Did I just ruin my lawn with too much fertilizer?

kgrantMay 6, 2012

This morning I put down Scotts Turfbuilder 2 with Weed Control (I believe it 28-0-0). This is my first time using it and for some reason, I bought the bag that was supposed to be used for 15,000 sq ft. I only have 5,000 sq ft. Is my lawn going to burn? Is there anything I can do to avoid damage? Should I water it to dilute it? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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tiemco

You should always water in synthetic fertilizer after application, especially if the grass is wet from dew in the morning. Give your yard a good drink if you haven't already done so.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 9:53AM
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grass1950

Don't Water, I'm told the longer nitrogen stays dry and exposed to sun the more it will disipate into the air and waste away. Not normally good as usually you want the nitro to get to the roots. The number 28 stands for the percent of nitrogen in the bag. By multiplying the weight of the bag by .28 you can determine how many pounds of nitrogen the bag contained. Multiplying the weight of the bag by .28 will give the total pounds of nitrogen in the bag. Say 50# X .28 = 14#. Now we devide that by the number of 1000 sq ft areas we want to cover. In your case: 14#/5 = 2.8#. It is not recommended to put down more than 1# at a feeding per month (I have read about some golf courses putting down a pound and a half). Your saving grace now will turn on the ratio of fast release and slow release nitrogen that was in that bag. The closer that the total pounds of fast release nitrogen is to 1# per 1000 sq ft of application the less the likely of damage.I'm going to take a guess that ol' Scotty probably doesn't put more than 50% fast release in.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:09AM
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kgrant

tiemco..the directions said not to water for 24 hrs because of the weed control. It needs to "stick" to the weeds.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:42AM
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grasshole

They also said to use on 15,000 sq. ft.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:49AM
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kgrant

very true. guess I am going to learn the hard way on this one.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:01AM
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globe199

I just bought this stuff yesterday, but haven't applied it due to the mixed reviews online. Some say it's great, other say it's terrible.

I'd be very interested to know how it goes for you. I won't be applying for a least a couple days because it's raining non-stop here. Thanks and good luck.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:07AM
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kgrant

grass1950...it was a 46 lb bag. Think I will be ok? I'm in MA. Looks like upper 60's to lower 70's for the next few days with some rain mixed in.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:08AM
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grass1950

Full disclosure. First, although I've done a lot of reading and research and have a number of years of rather intensive hands on experience, I'm still just an amature. Secondly, I have no first hand experience with applying nearly 3xs the recommended rate of nitrogen. That being said, if I had to bet on the outcome I'd be inclined to wager that it will be ok. Plus, you really don't have much choice at this point but to live with it. FYI, although I disagree with some (not much) of his advice, I've found tiemco's knowledge to be quite useful, extensive and accurate. Hopefully he'll give you a more direct answer on his opinion.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:46AM
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tiemco

"tiemco..the directions said not to water for 24 hrs because of the weed control. It needs to "stick" to the weeds."

Yes, I am aware of how weed and feed works, and unfortunately it's not a very good way to control weeds. The first rule of synthetic fertilizers is don't apply to wet grass and let them sit there yet weed and feed has you apply it to wet grass and let it sit there. You applied almost three times as much fertilizer as you were supposed to, which will only increase your chances of burn. I always recommend using fertilizer separate from weed killers, it just makes more sense for a number of reasons. In the future it would be better to use a liquid weed killer that you apply with a hose end sprayer or tank sprayer.

Grass1950, the amount of fertilizer you would lose to outgassing in dry conditions is very small. If you don't water, the dew that forms overnight will dissolve some of the fertilizer and increase your chances for burn, especially with the amount the OP put down. I hope everything thing turns out OK for the OP, but to lessen the odds of damaging her lawn it would be much better to water in what was put down.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 11:57AM
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grass1950

tiemco,
I see your point on getting any nitrogen off the blades. What is your rational for accelerating so much nitrogen into the soil/root zone? Wont that be detrimental?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 12:11PM
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globe199

So if I understand tiemco, he is recommending AGAINST the Scott's Plus-2.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 1:01PM
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kgrant

Not necessarily. I think he is recommending you pay atteniont to what you are doing and not being an idiot like me.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 1:16PM
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garycinchicago(Z5 Chicago IL.)

>"So if I understand tiemco, he is recommending AGAINST the Scott's Plus-2."

I'd say that this "I always recommend using fertilizer separate from weed killers, it just makes more sense for a number of reasons." pretty much says AGAINST.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 3:02PM
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globe199

So what do you recommend for weeds in the lawn? You mentioned a hose/sprayer attachment. What products?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Ibanez540r

There are many different liquid weed products for different weeds. You need to identify what your weeds are. Some products will kill the easy broadleaf stuff such as dandelions, but won't do a thing to creeping charlie or ivy. You need to figure that out.

As far as a sprayer I purchased this this year and like it. So far is well made

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002N67I/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

Here is a link that might be useful: Hose end sprayer

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 6:24PM
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tiemco

"tiemco,
I see your point on getting any nitrogen off the blades. What is your rational for accelerating so much nitrogen into the soil/root zone? Wont that be detrimental?"

No. Sure you are going to get tons of growth, but I'll take that over burn any day. It's about a month early for the spring feeding above the transition zone, so all that nitrogen shouldn't stress the grass too much (not sure where the OP lives), Just be sure you mow often enough to keep it at the level you want. Nitrogen is fairly transient in most soils, so some will leach away as well. Fertilizer burn happens because the fert ingredients are salts, and with only a small amount of water around, like dew, the salts pull water out of your grass, basically dehydrates it. If you give it a good watering you prevent this from happening.

