Northern Guys - what are you using for your late fall app?

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by DA Quality Lawn & YS, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    Dr. Henry Indyk from Rutgers (Passed away) taught us to apply 46-0-0 ( 1 - 1.5 lbs Actual N ) as our "Late Season Fertilization" and always had good results with that just before Thanksgiving for North Jersey.

    Now with the rule changes (law) less urea and more potassium sulfate with some Iron.

    Will see how spring green up goes in 2013.
  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Most of the applications going on throughout the season are excessive to the point that there is no need to use less N in Nov., but just drop that last app altogether, knowing that there was plenty of N in the soil until it wasn't needed anymore...

    Right now the plants may be metabolizing some NPK(in CentroWisco), even Fe, but it has to be very little... In fact I think that, that would be a good research project for the Universties to report on,,, Just how much more than water is being metabolized by the plant as the ground continues to move toward freezing solid for the winter...
  3. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,296

    Ground isn't anywhere near frozen here in SE MN. Will almost certainly go well into December before we get the permafrost. Weather in the 60's this coming week.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Frozen solid is when I believe that the fertilizer isn't going to be used at any level and also when the dormancy period is using very little water in metabolizing its own life processes...

    So with frozen ground being the zero fertilizing usage(0%), at what percentage of the fertilizer will be used when soil temps are below 50 degrees F.???
    What percentage usage at 40 degrees F.???

    Our last mowing was before Halloween, so we know that the tops stopped growing then, but how long will the roots continue to bring in new N beofre it stops altogether???

    Usually, when pale green plants bring in new fertilizer AND adequate moisture, there is a definate color change... Here in Centro Wisco I've never seen a color change with fertilizers applied after Oct. 3rd or there abouts...
    Even then it takes a couple of weeks for the change to be noticeable, so I should assume that the plant wasn't actively utilizing that NPK until it was broken down into useable form...
  5. greenstar lawn

    greenstar lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

    Wow last mowing before Halloween? Wow crazy to see the difference between were your at and here in se mi. I am still cutting lawns and still taking growth off. Pretty much have most lawns down to 3".I have about one more week of cutting and I should be done.
    Most Bradford trees and mature maples still have leaves on them. Temps were cold for a bit but now we're in the 50's during the day and 30's at night.
    My fert guy is just finishing his last round. Also lawns are still very much green here as well.
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  6. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    Our ground is not frozen as of yet.

    As the soils here get colder, less urease activity will let more of the Urea, still in it's non-ionic form be absorbed by the grass roots.

    The amount of Urea that DID become Minerilized by the Urease in the colder soils to the Ammonical form of Nitrogen is a Cation and will be held to Anions in the soil and will be available next spring when the soils warm back up.

    Then Ammonical N will be converted to Nitrate Anion and be in the soil as a solution and can be used directly by grass roots.

    We apply late season N partly for Nitrogen available now, and also for next season.

    Late season N applications on our Cool Season Turf means we don't have to apply N with our 1st Round application next spring.

    It works, we just have to stick to our new Lower Nitrogen Rate rules, here in New Jersey.......This will allow for less runoff and pollution potential from high rates of N.
  7. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,296

    heritage, you bring up a point I have been wondering about. Can you by-pass the early spring light fert app because you adequately fed the lawns late fall of the previous season?
    I would LOVE to skip applying any N in April and just do pre + spot spray if necessary. Then start feeding again in May. Any more thoughts on this?
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Add to that,,, the drought continuing in spite of the couple of rains we had and this year left us with 1 mowing(2 in some spots) for Oct. altogether...
    Don't know what Bradford Trees are, but our maples were completely finished last week(the late ones) and even our Oaks have very little left... in fact, they are probably already at their winter holding level, the leaves they have now may still be there in May...
    Most of the ground that had a frost layer on is thawed now, but it looks like Friday puts us back in the freezer, with highs in the 30s...

    How has our fertilizer done in retrospect??? I don't think that any of our fert apps done in late Sept. - early Oct., were assimulated at all...
    What I've learned and how it affected future decisions...
    I plan to go from Aug. 15 - Sept. 15 next year as a winterizer,,, If things are wet and Warm, I can always go again from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1st...
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That is a pretty optimistic view of the function of fertilizer not being wasted through cold temperatures... Your Nitrate Anion being in solution is exactly why it will not be there for very long and why our drinking water is too full of nitrates to be safe...
    With proper hibernation preparation for grass going into dormancy now,,, no one will have to fertilize in the Spring...
    In fact the article reinforces what has been said for years; that N first thing in the Spring is actually harmful to the healthy development of the plants... we look at rapid greenup and excessive blade growth in April and say, "Wow, that N application really does a good job!!!" Steriods for are a good thing for Lance Armstrong,,, and Bovine Growth Hormones for milks cows are a good thing too... :)
  10. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,681

    gotta remember the zone chart, what works in Wisconsin might work in SWOhio, but the seasonal calendar looks quite different. I believe Axe has realized this and has adjusted a

    And he meant Bradford Pear tree, always late to drop it's leaves.

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