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Preffered Brand of Fertilizer

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by MacKenzie, Jan 20, 2003.

  1. MacKenzie

    MacKenzie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    Okay Guys,

    I am starting up a landscape service this year, and was wondering what your preferences are on fertilizer. We have always used Scott's on our lawn ( about an acre of beatiful Kentucky Bluegrass ) and we've had great results.

    Based upon some of the search's I've done on this forum, it seems as though there is a negative view of Scotts. What do you guys think, and is it cost-effective? I know that there are other brands which are considerably cheaper, but I have always had excellent success with Scotts. I've always believed there really was something to their "all-in-one particle" approach. Maybe, a bit naive, but as I mentioned we've had excellent results.

    My program will ultimately consist of a mix of both dry and liquid applications with some organic ammendments for the soil. I am still working on the numbers now so I don't have the specifics to post.

    So, what is your fertilizer of choice??

    Thanks for any input.
  2. greenngrow

    greenngrow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 403

    I am going to get this out of the way...

    Are you license and Certified to apply fert and pesticides.

    If the answer is yes then go with what works for you. Personally I think that Scotts is to costly and I can't compete with the other in my area.

    This is a strong warning to the new guys that have joined the site in the last few months. The app biz is going to get very regulated in a short period of time. EPA is watching us and is going to start regulating this industry with a stronger arm.

    Get your P's And Q's in order and don't mess up by not having your proper papers.....:angel:
  3. MacKenzie

    MacKenzie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    I was going to mention it in the first post, but decided to save space...

    Yes, I am currently in the process to get my app license, and I am fully insured. As, I mentioned, I am starting out this season in business - but have had years of experience, in landscaping, irrigation & lawn care.

    I was just curious about what other guys go with.

    Hope your satisfied.

  4. Chuck Sinclair

    Chuck Sinclair LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 336

  5. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Fertilizer is the most misunderstood thing in our Industry. Yet it is the single most important thing we can do the help our plants express themselves to their fullest.

    Fertilizer is a commodity the same as pork bellies, corn, wheat, gas and oil. Fertilizer companies buy fertilizer elements and blend or mix it together. They put it in a bag with their name on it and now they have to sell it.

    The name on the bag doesn't matter Plants can't read. What does matter is what is in that bag. So the real Question you should be asking is what blends of fertilizer should I use? And should I use a slow release if so what percent?

    No one on this website can tell you what blends of fertilizer to use let alone which company to buy it from. Anyone who claims to know what you need is either selling fertilizer or is so stupid they believe everything their local fertilizer salesman tells them.

    So what do you use???? Your State University will have more information than anybody. Your local county extension agent will know your area and it's soil. They are your best resource and they have no cross to burn or profit to make. They will give you a schedule for when and what. If you need to pull a soil sample they will help you.

    After you find what blends to use then be a businessman and shop apples to apples. Remember the bigger the brand name the higher the price. Don't fall for the "we are the experts" Your State University is the expert. You county extension agent is their local guy.

    As sure as I have written 7 paragraphs about fertilizer some idiot will post a fertilizer company’s name and say they are all knowing. That only shows how dumb they are. It is your choice as to whom to believe, Your State University or some yard boy on the net. And yes I am some yard boy on the net so believe me or not.
  6. healthylawn.net

    healthylawn.net LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Take that advise with a grain of salt. Extention agents are sometimes filled with antiquated information and mostly tell you exactly what you can read on the Universities' web sites. Fertilizers are fertilizers, but you should talk to companies like lesco or local fert companies in your state about their basic options. Evaluate price, company reputation and if they would deliver free and in a timely fashion. I suggest taking a few soil samples from target areas and analyze the compostition (sandy, clay, loam). Email or call the local extention agent, university professors, and companies like lesco and other fert companies with your results. Compare the options and make your decision from there.

