High N fert

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by phasthound, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,122

    You guys know that I come from the dark side. :)
    Well actually, I come from a long background in woody ornamental care. From the 70's to the late 90's it was taught that high N was God's gift to trees. After all, look at that great green flush of growth it produced! Now that's a healthy tree. Over time it was realized that the flush of growth actually took energy away from root systems and defense systems. Research showed that trees feed high N were more susceptible to insects, diseases and drought stress. The tree care industry has moved away from promoting excessive N and towards biostimulants & organic matter.

    So, I would like to know what the benefits of high N for turf are aside from a quick green up. I'm not bashing anything or asking for university studies. I honestly want to know, cause it doesn't make sense to me.
  2. ProLawns

    ProLawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 476

    Turf grasses need nitrogen to maintain their color and vigor. Different grasses need different amounts of nitrogen and at different times. As a rule of thumb apply during their growing season, warm season grasses in the summer, cool season grasses spring and falll etc. It's best to use fertilizer that is at least 30% slow release, 50% is even better. Too much quick release nitrogen just gives a quick flush of growth that usually does more harm than good.
  3. bug-guy

    bug-guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,029

    i don't understand this high N question. a bag of 24-2-11 covers 12000 ft2, 15-0-15 covers 7500. @ 1 lb per 1000 same amount of N per 1000. homeowners always come in and say 24-2-11 that's too much N, i just show them the 16-0-8 then they are happy.
  4. pinto n mwr

    pinto n mwr LawnSite Senior Member
    from gr8, mn
    Messages: 422

    highest possible N with the highest possible slow release. Gives me more time in between apps. Also opens the possiblility to not apply at a full lb and achive good color. When you deal with 100+ HOA's you need a looooong duration fert
  5. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Messages: 6,162

    There is no comparison between woody ornamentals and turf...so I think that is the best answer! With that said, some types of turf take more N then others. Almost too broad of a question.
  6. FdLLawnMan

    FdLLawnMan LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,246

    Nitrogen is the key nutrient for turfgrass. I attended a seminar this past winter which spoke of this very subject. Turfgrass needs 17 essential nutrients to grow. It is extremely rare in my state to be short of any of the 6 micronutrients, 3 secondary macronutrients, phosophorius or potassium and oxygen. That gives you 12 of the 13 essential nutrients for growth. It has never been shown in any study to my knowledge that adding additional amounts of the previously mentioned nutrients to a soil that already has adequate amounts leads to any additional benefits. If you add iron all you are doing is staining the plant to a darker color. Iron is also one of the few, maybe only that you can over apply without hurting the plant.
    That leaves us with nitrogen. Nitrogen applied at the correct time, in the correct amounts leads to a healthier, thicker stand of turf. When you add organic matter to the soil, which is good, you are adding material that the microbes break down into nitrogen. The problem with organic matter is the soil will only support about a 5% level. My soil has 5% organic matter in it, but you can really tell when I apply the fertilizer. The plant itself really does not care what form the nitrogen originally comes from. It just cares how much is there and if there is enough moisture so it can use it. Nitrogen is the only element that the plant will luxury feed on. The more nitrogen you feed it, the more the plant grows. A typical turf football field will receive between 6 & 8 lbs a year of nitrogen.
    In cool season turfs, 2/3 of the nitrogen applied should be applied in the fall. My programs consist of the following, a lb of nitrogen in the late spring or early summer, of which it is at least a 80% slow release, a lb of 50% slow release in late summer, early fall, and then a lb of a 30% slow release or straight urea as my late fall feeding. Most of my lawns have the clippings put back on the lawn so that is worth about a lb a year. I could replace the first feeding with an organic fertilizer but I have yet to find one that is the same cost as what I am paying now.
    One year I applied about .25 lbs of liquid nitrogen per k every 10 to 14 days on my lawn. That was the best my lawn ever looked, but who is going to pay for that.
    So that is my short dissertation on nitrogen. If anybody disagrees with me or has anything to add I am all ears, or eyes.
  7. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    For me it's simply logistics: the higher the N the less I have to carry around, the less I have to refill the hopper, the less I have to store, the less trash...
  8. fertit

    fertit LawnSite Member
    from 97034
    Messages: 36

    Amen Brother- just use as much SRN as possible and make it go even further. :weightlifter:
  9. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,954

    If I have to push a spreader with twice the amount of fert weight in the hopper (up hills & through thick turf, or wet grass), I'd tell my boss he can shove it. M, D, & C. This reply is posted by American's employees with the owner present.

    I agree. That's why we have "technology". (duh) Larry

  10. bobbyge

    bobbyge LawnSite Member
    from france
    Messages: 87

    high nitrogen fert has its place. and it is important. as does low nitrogen fert. it's all a matter of the talent, in the man behind the spreader.

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