How is Scotts summer fertilizer ??

mike171June 4, 2007

I know fertilizing in mid summer months is a "No NO" but Scotts fertilizer with summer guard says it wont burn out the lawn. Has anyone used this and is it safe ? In the past I had put down the regular Scotts turf builder in mid June and didnt have a problem. I am having a problem with clover so I would like to put down the Scotts with weed control again but I wont risk that! I am thinking about putting the summer guard down this weekend. It has already been in the high 80's with not alot of rain here in SE PA.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
subywu(z5 neOH KBG)

You did not mention having any problems with insect. I think prophylactic pesticide (ie. Summer Guard) use is not worth the potential health risks.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 10:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Whether it will burn isn't the concern but what it does to the root system and the over health of the plant. If you applied the Scott's w/ weed control at the proper time, that's enough to last you til the end of August. Just practice proper watering and mowing through the summer. Your grass will love you for it.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 10:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you feel you must fertilize, use something like Milorganite or soybean meal. The Scotts claims not to burn (read the bag; if memory serves, it does say not to apply over 90 degrees).

Mostly, that's true. Back when I was Chemical, I used it. It didn't "burn," but I'd describe the effect as a slight singe (followed by a slight thinning-out of the lawn). You're near me--we're going back into the nineties on Friday.

Please don't make your lawn frown. :-) Also, what subywu said is absolutely true--and it kills all the beneficial and harmless insects as well.

However, again, the Milorganite will not burn (I've applied it early mornings on a day scheduled for a hundred degrees). It'll wait for appropriate rainfall and for the microbes to digest it before it goes into the grass. Hot dry weather? Great--digestion of the organics stops until conditions improve.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 8:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Even their regular turfbuilder fertilizer says it won't burn. And I've managed to disprove that one.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 8:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, I did the unthinkable and applied a lighter application last year around July 4th and my lawn responded very well. And then I applied 2 more heavy aps in the fall..... And my lawn looks better than ever this year. I may or may not apply it this Summer. I always apply Fertilizer mid may for first ap......Mother nature, so far has been kind and temps are cool and haven't had to water yet!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 9:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Some more information is needed from crazy lawn.
How old was your lawn last july 4th? Did you overseed the fall or spring before? Did you water or get rain immediately after application? Was mid may the only other fertilizer before the one in july?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 10:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi quirky,

My lawn was 3 years old last July when I applied it. I did water it in after applying it. (that is something I always do on every application) Temps were around 90 degrees in July but I applied it early morning..... I overseed it every fall around Sept 15......Mid may is always my first application of fertilizer.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 10:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mid May? What about March? And, do you Kentucky bluegrass or Fescue?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 1:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Auteck, March is too early for fertilizer.

Two different concepts working here, which can cause some confusion. One is organic. The other is synthetic. Organic fertilizers (Milorganite, soy bean meal, and others) feed the soil organisms, all of which contribute to healthy plant growth. They can be applied anytime because the little critters are always hungry and doing their job, plus the proteins are converted to nitrogen that is available when the grass needs it.

Synthetic fertilizers (Scott's et al) feed the grass, which also contributes to healthy plant growth - however there are times they should be applied because nitrogen goes immediately (for the most part) to the plant, whether it needs it or not (which is part of the reason some fertilizers burn, it's too much). That is only during periods of active growth. The growing seasons (active growth periods) for cool season type turfgrass are spring and fall. The grass is not actively growing in summer. Yes, I know it is growing and you are still mowing in summer. That does not define "active growth."

Understand periods of active growth and carbohydrate accumulation. Active growth refers to root growth & development, rhizome activity, tillering, and storing food. It does not mean there's no upper shoot growth, which is the reason you mow the grass. The food it stores during periods of active growth is utilized when the grass is not actively growing - summer - and also for early spring greenup emerging from winter dormancy and going into the growing season. Just like summer, the grass should be able to begin growth on its own, using those stored reserves, rather than being forced by synthetic nitrogen.

Feeding the grass synthetic fertilizer in the summer (and too early in spring) forces rapid shoot growth. This is not natural growth and causes stress to the grass plants by making the roots weak and succulent. You don't see that part and think all is well because the grass is green and you're still mowing it. But, you compromise its health, making it vulnerable and unable to perform the way it should. You might not see the consequences right away, but you surely will pay. But then, Scott's sells all the remedies too, don't they?

Crazy Lawn wrote, "crazy_lawn"
Yes of course it responded. That's what fertilizer does. Please refer to the above.