    I have found that a number of ferts fit my 5 round program. First round is a Lesco fertilizer plus Preemergent. Second through fifth round is a well-balanced product that gives the lawn a steady diet of available nutrients. My product is 24-5-11 with 3.5% Fe, 7% sulfer and balanced micronutrients. Our soil is mostly sandy and high pH. Great results on our Bluegrass. Personally I feel organics are overrated in many cases. 1. Your not going to change the soil makup without adding real amendments and 2.the plant does not know that the nutrients are coming from synthetics or organics.
  7. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Must be another regional fluke in discussions here. Perhaps some states have "antiquated" extension services, but I haven't found any yet. A local county extension agent most likely will not be a turfgrass specialist. But he will know the soils of your area. Not everyone in the office, of course; you need to find the one who does.

    And the extension turfgrass specialist, usually a teacher at the land grant university where the whole state extension service is based, is likely the most knowledgeable man in your state on turfgrass in general. He can refer you to other specialists in the extension service on almost whatever question you can come up with. If one thinks the local extension office is the whole extension service, one does not understand what the cooperative extension service is.

    These guys and gals run the real education in the state, do the research on new ideas in turfgrass, test manufacturers new products, and interact with others in other states on turfgrass developments. They are, above all, teachers. They are there for anyone who wants to learn. Our extension turfgrass specialist was just taken away last year by the USGA, to head golf turf research; guess he knew a little bit about turf? IMHO, it takes one heck of an ego to blow these people off!
  8. greenngrow

    greenngrow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 403

    I didn't want to seem like a know it all but I had to ask.... On this site as you propably have read there are a lot of guys asking questions that don't know the rules.... Again I apologize...

    NOW for Ric,
    Let me see you must have a relative in the Extension Service or a Lifer your self. Have to agree with some of your comments, But man give the dealers a break. Hey I like to bash the big name guys to .... But give them credit they are where they are for a reason. My background is both Extension service and A fertilizer dealer (on the Ag side). I was a county agent for a coulple of years. Now I am in the dealer postion..

    The local county agent is a limited background in turf area in most areas. Now you may find one in a more a urban area. But mine is very limited.

    Mark if you want some straight up advice please e-mail and I will glad to discuss the brands
  9. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969

    Greenngrow I am glad someone agrees with me a little. 17.5 year in Agi for the state and military time makes 21 year vested retirement. No not the extension service. The FARM. Now I have small landscape business and do a little teaching and guest speaking.

    Yes maybe I am a little hard on the Snake oil salesman. But the truth is most, not all, don't know shinola. How can the uneducated get the truth? How and where? I answered that in my first post in this thread. Jim Groundkpr I think backed me up on this point. While at the same time the uneducated yard dogs will condemn me.

    Ok Mark I will give you straight answer. The fertilizer I like and find works for me is Ric's N-P-K-Ca-S-Mg-Fe-Mn-B-Cu-Zn-Mo fertilizer.

    The reason I like it is because of the following that is copyed and pasted from my website and copyrighted under my name

    Nitrogen, N, causes cell elongation and division (growth). It is important for the development of all tissue in a plant, but it is most important for leaf growth Nitrogen fully translocates systemically within the plant and leaches readily from the soil. Pound for pound it is one of the cheapest fertilizer chemicals to produce and shows the greatest response (green) in plants. For this reason fertilizer manufacturers overuse this product.

    Nitrogen Deficiencies, cause reduced growth rate of the entire plant, then loss of color on the older leaves. Then older leaves turn yellow and a general decline occurs on the entire plant.

    Phosphorus, P, is important in root development, flowering, fruiting, and germination. Phosphorus fully translocates systemically within the plant and is subject to leaching in the soil depending on its form. The Jacksonville area of Florida. has a problem with phosphorus contamination. Our area is rich in phosphorus and it has been mined here since the 1890s to the present. Most fertilizer blends sold in our area are low in phosphorus. The need for high phosphorus blend fertilizer is new sod, sod plugs, gardenias, and bird of paradise plants.

    Phosphorus Deficiencies, cause purpling of lower leaves first, then move on up the plant and reduce flower production.

    Potassium, K, develops vascular flow, which is important for flowering, stem strength, vigor, disease resistance and overall hardiness. Its most important contribution is root development for drought stress resistance. Potassium fully translocates systemically in the plant. Potassium leaches readily from the soil. I personally like to use potassium on a one to one ratio with nitrogen even though it is a more expensive fertilizer.

