fertilizing during summer

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by americanlawn, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,954

    Cadzilla eluded to this. I realize spring is not quite here for the upper Midwest, yet we plan ahead for 2 or 3 lawn apps.

    I highly recommend slow release summer fertilizer for all lawns. (grubworm prevention too if customers can spend the money). ISU agrees.

    I figure everybody on this site uses "slow release" fert during summer.

    I fertilize my own lawn TWICE during the summer. July = Merit w/fert. August = fert. Both = granular slow release.

    So many homeowners say "I don't want a summer fertilizer because" >>

    1) I don't water
    2) It will burn my lawn
    3) It won't do any good

    I'll park it here. Hoping you will chime in on this. Thanks
  2. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,121

    I do not recommend summer applications of conventional fertilization for cool season turf.

    Should I fertilize the lawn in summer?
    Do not fertilize Kentucky bluegrass and other cool-season grasses during the summer months (June, July and August). The best times to fertilize cool-season grasses in Iowa are spring, mid-September and late October/early November. When fertilizing the lawn, do not apply more than one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet in one application.

    I do recommend adding organic fertilizer and/or biological inoculants during the summer. This will improve drought tolerance, soil structure and disease resistance.
  3. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378


    Summer fert is all the rage here but most lawns are on irrigation. Yes slow release is best.

    It would be tough to stay in business in fert here and not provide some sort of summer green even for the "Low Mowed/Golf Fairway copy cat mimicked lawns". These lawns are plauged with late pm daily watering cycles, necrotic ring spot, all sorts of fungal issues etc.

    I have a different view perspective. The lawns I'm in full control of mow/fert and AP are typically mowed at 3.25"+ and some I mow up around 4"+ [my lawn is at 4.5" During July and August and if a nice stand of grass is allowed to flourish up through late May/June....mulch mowed and/or side discharge....the crowns of the grass are down far enough that the roots stay cool and the lawn rockets with growth....as long as irrigation is kept up with. The middle fert aps in warmer weather...I typically use this product http://www.therichlawncompany.com/products/fertilizers/pro-rich-turf-food/

    It has just enough fast relaese to ramp up the lawn and the DPW chicken poop can do it's business and break down clippings and thatch layer with those warmer temps.

    I tested "Spread it and forget it" on my own lawn in a test area and it is very sssslllloooowww release. This is best saved for a second or maybe summer application since it's so blasted slow to kick in. Better to use a faster release product to get the lawn where it needs to be....then use the hyper slow release stuff. Wish I could buy it cheaper...since it would be a good bet to carry a lawn through summer months if applied in late May/June.

    Anyhow...to repeat....lawn dynamics change tremendously when the canopy is dense and lush and kept long.

    I am a bit of a Nazi on herbicide use. Only spot spray lawns on my fert program and if mowed at 3.25"+
  4. otis44

    otis44 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    For those of you fertilizing in the summer (cool season grass) what is your N rate/1000 on this application? I intend to offer a July option this year on my program with either 50% slow release fert w/iron or 30% slow release with merit. The straight fert app I could put down whatever was best pound wise (for N), the application with merit figures about 1N/1000 to get the Merit down at the appropriate rate according to the label. I am dealing with fescue, non-irrigated for the most part.
  5. lilmarvin4064

    lilmarvin4064 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 757

    If the lawn is irrigated and/or we are not having drought conditions, I do a liquid blanket app of 50% Urea-triazone @ .15 to .2 #N / 1000 sq ft, + iron citrate and Cytogro.
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,670

    Fertilizer is important--high-quality irrigated lawns benefit from it. If you don't mid mowing a bit more. Golf and sports turf will usually get slow-release in summer. Maintains density. But weed control is also important. Summer is summer-annual season. Clover, oxalis, black medic, spurge, nutsedge and early crabgrass. Plus your local favorite. Plus the difficult perennials: violets, creeping Charlie, and so forth.
    Not to mention grubs. (And other insects in certain areas. )

    And just think of the great advertising copy. "Introducing our exclusive 'Larrys Lawn Guru Program' it improves drought tolerance, soil structure and disease resistance." Using Phasthound's products, of course.

    Everybody would like to water less and still have green grass. That is why Scotts claims to do just that, and also most seed bags claim to do just that. Every body wants deeper roots--so if you have a formula that stimulates deep roots--let your potential customers know.
  7. Chamber143

    Chamber143 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    It isn't recommended here in nc. We have seen too much brown patch and other fungal issues due to it. Our early spring with slow release gets us to the second preemergent app which gets less than .3 lbs of n per 1000. To each his own but we don't add a summer app. You are getting close to a pound durning the summer from the clippings anyway so I don't see the point.
  8. Heidi J.

    Heidi J. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    I highly recommend a slow release fertilizer in July for sure. I tell my customers I want to be on the lawn hitting those summer weeds and checking for grub damage not to mention chinch bill bug damage. This time of year when we are on the lawn is a great time to be looking for fungus issues as well. I always use extra fert for my fungus issues. Never had any luck with fungicides and they are outrageously priced.

    Just my opinion :)
  9. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,076

    I'm wondering what the rationale is behind not fertilizing at all in the summer. Often, university extension publications are targeted to the lowest common denominator of home owners. We know that most homeowners don't calibrate their application equipment and most don't know how much nutrient they're applying -- they just follow the instructions on the Scott's bag. Many homeowners still subscribe to the thought of "if some is good, more must be better" and they might not have the ability to properly water in applications. So, many university extension bulletins are written such that a homeowner can try to follow it, totally screw it up, and not totally kill their lawn.

    So, we know that summer is the most stressful time for cool season grasses. If the grass is under stress, are we doing any good by withholding the nutrients from it that could help it grow and survive?
  10. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,954

    Good stuff here.

    Withholding plant food for lawns until September & November sounds fine on paper, but...........

    Are you assuming enough water will be applied to allow these nutrients to enter the root zone in time to be available? How often do homeowners water?? Even if they have a sprinkler system?? Most of our customers are cheap (probably learned that from me). :laugh:

    Add on top of that --- doesn't poultry manure takes longer to break down/be effective?

    Then there's the 1988 ISU study that proved that lawns fed during that (record drought) summer recovered better compared to lawns that were NOT fed (for months).

    Finally -- do plants really care where the nutrient sources come from? If you think so, please correct me.

    I got more, but that's all for now.

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