

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Michigan
If we had to rely on our customers to water their lawns we would be out of business. We service areas that have occasional watering restrictions so even those that have irrigation systems may have to limit it's use. Most of our customers are dependent on rain to keep their lawns green. That's just the reality of the game. I can't tell you how many times we hear customers complain about the cost of watering when we suggest it. I would never turn down work for lack of watering. We will work around problem dry lawns if we have to. It's up to the customer to decide whether or not they want a green lawn.
 
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