    Potassium Deficiencies, first cause yellowing between veins of older leaves, then yellow specks in the veins. Leaves finally turn brown on the outside margin.

    Calcium, Ca, is essential for plant strength. Calcium does not translocate within a plant, nor does it leach from the soil. Luckily our soil has more than its share of calcium. Calcium nitrite is the cure for weak flushes of growth and fruit rotting at blossom end. It helps high traffic area turf.

    Calcium Deficiencies, cause weak stem growth or growth of soft leaves.

    Sulfur, S. functions with nitrogen to produce growth and photosynthesis. Sulfur compounds helps to reduce pH. Acid forming fertilizers are important in our area and use sulfur or sulfur combined material. The label on fertilizer will state whether sulfur is free or combined. Sulfur does not translocate in the plant but does leach out of the soil.

    Sulfur Deficiencies, first cause yellowing on new growth then the entire plants slows its growth. Finally the plant goes into decline. If you have ever put fertilizer on turf and had areas grow but turn yellow, you have seen what a sulfur deficiency can do. Sometimes if we leave these areas alone they green up. The reason is that nitrogen breaks down in the soil first and is in useable form before sulfur.

    Magnesium, Mg. Commonly available as Epson's salt is more important in maintaining green on older leaves but also helps new tissue. It helps in photosynthesis and helps to green up plants. Magnesium is mobile in the plant or translocates. It also readily leaches from the soil I have personally found it to make strawberries sweeter but cannot prove that.

    Magnesium Deficiencies, cause older leaves to show yellowing between the veins. It looks like yellow triangles if you step back. On palm trees older fronds will yellow or brown early. Palm trees that have long ground sweeping green fronds do not have Magnesium or Manganese deficiencies

    Boron, B, is essential to development of new tissues. It does not translocate in the plant. and does not readily leach from the soil.

    Boron Deficiencies, cause interveinal or tip and marginal yellowing on new leaves as well as distorted and brittle, small leathery leaves.

    Copper, Cu. is essential to development of new tissues. It does not translocate in the plant and it does not readily leach from the soil.

    Copper Deficiencies, cause young leaves to become cupped, wrinkled or roughened. New leaves yellow overall or between veins and tip burn can be present. New twigs die back.

    Zinc, Zn. is essential to development of new tissue. It does not trans-locate in the plant and it does not readily leach from the soil. Yes, this is word for word the same as B Cu and Mo.

    Zinc Deficiencies, cause yellowing between veins on newest leaves first. New growth is tiny pointed narrow leaves.

    Molybdenum, Mo. is essential for development of new tissue. It does not translocate in the plant and it does not readily leach from the soil.

    Molybdenum Deficiencies, lead to distorted new leaves and stems. B., Cu., Zn., and Mo. all show the same or similar signs of deficiencies. These elements are generally sold as a minor element package, either liquid, water soluble power or granular. It is not important to know which element is deficient. Only to, treat the signs with minor elements.
  10. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Oh, yes, Mark. Email me too, so I can feed you in the dark.

    Or you could go to your state extension service at http://www.umassextension.org/ and see if they are helpful. Turf links at bottom of this page: http://www.umassextension.org/topics/gardening.html . You might even want to check what other states are doing, here's ours: <a href="http://www.agry.purdue.edu/turf/publicat.htm">Purdue Turf Publications</a>. And here's a link to find all states' extension services: http://www.reeusda.gov/1700/statepartners/usa.htm

    You might even want to hit <a href="http://www.nertf.org/show/index.shtml">The New England Regional Turfgrass Foundation Sixth Annual Regional Conference & Trade Show</a>. These conferences are a great way to get good info for your area.

    But remember, it's all just information. How do you tell what's right for you? You will usually get better information if you go after it, rather than just taking what someone wants to give you. I wouldn't even know where to start telling someone hundreds of miles away the specifics of how to manage his turf; there are dramatic differences just 100 miles away from me, LOL.

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