sulfur as last application to prevent snow mold...?

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by Exact Rototilling, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    Excellent points doc and Skipster. Maintain your position Exact. Whether you elect to tell customers you have not seen it work or are a little more aggressive and show them research has to be up to you. I prefer to spend time and spread the word on what I believe does work. Having the grass as healthy as possible is your gig and dovetails nicely with helping maintain a degree of resistance.

    That said, if you care for turf that is succeptible you will know it in Spring. If that happens, you can expect it again under the right conditions. It is a bigger problem for golf turf than lawns, in my experience. I use fungicide the first winter for turf that was new that Fall. That's it. Never had anything I could not grow out without much trouble.
  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,793

    Or, Exact...take advantage of your competitor's free advertising. He has used his advertising to sell your customers. If they ask about it, they are ready to buy--pre-sold.
    Let them give you their money. And thank them.

    Are you planning on a liquid or granular application?

    Point out how Milorganite has .58 percent sulfur. And you can give them the added benefits of both. Then you are like your competitors, but better.

    You could include a micronutrient package with sulfur, because that might actually do some good. Or perhaps apply your sulfur as sulfur-coated urea. Or calcium sulfate (gypsum), if your soils might need it on the average. Or get them to allow you to include spreading seed that is resistant to snowmold.
  3. greendoctor

    greendoctor LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,122

    Sulfur can burn foliage under the right conditions. There is labeling for some sulfur products to treat powdery mildew, rust and for management of Take All Patch. I use it strictly for soil pH correction and for supplementing sulfur levels when soil tests indicate a need. What kind of grass do you have out there? 100% KBG or colonial bent? Those fungicides I mentioned were evaluated for protection of bent grass golf greens and came out as the top performers. I am with Riggle. Would rather apply something that the grass can use. More like a moderate nitrogen liquid with potassium and micronutrients. I remember a past discussion about a liquid winterizer application. My suggestion was the above formula. It there is true disease pressure, one of the effective fungicide treatments should go in the tank as well.
  4. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Messages: 2,257

    Sulfur is somewhat unpredictable as a fungicide. Sure it has some of those properties in that it lowers the pH to kill the fungi--however it will only have this effect IF the pH is under 5.6 and needs warm soil to be activated. Not a winter time game. One risks a dropping of pH so low that the and fertilize and nutrients will be locked up grass will thin or even die. A better solution would be the Heritage mix that Greendoctor recommended. Sulfur lying on the top of the ground in winter is also prone to interactions of other AI's that would be used in the spring such as pre-em. The two do not play well together--another prossible dead turf issue. I've seen all the above and would urge to think it through. Replacing sod would eliminate any profit from the sulfur application. Do your homework with a soil test with pH and check the buffering before amending the soil. You may be surprised. We don't have "Snow Mold" in the south, however the actions on fungi do not change that much.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
  5. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Excellent feedback and input.

    I'm going to call this competitor today from my son's phone for a fishing expedition on what product he is using.
    Dry or liquid and a bunch of other questions.

    Just for the record I only use dry fertilizer product and am limited to spot spraying for weeds only.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
  6. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Okay...almost a year later...I found out what product one of my competitors is using to supposedly prevent snow mold.

    I bought a #50 bag today to play with and experiment.

    What do you think...? Snake oil or Not...?
  7. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

  8. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

    Yet another one of my clients fell for this again this Fall.

    Even my fert salesman in a round about manner implied it was an unnessary upsell...being a former big Co. ap guy himself.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,793

    Good plan, Exact. Skip is right; soil pH is not hugely important for snowmold.
    So apply a strip of sulfur across your lawn and stand back and watch it smoke the snowmold (in the unlikely event that anything happens). Get photos--will it be greener? Will it have more effect than the sulfur already present in the sulfur-coated urea?
    Does any soil test in your area indicate a deficiency of sulfur? Tissue test?

    Keep in mind that bacteria prefer neutral pH values. Fungi prefer acidic conditions.

    Keep in mind that if you apply sulfur, you acidify the soil; soil becomes sour, more acid--many nutrients become you need to add lime to correct the acid soil conditions.

    Many fungicides costing hundreds of times more than sulfur are sometimes used for snowmold on golf courses (but only on the greens). I have never heard of golf course superintendents applying sulfur. They are highly-paid experts. Same situation on baseball and football fields, except the head groundskeeper and crew are paid more.

    Wettable sulfur was used as a fungicide on roses and grapes years ago--but it was applied as a suspension in water and only to the leaves--not to the soil.

    If the big company is applying sulfur for disease control on turf--then it is an illegal off-label use of a fungicide. Not on the label (and therefore not effective).
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  10. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    As noted in another post that excessive 'K' applied to the soil in the Fall actually changes the grass' chemistry to encourage the growth of snow mold...
    "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"... :)

Share This Page