"Your aerator gave my lawn grubs"

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by mikesturf, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    Yes. And if you are serious on your end, you have successfully been brainwashed by someone else who made money by your efforts!
    I'll bet you're a graduate of 'TGCL Lawn Care 101' , am I right?
  2. buttaluv

    buttaluv LawnSite Senior Member
    from MidWest
    Messages: 572

    I wonder if people realize just how damn dumb they are...or if they do realize it, and just have nothing else to think about...or are trying to get something for free..
  3. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    Actually, I always ran a blended fertilizer until GUYS WITH DOCTORATES IN TURFGRASS TOLD ME IT WAS A WASTE. So you do your thing and I'll do mine. But I'm curious, why is straight urea so bad?

    And no, I've never worked for TGCL.
  4. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

    I've had over 25 years in the Green Industry, about 16 of that in turf alone, and this is my experience with 46-0-0 urea:

    If it's applied onto still growing turf grass, in early fall, it's a very dangerous scenario waiting to occur, the next spring or early summer! It may take about 6 months or more for the evidence of this mis-timed application to show up, but it often does. By the spring, though, the customer has no clue that anything that you could've done last fall would do anything then! And by then you've been paid, so you're happy, and you're probably clueless too!

    What actually happens is that when you apply such a 'blast' of N to STILL ACTIVELY GROWING turf in the fall, it uses some of it then, but stores too much of it. And the following spring these lawns have turf in them with cell walls that are incredibly thin, and stretched to the max compared to growing turf not hit with 46-0-0 the prior fall! On a microscopic level, disease spores are much more likely to enter into turf like that. And they do!

    Things that are more likely to be a problem in lawns that have had high fall applications of urea on GROWING TURF include brown patch (the worst one, I feel) pythium, and the proliferation (but not the 'starting' of) dollar spot.
    And bluegrass, ryegrass, fine fescue and TTT Fescue seem to take the brunt of it, in that order.

    Good thing you didn't work for TGCL. They're not even a lawn care company anymore, they're actually a global marketing conglomerate today, and nothing of the Green Industry leader they were 25-30 years ago.
  5. Gerry Miller

    Gerry Miller LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 504

    It is typically a waste of your money to apply urea or any other form of inorganic N late in the fall. Urea doesn't drive off bacteria, it can cause a bloom of some not-so-wonderful bacteria, and harms your fungi.

    Can urea supply N for microbes? Sure it can, but it typically arrives as nitrate, which is more beneficial for bacteria than fungi.

    Typically, in chemical soils, any N put down in the fall is lost before the next spring growth.

    If you have some soil life, then the added N might be held by the biology.

    Yep, adding organic N will result in nutrient cycling improving, and that added N will not be lost.

    Besides that Urea is a salt. Conventional perception of salt as being only sodium chloride (NaCl) is incorrect.

    Table salt, i.e., sodium chloride, is only one kind of salt.

    By definition salt is any material that dis-associates in water.

    That means that all salts have a positive and negative charge to the components that will easily be pulled apart by the hydrogen (positive charge which interacts with the negative charged portion of the salt compound) and the hydroxide (OH-, or negatively charged part of the water molecule which interacts with the positively charged part of the salt).

    The fact that the positive and negative charges interact means that the water molecule is removed from the pool of available water. That complexed water can't do what it is supposed to do inside a plant.

    Calcium chloride is a salt (Ca+ Cl2-). Calcium carbonate (lime, Ca+ CO3-) is a salt. Ammonium nitrate (NH4+ NO3-) is a salt. Calcium sulfate (gypsum, Ca+ SO4-) is a salt.

    All these materials basically remove water from the "pool" of water available to plants for their growth. This availability of water is measured as osmosity, or osmotic concentration. The higher the salt, the less water is actually available, the higher the osmotic concentration. If water with high amounts of salt dissolved in it is taken up by the plant, the high salt content will kill the plant.

    Now, the question of urea being a salt.

    Urea disassociates in water. So, end of story there with respect to the ability of urea to remove water from the pool of available water and increase osmotic concentration.

    Any urea containing material delivered in a solid form can be very detrimental to soil biology, depending on how much is applied, in large part because of the osmotic problems inherent in what salts do.

    If the urea is delivered already in solution, then things are a bit different, because water is part of the material being applied, and some of the salt problem is already neutralized. But again, it becomes a question of "how much" osmotic concentration is increased by the addition of this salt.
  6. ochoada

    ochoada LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    I respectfully disagree that Urea is a salt.

    Urea is an uncharged organic molecule (organic meaning contains oxygen, hydrogen and carbon). It's true that urea is very soluble in water but it does not dissociate in water to charged components. In the soil it does get acted on by a urease (enzyme) in which breaks it down eventually to ammonia and carbon dioxide which the turf can then use. Without the urease it would remain as urea dissolved in water. There are advantages and disadvantages of urea as a fert but being a salt is not one of them. I just felt that some of these chemistry/biochemistry points needed clarification.

  7. advantage landscaping

    advantage landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    Two things -

    1. urea is a type of salt because of what it breaks down into. You can also tell in a real-world scenario because urea is found, in form, in urine, which everybody knows is salty.

    2. An organic molecule only has to have Carbon - that's it. For instance CH4, or methane, is organic because of the carbon. H2O is not organic because there is no carbon. The molecule must have a carbon "skeleton" to it, but does not have to have anything else exclusively.
  8. Marcos

    Marcos LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,720

  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    No, I think it's somewhat a normal reaction.

    It would be like taking the car to a mechanic for an oil change, 1-2 weeks later it develops an OIL leak :laugh:
    If you're a DIY'er this should be easy to determine what happened, but for those not in the know how, whom would you think was responsible? Once you go through this once or twice thou, and if you trust your mechanic, you wouldn't actually accuse him or her... You would simply take the car back and let them find what is the problem.
    A competent mech would own up if it was his oil change that caused the oil to leak, fix the problem and have a nice day.
    But if it's something else then it might well cost a repair fee.

    So I do agree, after educating the customer in as nice a manner as possible they should trust you, otherwise better off gone.
  10. 44DCNF

    44DCNF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,826

    I see a new bumper sticker...Guns cause crime like aerators cause grubs

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