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slow release fertilizer for Bermuda lawns

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by Turfdoctor1, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. Turfdoctor1

    Turfdoctor1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 707

    This questions pertains strictly to those managing Bermuda lawns.

    My first fertilizer application has been an absolute mess. We got a late freeze, knocking back the bermuda at least a month. I made my first application at the middle to end of may with a 50% slow release fertilizer (30-0-8). Our fertilizer applicator laws prohibit any phosphorous inputs without a soil test deeming it necessary. Like I mentioned, this round was an absolute disaster for me.

    How many of you guys use strictly quick release products versus slow release? Do you try to use quick release at the beginning of the growing season and get it bumped up and then taper off to the slow release products? Any input is appreciated.

  2. ampeg76

    ampeg76 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 297

    i use slow release all the way

    without coated urea, its all surge growth and quick color response, followed by a quick loss of color, leaching, and a less healthy turf!
  3. quiet

    quiet LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 720

    . . . it depends on the weather. We were in a severe drought when Round 1 (early March) started so I used a 14-2-7 30% Organic, MU and plain Urea mix - 50% slow release. Mid way thru Round 1 we got 8" of rain.

    Round 2 (mid-April) the weather was perfect. Temps in 70's, frequent rain, so 21-0-0 was perfect.

    Round 3 (last week) was much warmer (90's) so back to the 14-2-7. Round 4 will be the same. . . it'll probably be hot here in mid to late July!

    Round 5 in mid/late Sept . . . gonna hafta see. 21-0-0 probably . . . hopefully!
  4. Turfdoctor1

    Turfdoctor1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 707

    thanks guys.

    i think the weather was the problem. lots of rain.
  5. ThreeWide

    ThreeWide LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    Too bad you have phosphorous restrictions, because I've found that Bermuda seems to need that during greenup. In 2005 I used a starter fert, then in 2006 went without the P and had poor results. This year turned out well with a generous rate of 20-10-10. You do need a good amount of soluble N during the first treatment to get things going. After that, I like a mix of N sources depending on weather conditions.

    Exactly how much soluble versus slow release N needed depends on the structure of your entire program. The number of days between apps is also a factor.

    The majority of the products sold by the major distributors have a percentage of urea and a percentage of SCU. Most of the time, it is a larger percentage of urea.

    Uflexx is a good substitute for straight urea since it has a more stable release pattern. Then add some SCU to that to lengthen the span of your application. Moisture will influence how well these work. I had this custom blended for the program this year, the results of it are not yet fully known.

    Nitroform (UF) can be used in dry conditions without concern of burn. During dry soil conditions, it will not release as the microbes become less active. It will not cause surge growth during wet periods, which is one of the benefits. UF has a very slow release pattern, so it is good as a supplement to your other N sources. It fits well into the Summer applications when all you need to do is maintain color. The only time I would consider using it as a primary N source (38-0-0) would be in very dry conditions. If you need to get the apps done, that is the safer route to go.

    UF also works well in late Summer to avoid providing too many nutrients as Fall approaches. Since the UF releases as long as the soil temperature stays up, you avoid over feeding when the turf prepares for dormancy. Too much N late in the season is a good scenario for Spring Dead Spot.

    MU also depends microbes but is a shorter chain release pattern and MESA is comparable to that as well. Performance of these also depends on your soil CEC.

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