Improving my fertilization

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by grassmasterswilson, May 29, 2014.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    - I treat all the turf types
    - my program is essentially every 6-8 weeks with 6 yearly applications.
    - I'm in a transition zone
    - I am all granular fertilizer

    I'm wondering about switching up my fertilization, adding micros, or nitrogen source. My program currently looks like this....

    Fescue - starter Fert at seeding, 1 lb N in November and 1 lb N in February(32-3-6 30% sr this year). I'm getting very good color and growth. I have thought about a early summer app but this goes against all university recommendations. Overall im very pleased. Im not sure there is much I can do to get fescue to survive the North Carolina heat.

    Centipede - 15-0-15 (AS nitrogen)with 3% fe. 1/2 lb N in spring and 1/2 lb N in summer. Late summer app of 1 lb K. This needs some help as I'm not real happy with the results on some lawns. Centipede is a slow grower even at the fertilization above, makes disease recovery slow.

    Bermuda - 32-3-6 30% srn. 1 lb N spring, 1 lb N summer, and late summer 1 lb K app. I am strangely considering going to 1.25 lb N to get more N. Maybe replacing the k app with another nitrogen and feed the k all along? Really like to improve color and thickness

    I've got a handle on the weeds but want the color and look to stand out. I'd love to increase this side of the business and possibly drop mowing.

    Price is a big factor as I'm not able to charge a premium. $5 per k is the average around here. I'm at a point where I'm beginning to increase prices ever year and having the best lawns will help stick the resume.

    I'm looking into iron and micros and trying to justify the cost. Wondering if anyone can give some insight on good fertilizer programs they have used. I'd like a standard program and then take problem lawns and specialty applications per soil test findings.

    Any help would be appreciated.
  2. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,135

    After a certain point, more N does not equal more color on bermuda. Unless I have a specific reason to push top growth such as a lawn with active kids or a sports field, my color on bermuda comes from micronutrients. Provided the soil is not at its upper limits on K, that is something I apply at up to 1/2 lb per month. This is why I like to formulate my own stuff. A good fertilizer for bermuda would look like 20-5-10 plus micronutrients. N is from ammonium sulfate. You are allowed to use 0-0-60 on bermuda because it is very chloride tolerant. Bermuda is also pH sensitive. One of the worst looking lawns I had to deal with had a soil pH of 5.5. Should have known better because the rest of the neighborhood was centipede and people in Hawaii do not fertilize or adjust soil pH. That lawn did not get green until I applied enough hydrated lime suspension to bring the pH up to 6.

    On centipede, I find that it does well on low rates of AS spoon fed. Until someone comes up with an AS manufactured with the same coating system used on urea, that is the best. Of course, your K source is potassium sulfate or nitrate. Related to the above story, centipede has problems if the soil pH is above 6, there is a lot of phosphorus or there is high sodium or chlorides.

    Fescue, can't help you other than saying I do not like to see cool season grass where summers get hot and humid. I feel that whoever sold people on that grass in the South and Southeast did them a real disservice. I rather paint bermuda or zoysia green in the winter rather than try to keep a grass that cannot handle heat and humidity alive in the summer.
  3. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    Much appreciated.

    I've got a pretty good weed program. I'm trying to develop and adjust my fertility to get a stock program that give adequate nutrients, growth, and color to the lawns. Then if something isn't looking just right a soil test will reveal the culprit....usually low pH in my area.

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