Penn State Lawn Program - Question

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by mc1169, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. mc1169

    mc1169 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    In August last year I sent a soil sample to Penn State for analysis. It came back that all my levels were in line (no lime required, etc) and they suggested I use a fertilizer with a 20-27-5 mix. This most closey mirrored either scotts or lesco's starter fertilizer mix which can be found at Home Depot. They also suggested I apply it three times a year: early fall, late fall and early winter. I did this and of course my lawn looked awesome in the fall and spring of this year. However now that its June and it hasn't been fertilized since November, the color is horrible. It use to be a nice dark green but now its become lite green.

    Does anyone agree with the above program of fall feedings only? I'm beginning to think that perhaps this program isn't what will make my lawn look best but what is most agro-friendly.

    I'll post tonight with the actual levels that came back once I find the soil analysis.

    Thanks for your help!
  2. stryper

    stryper LawnSite Member
    from IL
    Messages: 137

    Their recommendation seems to be pretty much in line with accepted practices for cool season grasses. As long as you are letting your clippings lie, your lawn is getting at least some nitrogen, so that shouldn't be a major problem. What you might want to consider is throwing down some iron to help green it up until your next feeding, which I'm guessing is going to be late August-early September. Something like Ironite would work, as would somethig like Lesco 5-10-31, which might actually be better, as it will boost your potassium (K) levels, making your turf more heat and drought tolerant.

    Just a thought. :drinkup:
  3. mc1169

    mc1169 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    Soil pH: 6.5 (Optimum)
    Phosphorus: 39 ppm (Below Optimum)
    Potassium: 172 ppm (Optimum)

    Fertilizer (choose one):
    20-27-5 @ 5.0 lb/1000 sq.ft.
    18-25-6 @ 5.5 lb/1000 sq.ft.
    18-24-12 @ 5.5
    17-23-6 @5.75
    16-21-4 @ 6.25
    16-12-4 @ 6.25
    11-25-11 @ 9.0
    10-23-10 @ 10.0

    And after re-reading the document (its been almost a year) I realized it said, "Apply once in mid-spring (May), once in late summer (Sept), and once in the late fall (November)." So I'll have to throw some down tomorrow.

    Any suggestions as to which of the above might be best?

    And for you chemistry nerds I'll include the rest of the readings from the report that mean nothing to me:

    Exchangeable Cations (meq/100g)
    P lb/A: 78
    Acidity: 2
    K: .44
    Mg: 2.28
    Ca: 8.00
    CEC: 12.7
    K: 3.5 (yes, again)

    % Saturation of the CEC
    K: 3.5
    Mg: 17.9
    Ca: 62.9

    Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions...

    VWBOBD LawnSite Member
    Messages: 223

    hit it with the 20-27-5, this should get your phosphate up where it need to be
  5. Pittsburgh Panther

    Pittsburgh Panther LawnSite Member
    from N.W. Pa
    Messages: 94

    Nov. ? If that is true that is your problem.
  6. mc1169

    mc1169 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    Yes, I haven't fed since November. I use to feed my lawn 4x's a year...but again, I hadn't read the PSU soil analysis since last year and I thought it said to only feed three times in the fall. I basically missed my May feeding which explains why it lost its "greeness" right around May...I plan on hitting it tonight after I mow it...

    Anyone still think using ironite is worth it?


  7. stryper

    stryper LawnSite Member
    from IL
    Messages: 137

    From The Lawn Bible by David Mellor, head groundskeeper at Fenway:

    I'm not an expert, but according to my Lesco guys, iron is what they use on professional baseball fields to give it a quick greenup, especially before a homestand. (To be fair, they use a liquid chelated iron product, not Ironite.) Now, I did happened to catch a glimpse of Busch Stadium last year will the 'Birds were out of town, and the field did look awful. A few days later when they were back, the field was as green as ever.

    So, is it necessary? You're call. But if it's good enough for them....:cool2:
  8. Pittsburgh Panther

    Pittsburgh Panther LawnSite Member
    from N.W. Pa
    Messages: 94

    Also, the hight at which you cut your grass makes a big difference in color later in the season. Heck everybody grass looks green in the early spring. I cut mine between 3.25 and 3.5. The reason for the difference I cut my shade grass area a the higher length. I would fertilize your grass 3 or 4 times a year. If it is three times a year I would fertilize in May, Sept and Late Oct. or Early Nov.(Winterizer). Your times might be little more spread out because your weather is warmer than mine. I would probably go with 4 times in your area. April, June, Sept(late when it finally cools), and Nov. (winterizer). This is just my two cents and hopefully helps. Definitely cut higher if you are not this will help by itself.

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