Warm weather...last fertilizer application?

ATekk(6nj)November 30, 2011

Hi all,

So I know general rule of thumb is Thanksgiving weekend for the last quick release nitrogen application.

Well the grass is definitely close to dormancy, I mowed this past weekend and still had clippings. Should I be waiting until absolutely no top growth comes off during a mowing? Grass is still nice and green and growth is definitely very slow but definitely not stopped yet.

I think this crazy warm November of nearly mid 60's every day is preventing the ground from getting colder. Should I not worry about it and apply this weekend or wait until all top growth is definitely stopped?


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As you know, it's best to apply it when topgrowth has stopped (usually this correlates to soil temps below 50 degrees), but if you jump the gun a bit it shouldn't be a problem. Personally I would wait till next week in NJ, as it looks like the mild weather is behind us in the northeast, and by next week topgrowth should be over for sure.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 4:30PM
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What products are you all using for quick release? I've been slacking and as you know, most stores aren't stocking much at this point in the season. I stick with SBM and alfalfa mainly but know synthetic would be best for quick release.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2011 at 8:07PM
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I have some Lesco 28-0-5 left over that is all urea, but you're right, most of the fertilizer at the big box store is put away for the winter, or out of stock. Anything quick release will do, so you don't have to be too picky.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 1:13AM
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I picked up a bag of Vigoro's 29-0-5 at Home Depot last week and there was about 3/4 skid left. I've used this in the past and have had excellent results. I also spray Bonide's liquid Iron a couple times around the end of Nov & beginning of Dec and the lawn stays green though about mid to late January.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 10:12PM
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ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)

According to a new book I'm reading right now called "The Complete Guide to Organic Lawn Care," using synthetic / fast-release fertilizers on your lawn causes an increase in the soil's acidity and its salinity. What do folks do to counteract this? Do you apply more lime afterwards?

The book also says the un-natural, synthetic stuff makes your grass weaker and more disease-prone.

Here's the exact quote (Page 21):

"When you use an artifical fertilizer on a lawn, it unnaturally boosts the levels of nitrogen and other nutrients grass needs to grow. The typical way plants and grass get the nutrients they need is from the soil through their root systems. Synthetic fertilizers do not add nutrients to the soil. Instead they are immediately sucked into the plant. Although the blades of grass do grow faster and are more plentiful, artificially fertilizing also creates four problems:

1. Grass blades are weaker.

2. The root system does not grow deeply enough.

3. The grass is far more susceptible to disease.

4. The soil becomes overly acidic or salty because it is too quickly depleted of nutrients."[End of quote]

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 2:45AM
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Gee, an organic lawn care book telling you synthetic fertilizers are bad, go figure. That being said, misuse of synthetics is bad. The important thing to remember is fertilize at the right times with the right amounts. Don't get me wrong, organic programs are great, and if you can provide enough nutrients via organics, you will have better soil and healthier turf, but it requires a lot more product over synthetics, so there is a cost issue, and if your soil is depleted it will take years to bring it up to acceptable levels with purely organic. I find a hybrid approach is a good balance, giving you enough nutrients and the benefits of organic fertilizers at a reasonable cost. Synthetics over time can cause a lowering of pH, but so does organic matter, and rainfall, especially in the east. Lime will correct low pH, but a yearly soil test is good practice to determine the amount and type of lime you should be applying. Salinity issues mainly come about using ammonium chloride and potassium chloride when ammonium sulfate or urea and potassium sulfate would not lead to salinity problems. Luckily chlorides are very soluble and tend to leach out of most soils readily, so occassional use of those fertilizers aren't a big issue. The problems that they mention are generally the result of improper fertilizer usage, especially applying them in the summer months.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2011 at 7:33PM
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