I personally think if you're going to use Milorganite and/or other organic fertilizers, then use them only. I don't see the point in using Scott's in May and Milorganite in July except to feel like you can finally fertlize in summer. Well, there's the added iron incentive in Milorganite, but that's another story.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 2:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bestlawn, that was the most informative post I have ever read on this forum.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 3:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I see I didn't put Crazy Lawn's quote in there. Sorry about that.

Thanx Famdog. I learned a lot from this forum. We had a guy a few years ago named Kenneth Joergensen. He taught us an awful lot about fertilizing and food reserves, so I couldn't help but absorb it and read up on more to learn as much as I could on the subject and how the grass plants grow. There's more to it than I stated above, but I'm hoping the concerned parties on this thread get the gist of it all.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 4:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the tips. I actually purchased Scotts regular turfbuilder fertilizer today and was going to put that down. After reading this and seeing that the temp is going up end of week I decided to wait till September. Don't want to chance it. Thanks again

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 9:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I personally think if you're going to use Milorganite and/or other organic fertilizers, then use them only.

Mostly agreed on this one. For feedings throughout the season, I alternate Milorganite and soybean meal.

However, top growth of the lawn does slow here sometime between mid-October and late November (OK, last year I cut on December 31 at fifty degrees) depending on the weather. Once I detect the top growth slowing down, I use a winterizer with high K and moderate N. That's usually October.

At that point, although the blades aren't in active growth the roots are happily storing resources for the following spring. That boost of nitrogen and potassium sits and waits until March/April and greens the lawn faster and more thoroughly than not doing it. It also seems to improve winter survivability considerably.

I'd certainly rather use an organic feed, but temperatures are a bit too cool for it to reliably decay into the lawn. And usually, two to three weeks later, they're too cold for much decay at all.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 7:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Agreed on that winterizer, Morpheus. I was thinking mainly in terms of using Scott's year round and then organics in summer just for an excuse to fertilize in summer as if the grass needs it. It doesn't.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 10:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So, would just the opposite apply for warm season grasses?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 1:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well no, you can't say "just the opposite" because it may appear so in some cases but not all. Yes, you do want to fertilize warm season types in the summer because that's their growing season, but it doesn't apply to all of them. Centipede, for example, almost doesn't even like fertilizer LOL. I'm not all that familiar with the warm season types but can say it's best to follow the maintenance schedule best suited for the one you have.

Which one is that?
St. Augustine?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 11:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a question on the winterizer fertilizer. I thought that recent research had basically debunked the idea that it was best to use a high K, moderate N fertilizer for winterizing, and that the best thing was a high N fertilizer. I mostly use coffee grounds, but I've been hitting the lawn with a late fall high N fertilization for the past few years (read about that on GW). My lawn is always the first to green up every spring in my area.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 12:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Honestly, BP, I really don't think it matters. Potassium is understood to be helpful with winter hardiness, so the "Winterizer" ferts have high K content. But that becomes a moot issue when you think about it since the grass plant cannot absorb any more potassium than it needs. With ample K supplied in usual fertizer applications year round, it's possible the late fall app is pretty much a waste for potassium where the grass plants are concerned. The thing is, you don't really know......and then there's a catch. Potassium is easily leached before sufficient absorption and again, you don't really know. So, fert companies figure why not throw in some extra since it can't hurt, and that could easily be the average person's way of thinking also. If you ask me, I don't think it matters if you use "Winterizer," "Turfbuilder," or "Starter Fertilizer" so long as there's a high content of nitrogen in the late fall application. But, then someone will ask the question of why so much phosphate, so okay don't use the starter fertilizer. LOL

I don't think of the late fall application in terms of "Winterizer" specifically as a type but as the winterizer or winterizing application.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 3:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I thought that recent research had basically debunked the idea that it was best to use a high K, moderate N fertilizer for winterizing, and that the best thing was a high N fertilizer.

From what I've seen, that's true.

I'm careful to record the amounts of N, P, K, iron, and organics that go down per thousand square feet. I know my K level is more than adequate through the year and amounts arrive in small loads once a month that the grass can absorb and use. Even if 80% of the K is lost, there should still be enough for basic needs.

The reason I use the Winterizer, because it's one of the few synthetics I can get that doesn't contain herbicides, pesticides, or other things I don't wish to be putting on my lawn.

