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I am not in your area so my program is irrelevant but why don't you just ask your Lesco dealer to recommend one for you? That is how I got started. My Lesco dealer has a couple of great guys ready to answer any question I may have.
There are many different programs that you can go by and none are really etched in stone. Ask around and put together a program that works for you. I work for Lesco/JDL and can help you with what we recommend to our customers.
April 15th - Step 1 - 19-0-6 Fertilizer + Dimension .10 May 27th - Step 2 - 19-0-6 Fertilizer + Dimension .10 July 8th - Step 3 - 24-0-5 Fertilizer + Merit (Imidicloprid) OR 18-0-8 Allectus (Contains Imidicloprid and Bifenthrin) August 19th - Step 4 - Fertilizer 28-0-12 + 3% Iron September 31st - Step 5 - Fertilizer 21-3-21 + 2% Iron Anytime - Limestone at 50 lb/1,000 sq. ft or Cal Turf Pro @ 5 lb/1,000 sq. ft.
This program has worked very well for our customers. It does not address weed control! For our homeowner customers, we recommend a handcan or backpack with a mixture of Lesco's Eliminate-D weed control. For our larger customers who have spray units, they'll either use Lesco's Eliminate-D, Gordon's Speedzone Southern or even the restricted use products such as Lesco's Red Zone or Lesco's Three Way or Lesco's Eliminate LO.
We recommend two applications of Dimension because in this area, we generally see it breaking down at 90 days. If you apply the first application on April 15th, it's just about gone by July 15th. At that point, Crabgrass is growing throughout the lawns but it's not really noticeable until mid August when it's EVERYWHERE. Applying a 2nd application 6 weeks after the first (May 31st), you'll buy yourself an additional 90 days of control. We recommend that the 2nd application be done in late May so that when it breaks down, it's late August and you don't have to worry about it at that point. Doing it this way will virtually eliminate service calls to go spray Crabgrass with Drive, Acclaim, or Daconate (MSMA or Target 6.6).
As far as lime goes, we've done tons of soil tests for this area and the majority of them are coming back with recommendations of 65-85 lbs. of Lime per 1,000 sq. ft. Most of the larger companies will not apply Lime at that amount, as the required amount of bags to carry and time invested to apply, are simply not economical to their business structure. You'll see a that lot of them may use products such as a 7-1-3 "Fertilime" or a 12-0-4 "Fertilime". These products are acceptable if that's the direction you'd like to go in.
Again, there's no program that's "set in stone". There's many ways to get the job done correctly. I hope this helps!
For our area, just about everyone wants to use the 24-0-8 Merit for the mid season application so that they will control grubs in their lawns. Of course if people have shady lawns, I'll recommend a regular fertilizer application instead.
The 18-0-8 Allectus just came into our market 2 years ago and a lot of our larger customers are requesting it. I'll recommend that to smaller customers or homeowners if they've got insect problems at the time of purchase. If not, I'll ask if their lawn is sunny or shady and if it's sunny, then I'll recommend the Fertilizer/Merit product.
I don't know what happened to my post in the box above this one but something happened to the website when I was in the middle of typing and it saved what you seel. I wasn't done! Anyway, here's my full answer.
I don't automatically include it for everyone but for the majority of them we do. For our area, just about everyone wants to use the 24-0-8 Merit for the mid season application so that they will control grubs in their lawns. Of course if people have shady lawns, I'll recommend a regular fertilizer application instead. It's all about communication and options! As for the 18-0-8 Allectus, it just came into our market 2 years ago and a lot of our larger customers are requesting it. I'll recommend that product to smaller customers or homeowners if they've got insect problems at the time of purchase. If not, I'll ask if their lawn is sunny or shady and if it's sunny, then I'll recommend the Fertilizer/Merit product. Grubs don't really pose a problem on shady lawns but almost definitely wreak havoc in the sunny lawns.
As you know, there's many directions that we can go in when making recommendations. I try to talk to all of my customers to get an idea of what they want and how they want their lawns to look before I make them. It's easier with my larger customers because they've usually got a program already in place that they've been using for years. All we have to do is stock the product, ensure that the pricing is good, treat them with excellent customer service, and get it to them on time. They get treated very well at our location. Of course, if they have questions, we'll discuss different products, rates, etc.... With my homeowner customers, a lot of times I have to walk them through every step of how to grow a nice lawn and it's a lot more involved. However, we have no problems helping them and outlining a program for them. When they begin to see the results, they're hooked! We're lucky in the fact that the majority of them keep coming back every season and they also recommend us to their neighbors, friends, cousins, etc....
Hissing Cobra, thank you for the reply finally someone who can really help me. You said this program doesn't include weed control, but what about crabgrass, and if not when should i fit crabgrass control into my program as i know it is a problem for most of my customers? Also, what is the benefit of applying lime? i have heard of using Lime before but i do not know its purpose.
Crabgrass is something that you take care of BEFORE it begins to grow. If you look at the program, the applications on April 15th and May 27th will do that for you. With both applications, the Dimension .10 will create an invisible barrier on top of the soil, preventing crabgrass seeds from germinating. Neither application will last a full season and that's why we recommend two of them.
Lime is important because it will dictate how the grass and it's roots will take of the fertilizer. If the PH level in the lawn is low (5.3 or so), the root system may only be able to take in 50% of the fertilizer's nutrients. This will result in wasted fertilizer and grass that is not a green, thick, or healthy as it should be. So, even though you're applying fertilizer at the correct rate, it's possible that some of it will not be getting to the plant. Using Lime at the proper rates to bring the PH level up to the required 6.5 - 7.0 will result in a much stronger, denser, thicker turf.
So it is safe to say that a lime application before the April fifteenth application would be the best way to ensure that the future fertilization make a full impact on the turf. Also i am aware of the fact that lesco offers a fall winterization fertilizer, is that the product that is mentioned for September, or is that an additional product?