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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:confused: :(OK, what's the real deal here? Everything I have ever read both in this forum and from other experts states that we should be spoon feeding little doses of nitrogen throughout the spring and summer and switching to heavier nitrogen doses in the fall. This is supposed to build stronger roots and lessen drought and disease injury. After reading a post from Kirbyslawn (I think) earlier this spring I have been taking closer notice and I am tending to agree with him. The lawns that were treated by the lowballers using tons of quick release N this spring seem to be the ones still looking the best now. The ones I treat and other ones that appear to be reasonably fertilized (2 fert. apps. so far, .75 lbs/1000 with 50% slow release each time) all have at least a minor case of fungal problems. Red thread was awful this year. There is a lawn that I was practically bushhogging every 3 days for a long time that has been slammed with N at least 3-4 times already, and I'm telling you it looks fantastic!! Mine are a nice green and growing at a reasonable pace but it's hard to justify my premium prices compared to cheaper LCO's with healthier looking lawns.
This is only my 2nd season being licensed for apps. and admittedly I'm only treating 35 lawns since I'm still trying to switch over after 10 years of mowing, but this is at least 2 LCO's making this observation this year. This is the first year in the 10 I've been in business that we still have green grass in late July. Usually the BIG BROWNOUT begins about mid-June and lasts through August, but we've had constant cool temps and timely rain this year. Could this be the reason for what I'm seeing? Is the weather bailing the high N guys out this year?
 

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What grass types are you having this problem with? I think Ray is basically working tall fescues and C4 grasses (transition zone in NC). My bluegrasses are doing great this year, even the non-irrigated because of the rains and temps here. Fine fescues are looking better than normal for same reason.

Ornamental bentgrass lawns are a little worse than normal, and the ryes are really funky. Trying to figure out one rye lawn right now. It's next to another in a new area, both hydroseeded last fall. The neighbor gets the 6-8 urea dumps a year, and I'm so bummed about the difference in appearance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Groundkprs,
Here in my part of Ohio, I am dealing with mostly the original builders mix of bluegrass, rye, and fine fescue. Some yards are sod in the front, hydroseed in back. Others are all hydroseed. My own is crossfire 2 tall fescue. Now, it's not that my yards look terrible, but most do have small areas that could look better due to minor fungal infections. It just kills me that I would think some of the N overkill yards would be more seriously affected and yet they don't appear to be. Unfortunately this would actually be my third year doing apps., but spent all 2002 in some mountains across the big pond. I hear there was a severe drought around here and I would have liked to see these same lawns then. Funny how you can be in the mowing business for years and then when you start doing apps. you really start to notice different things. Overall, I shouldn't complain. It's the end of July, the grass is green, and the temps are in high 70's-low 80's, first time in 10 yrs.
 

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Turfsurfer, don't be disgruntled. The normal approach would be to spoon feed the N during this time but obviously mother nature has had a mind of her own with your area as well as where I am just north of you. With the excess moisture the slow release N's (at least scu's) aren't holding up very long, and many lawns have become anemic rather quick. With the quick release nitrogens being applied I think your seeing the responses are better because the fungal problems are somewhat held in check by the aggressive growth, but not eliminated. It definitely has been a strange season but at least we're not bone dry and browned from drought conditions. I noticed though a real problm too is that homeowners are still mowing at spring cutting heights and even lower which are just aggrevating the red thread, dollar spot and even leaft spot, yet they still feel its our fault their lawn doesn't hold color that well, Go figure!
 

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Good post and good replies here....just yesterday I was noticing how good the lawns look that TruBurn services. My own yard looks anemic compared to theirs. Normally they are the first ones to look bad in the heat....like you said above, its been a weird year weather wise

Think I'll go out and put down some Ironite on my own yard today...that stuff is a bit pricey...do you guys know if Lesco has a product like Ironite? I'm sure with all the rain the N has been washed thru and now the turf is hungry
 

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I'm sure that mostly TGCL uses Iron with some urea that its being pushed heavy with all the moisture we've been experiencing, another reason for a quick green up. Keeping a balanced feeding is still the key to having a healthy lawn.
 

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Some of my lawn here on long Island were not looking their best ... I was late getting down my July app. of Fert w/Merit.
Boy, what a difference a week makes along with some rain.
All are nice and green and thick, pain in the a-- to mow now, but they look great.
 

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I wouldn't change my program just because the quick release guys are getting good results right now. There are a few things to keep in mind.

We have had an abundance of rain, which for the moment is keeping the high dose of quick release N going.

We have had lower than normal temps which are a major factor for disease problems in summer. We haven't had the pressure as normal for brown patch and summer patch.

Red thread is very active in cool, wet conditions. This is one disease that allows you to beef up your fertilization for it's control.

If and when mother nature turns the faucet off, you will see a quick change in lawns in color, disease and insect problems.
The roots are close to the surface with all the rain and the grass has been spoiled with easy feeding and growing conditions.

This is an unusual season. Don't change now because of a fluke.
 

