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

    Hey DA

    I am comfortable with skipping next seasons early spring N for all the cool season types except Kentucky Bluegrass.

    We have soil CEC's above 10......So some Ammonical N will be there to be mineralized as soils warm come springtime.

    KB needs a bit more help in springtime as it wakes up with it's deeper root system and a big eater, and I would add some N for that round 1 app.
  2. greenstar lawn

    greenstar lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

    So that's why kbg doesn't green up until after spring? I have some lawns that I cut and it won't be until later May that it will green up.
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  3. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    Hey Smallaxe,

    The late season app is Urea and Potassium Sulfate. We use the Nitrates here when the soils are warmer, though in smaller doses than you would think, to avoid the pitfalls you mention.

    The late season app does not need to be such a large dose as the Professors from top Ag Universities once guided us to do, and we do not want so much "Top Growth" the following spring, that the root system is almost exhuasted from stored carbohydrate, so that the turfgrass cannot defend itself against stressors like heat and disease.

    We want the grass to have greater carbohydrate stores, and we use the shorter days and longer nights and the positive effects this has with turf storing more food in it' rootsystem. This is why we use the Late Season Fertilization system. Apply the art to the theory "fine tuned" and you get earlier spring green up without too much topgrowth, AND with these benefits you will be able to skip the early spring Nitrogen fert app.

    We in New Jersey have taken a step in the right direction with the new laws and the Fertilizer Applicator testing will help to make more aware of the Effect(s) of fertilization.....Not only does it make the turfgrass "Greener" in color.
  4. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358


    Depends on the Cultivar of KB. Some will green up sooner than others, and the KB has an Intermediate (Deeper) rooting habit and the soil is colder, as you go deeper.

    Just when your other cool season grasses are beginning greenup, you could apply some Potassium Nitrate or Calcium Nitrate on KB, and that will speed up the greening process a week or two.

    If you have ever seen the effect of a bad septic leach field with KB growing over it come early spring, you will see a result of Nitrate N.
  5. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,160

    I'm glad to hear someone else thinks this way. :)
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That is exactly the opposite of what the idea of burning up stored carbs in the Spring is all about... you are promoting the burning up of stored carbs becuz you want to force the plant to green up earlier than the environmental factors say so...
    What is being said here is that we need to allow the plant to do what the life processes of the plant were designed to do... we don't improve the health of any living thing by imposing unnatural activities through the stages of its life cycle... the point being made is that using N to force early greenup is the same as using steriods to enhance performancein the moment

    What happens to the bones and other bodily function to those who divert from the natural processes of healthy living and take steriods instead???
    If it is too cold for KBG to greenup, then it's too cold... if N forces it unnaturally, then that is by definition unhealthy,,, IMO... :)
  7. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    Thanks Barry.
  8. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    It is a subjective subject Smallaxe and I will not debate it.

    Plants do have a hormonal balance and placing small amounts of available form Nitrate, when roots are growing is not the same thing as a dosing of Steroids. We are not applying a dose of gibberellic acid (plant steroid) to push top growth.

    Prescription fertilization for enhancement as I perform for KB is done in moderation. It's not in high doses, rather it is "Spoon Fed" when the roots can take it up.

    Late season fertilization does not need such high rates of Nitrogen as once prescribed by the University Professors.

    We continue to learn and move forward, bridging the gap to a "Greener" lifestyle.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    That is the question we are discussing... when can the roots take it up in the cool soils of Fall and also Spring...

    Do you believe that force feeding N at inappropriate times equals detrimental effects???

    Think about the analogy of "High Energy Feed" for chickens... Does high energy feed influence the health of the organism...

    We aren't even close to talking about gibberilin, but only using an analogy of how imposing contrary stimulations at the inappropriate time may indeed cause problems... best of all,,, is when there is a logical botanical reas on why...

    I'm not looking for an arguement either,,, not at all... what would be cool is an in-depth discussion about what the OSU research was actually talking about... I may have to start a post on that article and see if there is an analysis that makes sense to everyone... :)
  10. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,358

    Talking about cool season turfgrass N uptake, so long as the soils are not frozen and the grass not yet dormant, my personal experience is their is a response to late season fert. Root, foliar or both is the question for the University Professors.

    Too high a dose of Nitrogen at the inappropriate time Does has negitive effects.

    I do not believe "spoon feeding" with a small available dose, and a response soon after would be malpractice on KB.

    I always rather underapply Mineral Ferts than overapply. More times than not "less is more" in the overall turfgrass health, and there are other ways to enhance turfgrass color to be a darker green without such an impact on the enviornment in my opinon.

    Where are the Professors to join in the discussion?

    After all they were the ones who set the "Nitrogen bar so high" not so many years ago.

    Many just followed their "cookie cutter" approach, and now it's frouned upon and even against the law here in New Jersey to apply those rates of Nitrogen.

    Back in 2008 when the economy went south, some of us had to get creative with costs, yet still give clients results. I for one found a way before the Nitrogen restricting laws here in NJ to get the green with less.

    K, S and Fe were some Key elements to help with my stratagy in 2009- present.

    I am still using late season fertilization, but far less N in the mix.

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