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Lesco Fertilization Program Help Please

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by macani, May 19, 2014.

  1. macani

    macani LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    This year I started with Lesco fertilizer. I live in Western Michigan. I visited my local John Deere/Lesco and they gave me a 5 or 6 step program to follow. My grass was seeded Sept 2012. This year I have some weed problems, but just this weekend I applied some Speedzone from John Deere/Lesco store.

    Here is the programs that they gave me to follow

    5 Step Program
    Step 1 - Dimension 13-0-0 30% slow release (already applied around April 15)
    Step 2 - 25-0-6 slow release
    Step 3 - Merit 24-0-8
    Step 4 - 25-0-6 50% slow release
    Step 5 - 5-0-30 a/c winter fertilizer

    6 Step Program
    Step 1 - Dimension 13-0-0 30% slow release (already applied around April 15)
    Step 2 - 32-0-8 30% slow release
    Step 3 - 32-0-8 30% slow release
    Step 4 - Merit 24-0-8
    Step 5 - 32-0-8 30% slow release
    Step 6 - 5-0-30 a/c winter fertilizer

    Are these good program to follow? Do they need some adjustment? To follow 5 step or 6 step program ? I want to put down another Step around Memorial Day ? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks !!!
  2. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    A few questions:

    1) What are the application rates this JDL rep recommends you use for the fert? 25-0-6 or 32-0-8 isn't enough information. How much N does he recommend you apply in each step?

    2) What ai rate is he recommending for Dimension?

    3) What ai rate is he recommending for Merit?

    4) What does 'a/c winter fertilizer' mean? I don't understand the 'a/c' part.

    I don't usually like to ask fert dealers or JDL reps what program to use. Maybe you'll get lucky and find someone who knows something about lawns, but most of the time they're only trying to sell you what makes them the most commission, not what's going to help you.
  3. macani

    macani LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14


    They didn't provide me with any of that info, that why I would hopping to come across someone on here that can help me get a good program for my western MI grass. He just gave me a sheet with 5 or 6 step program to follow.
  4. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 705

    These programs are more than likely put together by the Store Manager for your area of the country. NONE OF THE STEPS ARE ETCHED IN STONE! They can be modified to suit your business needs and application methods. I have a granular program that my co-worker and I put together for our JDL branch for our area and it works very well but I tell people every day that it can be modified to fit their needs. As for application rates and active ingredient rates, those will be found on the bag. I try to recommend 1# of Nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. for good green up. The active ingredient rate will fall into line with that rate and you'll have to figure that out for each product. With that I'll get into your 5-step program. I won't comment on the 6 step program because it's not much different. It's just got an extra fertilization included and it's a different analysis (rates will change - you'll have to read the bags). Also, the date for Merit may be too late for your area if you follow that program as the extra fertilization pushes it later into the season and could fall near the August 19th treatment date - which would be too late for our area but maybe not yours?

    5 Step Program
    Step 1 - Dimension 13-0-0 30% slow release (already applied around April 15)
    Step 2 - 25-0-6 slow release
    Step 3 - Merit 24-0-8
    Step 4 - 25-0-6 50% slow release
    Step 5 - 5-0-30 a/c winter fertilizer

    Typically we run our treatments at 6 week intervals so the April 15th target date for step 1 is perfect. It's the same date that we recommend in our area of Massachusetts.

    Step 1 looks good. It's a fertilizer with Dimension Crabgrass control. This will fertilize the lawn and prevent crabgrass for 90 days, which means it'll run out in mid July (the bags say 90-120 day control of Crabgrass but I typically see it breaking down in 90 days). I would apply this so that you're getting about 1# of Nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft.

    Step 2 is a regular fertilizer with some amount of slow release in the mix (you didn't specify). This is O.K. and will Green up the lawns nicely. However, it will do nothing for weeds or crabgrass and this is the PRIME TIME of year to kill weeds or apply a 2nd dose of crabgrass pre-emergent control, both of which are not that much more expensive than regular fertilizer. In our location, we recommend a 2nd dose of Dimension so that the Crabgrass pre-emergent control will carry you an additional 90 days from the date of this application (usually around May 27th - 6 weeks from step 1), thus it'll wear out in late August when summer is coming to a close. For weeds, we recommend granular Lockup 0-0-7 at the same time if it's needed (the entire lawn won't usually need it and it can be applied where needed).

    Step 3 is Fertilizer + Grub Control. This is perfect to apply for step 3 (usually around July 8th - 6 weeks from Step 2) as the Imidicloprid can be applied between June 1st and August 15th. The fertilizer will maintain the green coloring in irrigated lawns while the grub control will move into the roots for the next 4 months. When the grubs hatch out in late August/early September, they'll ingest the Imidicloprid and perish.

    Step 4 looks like another application of the same product from Step 2. That is fine for this application as you'll now be in August, around the 19th - 6 weeks from Step 3.

    Step 5 looks like a "Winterizer" fertilizer to me and should be applied around September 30th - 6 weeks from Step 4.

    Overall, it seems like they have a program that would work for your area pretty well. The only concern I have is Step 2. Instead of using a regular fertilizer, I would change that over to a second application of Dimension + fertilizer so that you'll get much better control of crabgrass throughout the long summer.