Also, when I buy it in September, it's the most prevalent thing out there. I could get the Turf Builder just as easily but somehow I never do that. :-) Plus, the lawn really doesn't need any more iron than it already gets from the Milorganite.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 7:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, I was referring to St.Augustine and Summer time fertilization.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 9:16AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Skoot, the warm season types prefer high potassium rates, so be sure to purchase fertilizer with high K values.

St. Augustine Grass
Best Management Practices in Florida

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 9:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
scooterman(Z6 NY)

Bestlawn, I want to echo the compliments regarding your comments about the differences between organic and synthetic fertilizers. Your insights set off light bulbs as now things I've been reading make much more sense as it pertains to "going organic". Thanks.

I have a few follow up questions. I am in the midst of going organic. I neglected to fertilize this spring but have a few freee weekends and was considering doing it now. First question, is it too late? It sounds like if you are using organic fertilizer that it doesnt matter if you apply a treatment in the summer. Second, do you have any preferences or suggestions to read up on which brand or type of organic fertilizer to use? I saw the mention of Milorganite but have also seen a few other branded fert: Ringer's Lawn Restore by Safer Turf Nurture, Renaissance Lawn Food and I'm sure there are hundreds more.

Much thanks,

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 4:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Scooterman, my personal preference is Milorganite, but that's based on very subjective reasons. It's the first I began using because I was told it wouldn't burn. I had just bought my house, so I had a yard to take care of for the first time. I was afraid I'd get confused over how much to apply the Scott's stuff. My cousin owned a couple hardward stores and told me it wouldn't burn. So, I bought it, loved it, and used it ever since. At the time, I had no idea it was organic and had no concern for that. After learning about organics, I began also spreading worm castings, spraying worm castings tea, and spraying fish hydrolysate. I was afraid to brew my own compost tea but always wanted to.

I never tried it but always heard good things here on the forum about Ringer's. I wouldn't hesitate to use it, was just crazy about Milorganite and it's iron content. The iron is temporary but great while it lasts. I never tried any of the others (never heard of Renaissance) but don't imagine they are much different from the Ringer's.

Keep in my mind these mentioned are all store-bought organic fertlizers. There are also the grains to consider like alfalfa meal, soybean meal that are relatively high in nitrogen, and others that don't convert to nitrogen in such great amounts. Just beware of blood meal. You don't want that one because it's way too high, immediate, and will burn. Corn gluten meal works great as a fertilizer and a pre-m so long as you don't plan on seeding. I'm sure you already know about corn meal. I mention all these because they're also great for the soil food web but don't cost as much as store-bought products. If you don't know where in your area to purchase the grains, you'll likely find someplace here. One of the guys, BPGreen, here on the forum really likes coffee grounds. Yep, it's as simple as that.

Nope, it's not too late and can be done any time. Every 4-6 weeks oughta do ya.

If you want to study up on the organics, the Organic Lawn Care Forum is a wealth of knowledge just like this one.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 5:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
scooterman(Z6 NY)

Fantastic! Now I've got a great weekend project. Thanks for the advice and equally the scoop on the Organic Lawn Care forum (didnt know it was these).

Best, Scooterman

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 8:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nice post as well. However, I disagree with a few points.

I just fertilized my KBG lawn with Scott's Southern Turf Formula comprised of: 26-2-13 with 2% iron. I believe this formula is intended for warm season grasses, but I'm using it on my cool season grass this summer to see how it performs.

I know the last number deals with stress, winter or summer. The first number allows the last number to work sort of speak. The middle number is for root growth.

And BTW, organic fertilizers do burn grass as well. Just not to the level of synthetics. I used Milorganite last year and accidentaly my son spilled a bunch of fertilizer on one spot. The grass died, about a 12" diameter. Today the burned spot is gone, the Bluegrass has spread and there's no signs of damage. I suppose that no extreme is ever good.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 12:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That did not burn the grass. It smothered the grass.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 12:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The grass was dead, organic fertilizers DO burn grasses, too!

Don't believe me, do a test for yourself and see.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 11:19PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Lawn drainage on the cheap?
My husband and I bought a house in November, and have...
What order do I restore my lawn?
I live in the CA Bay Area and have a fescue lawn. ...
Brent Villalobos
New bermuda sod just installed
It is 30 degrees here and I was told to water every...
I need lawn renovation help in Zone 7/8
I want to renovate my 24,000 sq ft lawn. The problem...
Re-seeding tall fescue in winter
My tall fescue lawn has become really sparse. So I'm...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™