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Which Fall Fertilizer Should I Use?

Discussion in 'Fertilizer Application' started by joed, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,562

    You have to read the bag carefully.
    The Pennington 29-0-5 "slow release" may be within the law--but the label is intended to fool you. It contains 6.8 percent coated slow release nitrogen. And sometimes due to rough handling--some of the coated granules are already cracked--and thereby useless as coated fertilizer.
    Consider Scotts to be the highest price, and highest quality (at consumer outlets).
    Applied now, most of that product would be used up and absorbed by the roots in the fall.
  2. lawn2012start

    lawn2012start LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    yes I know how the marketing game is. the big names have money to promote products and people see that and say hey this is good.

    I will be reseeding. while a smaller part has been completely restored with new top soil and all.
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The thing about P in fertilizer and how it is supposed to be so necessary for new seedlings is another ***** in the armor of "Traditional Lawncare"...

    P, is actually bound up in virtually all soils in the country... and the roots need to come in contact with certain fungi to aid in mining the P from those soils...

    Adding mineral P to the soil adds more boundup P to what's already there and the 'available' stuff may be used by the grass,,, actually reduces the AM Fungi that will be necessary to feed the grassroots over the long term...

    It really doesn't matter what kind of fertilizer you put down,,, just remember that we got where we are today, by continuing to add more and more until we got the color we like...

    I use mostly quick release with 5 X more N than K for winterizer and its already been applied once... :)
  4. lawn2012start

    lawn2012start LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    yeah a lot of things have the default way doing it not just lawncare.

    I used a liquid humic acid and kelp and applied several times if that means anything.

    I got a liquid organic fertilizer from natureslawn

    16-4-8. didnt know if I should go over the grass I planed recently with that when the next application is needed.

    now I didnt want to hit the grass with after it has been planted a little over a week ago because....

    they say high N means too much top growth in the "lawncare treating"
  5. Skipster

    Skipster LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    I'm not sure that we're talking about the right question, to begin with. I think we should be talking about "how much to fertilize" in the fall, not "what fert should I use."

    The OP asked about high N or low N analysis, but this is only important when determining how many bags you need to ge tthe job done. The standard fertilizer recommendation for cool season grasses is 3.5 to 4# N/M/yr, then P and K as needed by soil test.

    To answer the OP, I would start by asking how much fert he's applied to the lawn already. If he's already exceeded 3 to 4# N/M this year, I might suggest either no N fert or 0.5# N/M. If he's not exceeded 3#, I might suggest that a September application could be 1# N/M of something with a blend of quick and slow release, just to keep the N available throughout the end of the season.

    If he can't fertilize until October or November, I might suggest 0.5# N/M at that time, but kep it all quick release. Because all slow release forms depend either temperature or microbial activity to release, they won't release their nutrients to the turf much (if at all) and often get washed into streams and drains by fall rains or spring snow melt.

    Now, whether you use a 12%N product or 30%N product is really unconsequential, as long as you're applying only the nutrients you need and in the amounts that you need. If your soil test shows that you don't need any P or K, you could fertilize with urea and call it good. Adding K only helps winter hardiness if K was limiting in the soil. If you K level is OK (100 to 150# K/A), then adding more K doesn't increase winter hardiness and simply wastes your money.
  6. lawn2012start

    lawn2012start LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    oh ok great info. set a lot of things straight. thanks. what company is the soil test facility you guys say is good.
  7. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,562

  8. lawn2012start

    lawn2012start LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    what exactly should I get tested there are a lot of options.
  9. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    It is generally not good to overthink every possible scenario of every aspect of lawn care, in that grass is the simplest plant to grow on the planet... in fact it grows real well on its own and only struggles when we try to interrupt its normanl growth pattern becuz we know better...

    most of the overkill done by lawn guys is for the purpose of making money, not becuz the turf needs it...
  10. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,562

    I would say look under horticulture, Lawn and garden test, the S-10 test is suited to your situation.

    I suspect you do not need to check for excess salt in the soil.
    Study where it says "View sample report".

    The main things you need to know are the levels of potash, the levels of phosphorus, and the lime requirement.
    Nitrogen is not usually tested because it depends on how much nitrogen fertilizer was applied in the last few days.

    The soil scientists on here can advise you on the details regarding how often you may need to apply, whether or not you need to add organic matter, modify your soil, micro nutrients, and their favorite forms of nitrogen.

    Also check their "Fact sheets " for more detailed information, the science behind their tests, basic soil science. Sheet number 10 is ideal.
    Except I am not sure I agree when the sheet says something like "...Potassium s not leached from the soil, and can be built up to high levels. "
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012

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