Transition zone fall fescue fertilization

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by grassmasterswilson, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Fanatic
    from nc
    Messages: 5,133

    Transition zone tall fescue fertilization post seeding.

    Guys I need some help. We have a pretty short window between seeding and cold weather and My new seeded lawns germinate well but get very little growth.

    Late sept/oct - aerate/seed/apply 4.15 lbs 18-24-12
    Mid nov - 1 lb N applied. Blend varies year to year

    First frost date is November 15 or so but heat of sept delays seeding(past 2 years warm/humid late stretch got some seedlings).

    So my wilso is short. Different starter fertilizer? Higher quicker release in November?
  2. jc1

    jc1 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,394

    You may not need to delay seeding in September due to heat. We start mid to late august. There is a big difference with the additional few weeks of growth verses lawns we do late September and October. We try to do 2 apps at 1 lb after seeding but before our fertilizer law prohibits us from applying any more.

    CHARLES CUE LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,730

  4. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Fanatic
    from nc
    Messages: 5,133

    Last few years I started just as temps started cooling down. The. Warm humid weather came and and I saw pythium or damping off. Maybe even brown patch take out lots of 1-2” seedlings.

    This year heat and drought got my first 10 or so lawns and we had to return to throw more seed.

    Life in transition zone I guess. Just wondering if fertility could be changed to get grass to grow more mature. I’d say we get 3-4” of total growth now before lawns stop growing?
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,033

    My suggestion (for cool season grass) is to sow seed when daytime highs drop below 85. Or...8 weeks before frost. About September 15 in your town.
    However, you said the weather can return to hot and humid where you live.
    If this does not work for you, fungicide is a possibility--as a seed treatment.

    Or spray later on. I suppose the spray treatment would be too costly and too late to stop a fast moving fungus problem.

    You are probably aware high night temps and overly wet conditions stimulate pythium.

    I am not sure--perhaps a heavy dose of Milorganite at the time of seeding would suit your situation. If not--perhaps a a starter fertilizer, plus a heavy dose of nitrogen in slow-release form would give the needed extra boost--and still be legal.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  6. KerbDMK

    KerbDMK LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,243

    I think most experts recommend a mostly quick release fertilizer just before cold weather hits because the lawn is able to use it up quickly before the lawn goes into dormancy. Any slow release that’s left over just doesn’t get used and is wasted.
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,033

    Good point Kerb. I don't know what the law restricts in North Carolina.
    Possibly worth a try. As Eric Miltner of the Koch seminar pointed out--most slow release products are temperature dependent--some are completely dependent on soil bacteria--very slow dissolution in cold weather.

    Strange, but I think I recall the Milorganite people suggesting a whole bag (40 pounds per 1000 M) when starting seed. In theory, at least, the N would not release until the soil temps were suited for grass growth. Methylene urea products like MESA might also fit this need.
  8. KerbDMK

    KerbDMK LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,243

    Your memory serves you well Riggle. Milorganite contains up to 20% fast release nitrogen. So when you put down a whole bag of it per 1000, when starting seed, the seed does get a healthy dose of quick release nitrogen.

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