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Tall fescue and other cool season grasses

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by DeepGreenLawn, May 15, 2009.

  1. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,372

    Question, as most of you know we have some tall fescue lawns here. Nothing else "cool season" will grow due to our heat.

    One of my guys called who does a lot of R&D for me and said he was reading that fescue should not be fertilized past March 15th and then picked back up again in the fall, septemberish? That fertilizing in the summer only causes more weed problems and the turf doesn't benefit.

    I said that I agreed to a point. Fescue gets stressed as it is with our heat and fertilizer should be cut WAY back due to not hurt it any more than necessary. Last year I used my MUCH more expensive organic fert on my fescue lawns whether they were organic or not just to help the fescue get through the summer. I am not pounding it with N or anything like that by any means.

    What are your thoughts? Does the fescue need a little fert through the summer or should the emergency brake be pulled until the temps start to fall again? Does the little bit of fert help at all?

    When we talk about compost... should that still be applied as well? I know there will be benefits from the CEC sites and OM that will be applied but beyond that what will the fescue do with the nutrients available? Again, I know if it doesn't need it it will sit until it does, but is there any benefit to making these apps or should they be put off till early fall and save the customers a little money?

    And... last one... with my split customers who have bermuda front, fescue rear... how would you properly handle these not only by means of apps but would you charge for a full app or cut it down to the front only for the bermuda?

    Everyone else around here does apps all year round. I tell my guys that no matter what it is, we look at it as though there are no other companies that do what we do with fresh eyes. Whether it is looking at truck set ups and equipment or applications rates and/or amount of apps per year. I know things are done for a reason but I want to make sure we aren't doing things blindly for no reason because "thats just how its done."

  2. JDUtah

    JDUtah LawnSite Silver Member
    from UT
    Messages: 2,636

    Be careful when using synthetic advice on an organic program.
  3. DeepGreenLawn

    DeepGreenLawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,372

    Exactly... something I am trying to show to my new guys... they unfortunately, like all of us, still have this idea of so many lbs of N/1000. It is not easy to change that mind set but these guys are new so there isn't too much retraining to be done. And I am taking the guys down to trees class with me so they can really hit it hard with them there.

    All of these "bandaids" unfortunately that are organic still have the NPK mindset so it just adds to the frustration....

    It will come along eventually...
  4. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

  5. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Just how quickly does soil lose fertility?!??!!! Soluable N + Heat + Drought = Stress for Fescue.

    If you have fertile soil, and the fescue wants some N in the summer, it will get it...
    Soluable N = burn , even in Wisco.... even with KBG

    JD, was right - this is definately synthetic mindset - thinking inside the box
  6. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,334

    Compost is a soil amendment. If your soil needs OM, then put down some compost, and keep putting down compost until you hit your desired SOM %. If water ain't moving through the profile, then nothing else is either (top down).
  7. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,149

    In NJ during the summer I use Nutrients PLUS Dynamic Duo 4-3-1 (composted poultry manure & EPA Exceptional Quality Biosolids) at 10lbs/1000k to build organic matter. In the fall I top dress with compost for those who can afford it.

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