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Amen to that....Rudbekia is finally blooming a month late...at least those that made it thru winter...flowers are finally lookng right....dandelions are STILL blooming....ornamental grasses finally looking right....weeds unreal this season...and on and on....interesting to say the least.

oh yeah and heres the weirdest one of all...was walking the dog and noticed a rhodie....yep it had flowers on it....in late July
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So what are you guys planning to do about the disease problems? I was dealing mostly with Red Thread and now Dollar Spot is coming on pretty strong. Since both of these are indicative of low N I've been thinking of moving my third fert app. up a couple of weeks to mid-Aug (will be 8 weeks between apps.). Also wondering should I go with .80 lbs/1000 with 75% PPSCU or hit it with 1.0 lb/1000 and 50% PPSCU? What do you think? The kicker is, the part of the lawns not affected really do look good and not under-fertilized.
 

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Nitrogen in and by itself does not cause disease. Also nitrogen will not cure a disease however in the case of fungal problems it may increase the severity of the infection. N is a nutrient for fungus also. The fungus needs to be addressed with the proper treatment based on what it is. The client needs to be educated on how to apply supplemental irrigation to his lawn. This spring I left notes indicating that if they continued to over water at this time of the year they would have a high probability of disease and pest problems later. Those that heeded my adivce and eliminated the excess irrigation now have no problem or problmes so small they will not need to be treated. Those few that told me to mind my own business have raging fungus infections. When applying supplemental water, the top 1/2" to inch must always become dry before water is added again. While excess rainfall doesn't seem to contribute much to fungus problems, a cleint irrigating his lawn when not necessary seems to. Just my observations in TX.
 

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:)
Just a thought...
Sometimes lawns are better left UNFERTILIZIED...until crucial Fall events.
A lawn "under fertilized" may look greener due to irrigation! When you start fertin' in the dry months you better have regular irrigation- or you're gonna FRY!!! :cool:
I would "spoon feed" on irrigation status.
Good Luck in the FALL!
:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I appreciate all the responses. To clear things up, the problem with lawns around here is for once NOT due to client watering practices. It has just been so doggone wet here all season, with much of the rain occurring in afternoon, early evening. We have not had a single slowdown in mowing so far. Most years we get a big slowdown mid-June through early Sept., not this year. Maybe it is part of the reason problems are more noticeable, because the grass is still so green. I realize more N many times worsens certain fungus problems but my source material says N will actually help grass outgrow dollar spot and red thread which seem to be the major problems this year. Definately a good learning year, hope we don't have to wait another 10 years for a nice cool summer.
 

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Did you fert these lawns last fall?
If so, how much n, what % slow release, and what type of slow release?

Fert app. this year are .75lbs/1000, with 50% slow release, But what slow release did you use?

2/3n in fall, 1/6n in spring, and 1/6n in summer, or 2lobsn in fall, .5lbsn in spring and .5lbsn in summer.

Does your fert have micro package, or at least some fe in it?

tim
 

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Originally posted by ParksGuy
:)
Just a thought...
Sometimes lawns are better left UNFERTILIZIED...until crucial Fall events.
A lawn "under fertilized" may look greener due to irrigation! When you start fertin' in the dry months you better have regular irrigation- or you're gonna FRY!!! :cool:
I would "spoon feed" on irrigation status.
Good Luck in the FALL!
:)
Best advice I have heard in a while....

Ever noticed the lawns that are just mowed sometimes?

Sometimes less is better, that's why I try not to apply more than 3 pounds of N a year. Some lawns only get 2#
 

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LGF...amen to that...I've made that point a couple times the past 2 years here on LS and some guys strongly disagreed. I walk my dog in a complex of old softball fields. No fert, no aeration, no chemicals of any kind and minimal weeds.I know the guy who mows it and he does no chemicals. THe grass is a thin bladed turf type fescue. Even is last years horrendous drought, this grass looked better than any chemical-ized lawn I've seen. I read an article a couple months ago in our local paper about the fact we and homeowners put down waayyy too much fert. They said do N twice,....early Fall and then a heavy feeding in late fall. Since I went this route in my own yard, it's never looked better...even in drought last year. Mother nature feeds N on her own with clippngs. Of course if you sell fert apps, this is a point of view you don't want to hear.
 

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Originally posted by GarPA
... I read an article a couple months ago in our local paper about the fact we and homeowners put down waayyy too much fert. They said do N twice,....early Fall and then a heavy feeding in late fall. Since I went this route in my own yard, it's never looked better...even in drought last year. Mother nature feeds N on her own with clippngs. Of course if you sell fert apps, this is a point of view you don't want to hear.
Well, you could always still do your control apps. and just not put down any fert. till the Fall.
Straight Pre-M in Spring
Grub in early summer
Insect in Summer ....
And also, I don't recall there being a specific time Lime NEEDS to be applied ... you could put it down pretty much anytime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
timturf, to answer your questions: 1) I did not fertilize ANY of these lawns last fall. Spent all of last year overseas, so I did not have the best case scenario of knowing exactly what was put down in the fall. 2) source of the slow release N was Lesco's Poly Plus SCU. Mowed some of these lawns today and the dollar spot is still there. The "experts" say dollar spot is more active in low fertility lawns, but by the looks of the unaffected areas these lawns are NOT underfertilized, still green and growing about right. Think I will wait a couple weeks and apply next fert. as original plan (will be 9 weeks since last app.). Concern is that it is only Aug.1 and despite our cool wet weather so far we could still get super hot and humid for a stretch and I don't want alot of N down at that time. Waiting a couple more weeks will get us closer to turning the corner into fall. Then we can start complaining about the rust. Damn dollar spot is a nuisance though.
 
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