Fertilizing Guide

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by NEWGUYRI, Nov 20, 2008.

  1. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,153

    Now do I really deserve the hammerhead? :laugh:

    I agree...there is much more to landscapes then turf! This year I just started to treat trees and shrubs and it is a lot more difficult (since I have absolutly NO background in this area at all).

    I am not sure I follow your comment above though! Did I not make myself clear above?

    I said I adjust my N rates accordingly as needed (weather, shade, irrigated, turf etc).

    I was just talking about the guys that say they have a different analysis for every lawn and think it is necessary to treat every lawn differently.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  2. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,052

    When I don’t think the transaction is too one sided (i.e. me taking more than I am giving), I occasionally use soil test results offered by the company I buy fertilizer and other products from. And my rep, who is a friend, visits many of the sites.

    Is there a potential for abuse? Not much. You should have a point of view going into these things and be able to construct your own arguments. If the soil test results or the sales rep’s recommendations suggest something that surprises you, you can feel duped or informed as you see fit.

    As to the original post, I begin with what types of fertilizers I like to use at different times of the year (and why). Then it is a matter of determining how much is needed, when is the best time, whether it fits the customer’s budget and needs. Keep records from application to application whether the law in your area requires it or not. Include weather information. Evaluate your results in terms of turf response (color, vigor, growth). Get help from your supplier on materials and rates your first season. Next year you will have their recommendations along with your notes on the results you obtained.

    This is a good place to get good basic fertilizer information.
  3. tlg

    tlg LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 651

    I would also agree. If we had to soil test every lawn we treat.... well that's all we would be doing. Since a typical soil test only gives use P and K levels , nutrients that in most cases that are not lacking what's the point of a test? I have found in most cases the real reason a lawn is not responding well has very little to do with the fertilizer applied. Poor cultural practices, weather conditions, or poor cultivars are more likely the culprit. While the soil testing procedure " looks good" and may be " politically correct" I could never justify the expense or see the need. Nothing against those that do offer this service with their programs and I'm sure some will find fault with this but, we have lots of lawns to fertilize, they all pretty much get the same amount of N-P-K applied and we go from there!

    KACYDS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 559

    By just getting a ph test, you can adjust the ph to make it better for the turf you are trying to grow, plus make the nutrients more available to the plant.

    Chart of the Effect of Soil pH on Nutrient Availability

  5. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,153


    I forgot to get back to you on this as I wanted to make a couple points.

    Now your area may be a lot different...and actualy I am really sure it is, but this is my take on our area.

    In many cases you can increase yields slightly with foliars and other products, but you have to look at the cost of product and application and atleast know where the breakeven point is.

    We are dealing with the same thing right now with fungicides on soybeans.

    Yes applying fungicides and foliar feeding can increase yields, but did you make money or even break even?

    If you raise your bean yields by 3 bushels...but it takes 4 bushel to break even, you are in the red and even though you got an increase in yield...it actually cost you!

    Many guys I know do all kinds of "extra stuff" like foliars and fungicides on their crops but they don't look at the COST and if they are even getting a return. I call it very poor business.

    Some years they may get a slight return and many years they don't even get their money back (bases on University trials and local testing).
  6. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    That's certainly par-for-the-course language, coming from an old school N-slinging bean farmer disguising himself these days as a lawn jockey! :rolleyes:
  7. FdLLawnMan

    FdLLawnMan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,242

    Well, I happen to agree with Rodney as do most universities, I have neither the equipment nor do my customers have the money for me to afford to haul around 12 yards of compost to put on a 8 thousand square foot lawn that in the end, won't look any better than the way I do it now, which is the same way Rodney does it.
  8. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,153

    Hey Marcos!

    Good to see you one here....as its been a while! I see you are still a DICK! :dizzy:
  9. treemonkey

    treemonkey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    Well, I lurk here much more than I contribute, so I hope I don't get the same kind of welcome from my buddy rceech as Marcos did. In general, I agree with rcreech's practical assessment of lawn soil sampling. However, rcreech has an excellent background in soil science and fertility and his generalization may not apply to the other "professionals" here.....whether they be newbies or are just clueless about dirt stuff.

    I operate a small research nursery and have had the luxury to do annual soil sampling for over 20 years using a single lab. This monitoring serves best for trending changes over several years and making conservative adjustments as required. Even with this level of testing, I find it unreasonable to micro-manage my nutrient applications.

    Based on my experience, it would NOT be unreasonable for a single (composite) soil sample to be off +/- 30% due to all the possible variables (more, in extreme cases).

    It's wrong for someone to dump 20-20-20 on every lawn, not knowing if maybe P is already high (as it is in our region).

    The responsible and savvy lawn professional will learn the general soil types of his area, do some testing to correlate fertility to soil type, and come up with sensible application rates that will be in the "middle of the road" to handle the variations.

    Occasional tests to verify your work and to diagnose problem sites makes sense. I've tested the lawns at my facility twice (ten years apart) and the results look almost identical......lawns are a fairly stable ecosystem unless abused.

    Just my 2 cents......
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  10. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,153

    Welcome back Tree! :waving: Good to see you on here!

    Very good points!

    Marcos and I have a history (I guess he has a history with many on here) for some reason so that is why he made his ignorant comment above, and I was so nice back!

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