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update on seasonal application rates of fertilizer

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by barefoot lawns, Jun 30, 2002.

  1. barefoot lawns

    barefoot lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Here is more info on my request for fertilizer application rates.

    Soil is sandy. Grass is blend of bluegrass/fescue/ryegrass. PH level is 7.9, P level is medium, K level is medium. Home is on lake with ban on phosphorus.

    I would like two programs. Low maintenance and high maintenance.

    Thanks for your help.
  2. lawnstudent

    lawnstudent LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 472

    barefoot lawns,

    your pH is going to be a big problem. With soil this alkaline your turf will encounter nutrient deficiency problems with phosphorus, boron, copper, zinc, iron (big time), manganese (big time) and aluminum. The pH level needs to be lowered for an effective fert program to work. Use sulfur to lower your pH. Make sure the fert you use also has chelated iron and manganese to overcome pH induced nutrient deficiencies.

    Sand has a low CEC. This means nutrients are not held by your soil. Also, leaching is a problem. I would recommend you reduce the amount of NK applied per app and increase the number of apps (just like golf coarses do for their sand based golf greens). This will ensure lawn gets nutrients needed and you minimuize leaching risk.

    A low maintenance lawn might only require 2 - 3 lbs. N per M a year. You could offer four to six apps a year at 1/2 lb. N per M app. High maintenance: 3 - 4 lbs. of N per M per year. Again at 1/2 lb. per M per app you would need 6 to 8 apps per year.

    Most lake lots have trees and, therefore, shade. You did not mention this in your post. With shade you would reduce the overall N by 1 lb. N per M per year. So go with the lower N values (2 or 3 lbs. per M per year). Also, you did not mention if the lawn is mulch mowed. Mulch mowing returns N to the soil so reduce the lb. N per M per year again by 1 lb. This should yield a low mant. requirement of 1lb. N per M per year applied twice at 1/2 lb. rates. A high end maint. of 2 lb. per M per year applied four times per year at 1/2 lb. rates. Of coarse these latter two recommendations assume a shaded lawn and mulch mowed.

    Fert ratio should be 3-1-2 if not mulch mowed (but you have a P restriction so look for 3-0-2). If mulch mowed, look for 4.3-0-2.4 ratio. These are maintenance ratios that should keep your K at the medium level. Test soil every three years and adjust K if it falls below medium level.

    N source should be at least 25% slow release. I personnaly like 50 - 60% slow release forms. Spread your apps out throughout season. Don't overload spring with a lot of N apps for fear of disease. Don't fert in middle of summer unless lawn recieves regular watering.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.


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