    Programs are like a first and last name - everybody's got one. It's up to you to create your own that works for you. There are Pro's and Con's to EVERY program out there so none of them are "right" or "wrong". Keep that in mind when asking for opinions!
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  5. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 705

    Usually with regular fertilizers (fertilizers NOT mixed with other products) most people use 1# of Nitrogen as a rule of thumb (not all the time though). If you're using his method and applying only fertilizers by themselves (not mixed with other products such as Dimension, Merit, Allectus, Lockup, etc...) you can easily get the appropriate rate rather easily. This can be done by taking the first number (in this instance either 25 or 32) and divide each one into the number 100. Thus, the 25-0-6 would be applied at 4 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. and the 32-0-8 would be applied at 3.125 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft. At these application rates you would get 12,500 sq. ft (half of 25) per bag of the 25-0-6 or 16,000 sq. ft. (half of 32) per bag of the 32-0-8.

    Of course, if your goal would be to apply .75 lbs per nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft., none of these numbers would be the same.
  6. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,547

    A few soil tests for your area is really the first step. Are you on sandy soil--or more like clay? Sandy soil would be better served with the higher ratio of slow-release nitrogen. Skip is right--you should understand the active ingredient rate of Dimension (dithiopyr)--sometimes they suggest that 0.17 lbs per acre is enough--maybe not. Maybe you are not happy with the absolute minimum rate. If you like quality better than the big companies--more would be better. A/c is the salesman's term for "All Chemical"--no slow release--cheap.
    A full pound of nitrogen seven times per year is very high--expensive and if you have to mow this grass you will not be happy. Golf greens, baseball and football fields need the nitrogen--home lawns about half that much per year. If you don't know how to calculate the nitrogen rate get the salesman to help you.

    Hissing is right--you don't want the Merit too late--early July is best.

    I, myself, do not care for the high potash winter fertilizer. Stay with the 25-0-6.

    And I don't see any weed control. Around here I prefer weed control overall in June and October.

    And there is a good chance you will need to spot spray crabgrass and maybe nutsedge during July and August.
  7. macani

    macani LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Hissing Cobra, Thank you very much for your recommendation and input.

    Can I get a little more input for Step 4 and 5. I want to overseed around Labor Day.

    I read around here somewhere to

    Step 4 - apply Starter Fertilizer in August,

    - Overseed no later then 2nd week of September

    - Starter Fertilizer again first week of October

    Step 5 - Winterizer mid-October
  8. macani

    macani LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14


    I was a little late this year for soil test ( something I'm going to do next year) but its more like clay.

    In which Step do I include weed control ? Is it granular Lockup 0-0-7 that Hissing Cobra was saying?
  9. Hissing Cobra

    Hissing Cobra LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 705

    No problem. It sounds like your season in Michigan is very similar to ours here in Massachusetts. For that reason, I'll try to recommend things that will work for us and may work for you (it's up to you to decide that).

    If you're seeding, the best time of year to do that is the first week of September. That will give you a good 8 weeks for your new seed to germinate and to grow tall enough to be mowed a couple of times before the cold weather rolls in during late October around Halloween. Because grass needs 7 to 30 days to germinate (Perennial Rye is 7-10 days, Fescues are 14-21, and Bluegrass is 21-28) and another 30 days to grow the blades, you'll surely need that 8 weeks or 60 days to grow it in. Thus, your program will be modified and you will not follow either that 5 or 6 step program for this season.

    If I had to set up a program for your area (based on similarities to my area in terms of weather) this is what I would recommend.

    Step 1 April 15th - Fertilizer + Dimension

    Step 2 May 27th - Fertilizer + Dimension. Also, I would pick up some bags of 0-0-7 Lockup to use on those lawns that have weeds. You can do both treatments on the same day.

    Step 3 July 15th - Fertilizer + Merit

    Step 4 September 1st - Slice seed lawns and apply Starter Fertilizer

    Step 5 October 1st - Starter Fertilizer

    Step 6 November 1st - "Winterizer Fertilizer"

    This program, if it works for your area, will control the weeds in the early part of the season, keep crabgrass from ruining what you've got in your lawns, and provide a clean canvas in which to sow your seeds in the first week of September. Yes, you will be giving it excess amounts of Nitrogen for this season but most of that will be toward your new seed. If you're applying at 1# per 1,000 sq. ft. you'll be applying 6 #'s of Nitrogen for this season. Most cool season grasses require 4.5 to 5.5 pounds of N per season so it's not that excessive.

    Again, programs are always changeable and nothing is etched in stone. You need to find one that will work for your area and provide the needed controls for certain times of year.

    Good luck!

    P.S. Riggle is correct on the soil test. Take a pound of soil to JDL and have them send it to CLC Labs (that's the soil testing facility that JDL uses). That test will tell you everything you need to know about your soil and recommendations for lime will given based on those results.
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  10. macani

    macani LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Thanks again Hissing Cobra.

    What type of overseeding process do you recommend ?

    I was going to aerate, seed and topdress?

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