"So if I understand tiemco, he is recommending AGAINST the Scott's Plus-2."

Yes, I am against Weed and Feed products for a few reasons. They make you apply synthetic fertilizer to wet grass without watering it in. They make you combine applying synth. fertilizer at the same time you want to kill weeds. What if I want to kill weeds in early April? They make you apply weed killer in dry form (liquid form is much better) and to the whole lawn, even if you only have weeds in some areas. It's much better to apply liquid weed killers directly to the weeds. If your whole lawn has weeds throughout, then get the appropriate product (Weed B Gone Max is great for most lawn weeds, CCO should handle the rest) and apply it with a hose end sprayer. If you only have a few weeds in your yard, use a tank sprayer and apply the weed killer directly to those weeds. You will get better results and use much less chemical. Weed and Feed sells so well because most people are gullible and lazy. They want to do the least work possible, and they believe everything that it says on the bag. People see that and are like "All I have to do is one application and I'm done? I'll take it!" The best thing Weed and Feed does is make money for Scotts.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 6:55PM
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kgrant

So according to what you are saying, the fact that it will not be very warm and there is rain the forecast for the week gives me a fighting chance here? How long before it becomes obvious that I have a problem?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 7:53PM
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globe199

My main problem is Amur Maple seedlings covering a huge portion of my front yard. The lawn in that area is not very green or thick, and I wonder if the seedlings are robbing the lawn of nutrients. I tried some Weed-B-Gon tonight, which previously worked wonders for creeping charlie, but was not kind to the lawn. I need something that isn't going to totally wipe out the lawn.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:30PM
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grass1950

kgrant, in further attempt to aleviate your concerns:

As I said, the bag contained 28% of nitrogen by weight. Of this total 12.88 lbs of nitrogen, certain proportions will be fast release and/or slow release. The reason I said ol' scotty probably didn't put more than 6 lbs. of fast release (picked as a worse case scenereo--most certainly much, much less than that)as it would be bad public relations to sell a product that they direct be aplied to damp/wet grass and not recommend watering for 24 hrs if it was going to burn the grass due to a high percentage of fast release nitrogen. (plus, slow release is almost idiot proof -no offense to you intended- but let's face it, in a world where people need to be given warnings not to use hair dryers in the shower.) Consequestly, it likely contains mostly, if not all, slow release. You can determine what proportion of the nitrogen is slow release by reading the chemicals listed on the bag. For example "coated" urea is slow release-do a google search of the chemicals.

13 lbs. of fast release on on 5000 sq ft. would be disaster (ask anyone who has spilled a bag of fertilizer on their lawn.) Short of sucking it all up, the only possible remedy would have been copious amounts of water in the hope of creating run off (not part of the good neighbor policy) or leaching the nitrogen below the root zone.

On the other hand, the coatings on slow release nitrogen work through (but not limited to) slow solubility (lots of water), microbal break down (warm/hot temps), or oxydation of the coating which allows release of the nitrogen over time. A lawn should be able to absorb the 2 1/2 lbs of nitrgen per 1k sq. ft. over the extended period without much adverse effect.

tiemco, my rational for not watering was that if the slow release (which I'm surmizing is the vast majority of the nitrogen in turfbuilder) is soluble coated (another guess on my part as it is the cheapest process to produce slow release), water would only accelerate its release.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:18AM
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tiemco

"So according to what you are saying, the fact that it will not be very warm and there is rain the forecast for the week gives me a fighting chance here? How long before it becomes obvious that I have a problem?"

Yes. If you had done this in late June, July or August, it could have had some negative effects on your lawn. Since you did it now, just get ready for lots of growth. Fertilizer burn will be apparent tomorrow, or the next day depending on the severity, and whether or not you watered it in.

"My main problem is Amur Maple seedlings covering a huge portion of my front yard. The lawn in that area is not very green or thick, and I wonder if the seedlings are robbing the lawn of nutrients. I tried some Weed-B-Gon tonight, which previously worked wonders for creeping charlie, but was not kind to the lawn. I need something that isn't going to totally wipe out the lawn."

If you read the label on Weed B Gone and follow the directions you shouldn't have problems. Not sure why you feel the need to treat tree seedlings as they will disappear after a few mowings. I get a lot of sycamore seedlings every spring, I don't worry about them, and they disappear in due time. The only way they would be robbing the lawn of nutrients if there were thousands of them throughout the lawn.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:18AM
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kgrant

I decided to water it yesterday afternoon. Looks ok this morning. We'll see how it looks when I get home tonight. I will keep you posted. Thanks for all your comments and recommendations.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 7:26AM
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kgrant

Just wanted to give you all an update. I ended up watering Sunday night & Monday night. Every day since has been rain too. It finally cleared up last night. So far, I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary other than a lot of dead dandelions. I am planning on mowing today since I haven't mowed it in about 2 weeks. Don't want to jinx it, but I think I am OK. Thank god. Thanks for all your advice.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 9:51AM
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nb87

for future reference

Here is a link that might be useful: How to Prevent Lawn Fertilizer from Burning Grass

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 2:32PM
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ncrealestateguy

It is curious that not one followup post commented on the fact that not only did the OP add 3 x the amount of nitrogen to his yard, but he also added 3x the amount of herbicide!
I would not be surprised if the OP sees some damage to the smaller shrubs and trees in his yard.
I have had experience, twice, where I used this crappy product and then had rain storms "pool" the herbicide into very concentrated areas, which killed a dogwood tree and another shrub which I do not recall now.
Tiemco should add this to his other reasons as why this product does more harm than good.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 9:56PM
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