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Posted by lawntrouble 6 - Long Island, NY (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 16, 09 at 17:11

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I have another fertilizing question for this forum - I have been reading a lot about milorganite, and its ability to provide slow-release nitrogen over the summer months. I recently posted asking about an appropriate fertilization schedule for my lawn - I live in zone 6, New York, LI. Still cool here, lots of rain. My lawn looks good now, would like it to stay that way. After reading suggestions here, my fertilizer plan was to just apply pesticide in a few weeks, then wait until September to apply a turf builder/nitrogen fertilizer, follow then by my usual pre-emergent in late september, and then a winterizer in October as the last application for the year. Thus far, I have applied a crabgrass preventer and a weed n feed product. I am wondering if I should also add in Milorganite to the summer plan? What do you all think? If so, how many applications and what times? And should that REPLACE the truf builder/winterizer in the fall??

Thank you once again for your help.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: ?milorganite

Milorganite is an excellent summer fertilizer. I am curious what "pesticide" you were planning on putting down--hopefully not just as a matter of routine. Also, do you put pre-emergent late september for poa annua control?

RE: ?milorganite

Thank you eriocaulon for your reply.

I was going to put down the Scott's summeguard in July - mainly to help with pest control - I noticed a lot of aphid damage to my rose bushes and the like, and I have seen a few grubs in the past, so I thought it would be a good idea to apply this.

As for the pre-emergent, yes you are exactly right, I put it down for poa control. It has helped a bit in the past few years.

Regarding the milorganite - two questions: 1.) do you know if can I get it at Home Depot/Lowes?, and, 2.) how many applications would you suggest?

Thanks again, the advice is superb and very helpful.

RE: ?milorganite


The "crabgrass preventer" to did apply in spring and that you plan on dropping in fall - did/does it also contain fertilizer, or was/is it Halts or Dimension only?

FWIW - I feel your plan is close, just needs a little modification, but we need the answer to the above question first.

RE: ?milorganite

gary c -
thank you for your reply and for trying to help me out. The pre-emergent I applied last fall, and which I was planning on applying again this fall, only contains Dimension, no fertilizer. In the spring, the product I put down I think was both a fertilizer and a crabgrass preventer combo (from the HD).

Do you think I am on task? Would you also recommend Milorganite in July? How many apps, what times, and do I still put down regular turf builder in September in addition?

thank you again.

RE: ?milorganite

Generally, you do not want to fertilize heavily in spring/summer. Fall is the time to focus your fertilizing efforts. that said, if conditions in your area allow for good summer growth, a light application is reasonable. I personally would not apply insecticide unless significant damage has occurred in the past. Also when to apply fertilizer depends one when you last applied. Generally at least 6-8 weeks after you last application is a good ballpark figure.

If you put down Milorganite (slightly cheaper at my Lowes compared to my Home Depot) in July, You should be good until september. Make sure your fall applications are 1lb of N per 1000 sq.ft. I've noticed on some fertilizer bags, the sq.ft listed amounts to only 0.6 lb of N per 1000. Also, you might consider putting down pre-emergent earlier than late fall. As soon as the summer heat breaks, that pre-emergent should be down.

Next year, you might consider putting down pre-emergent alone (no fertilizer) as your early spring application considering you do put down late fall fertilizer which will show it's effect during spring wakeup.

RE: ?milorganite

> "The pre-emergent I applied last fall, and which I was planning on applying again this fall, only contains Dimension, no fertilizer. In the spring, the product I put down I think was both a fertilizer and a crabgrass preventer combo (from the HD)."

OK, thanks for the fill in. Like i said, I feel you have the right concept, just you need a little fine tuning - a little change of thought.

This is what *I* would do on LI and basically what I do in Chicago. Your zone 6, I'm 5a .. you're just a little warmer than me .. earlier and later than me.

[Keep in mind the times are generalized, not specific. Adjust accordingly for LI. but I'm close]

Spring - April 1. PreM alone, no fertilizer. Watch forsythia. When they bloom yellow, it's time!

Allow grass to green up naturally. Every year will be different. Some years spring is earlier, some are later. Some are dry, some are wet. Mother nature knows when the time is right - leave her alone, don't bother her!

May 1, when grass is actively growing - when you actually gave it a complete hair cut, cutting every blade of grass ... go ahead and fertilize. Straight fertilizer, no step numbers. You pick which one (I'm cheap - I buy what's on sale like Scotts, Bill's, Joe's, Pete's etc - names, scnames. The main thing is nitrogen.)

June 1, 4th of July, go ahead and drop that Milorganite. The lawn will love the iron.

End of June - July 4, GrubX. Some will say don't apply unless you are sure you have grubs! I contend, don't drive unless you have insurance. Grab damage is BRUTAL. GrubX is cheap insurance.

August's step #16 / Summerguard. Skip this. What's this protect you from, mosquitoes, house flys? It's too hot to fertilize. You end up stressing the lawn forcing it to grow when conditions aren't favorable for growing (notice now how you aren't mowing twice a week like you were in spring?)Your protected from grubs - you're good to go.

Maintain irrigation throughout summer.

Labor Day - whatcha got laying around. Turf Builder? That's fine - go ahead, temperatures are dropping which means favorable growing conditions again.

PreM - now's the time to drop prevention against poa! Poa germinates when soil temps drop below 70 degrees.

So like I said - whatcha got? Use it then. Still have preM alone and fertilizer alone, then you make two drops that day. Have Dimension w/fertilizer left over? Then that's what you use on or around Labor Day.

Mid October - again, search the garage, use what you have. Did you buy the big bag of turf builder and still have some left? That's fine - USE IT! Don't fall for the marketing hype and names like "Winterizer" because that's a crock! In October, it's perfectly fine to apply a starter fertilizer too, *IF* your soil need the added phosphorous. University studies have proven that turf wants Nitrogen in fall, so it can store it as carbohydrates over winter to be used the following spring, NOT potash, which is what 'Winterizier' is full of.

Now last thing and if you truly want to walk on the dark side of lawn geektom. Once top growth has stopped, when you make that final, last cut of the year, when you cut up mostly leaves not grass - drop the secret potion, Nitrogen. This needs to be fast release nitrogen, 46-0-0 urea (cheap, $23 for 50Lbs at Lesco) Urea is very strong and can cause nitrogen burn if too warm but not now because we're talking what? Thanksgiving? It's too cool outside for that to happen.

The urea will not be used that fall but rather absorbed and then stored in the root system of the turf as carbohydrates until spring, when mother nature says "Wake up - it's time!" as noted above, LOL!!!!

RE: ?milorganite

  • Posted by jangell Zone 8 Seattle WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 20, 09 at 1:43

OK Garyinchicago AWESOME STUFF...I like your approach

How can I get a How to for my almost there lawn in Seattle?

RE: ?milorganite

Good post Gary.

RE: ?milorganite

Thanks reel.

>"How can I get a How to for my almost there lawn in Seattle? "

jangell - the idea remains the same, just the locations change the time frames slightly due to climate.

Spring PreM - apply before everything wakes up and gets growing. No forsythias is Seattle? Tulips and daffodils tell you spring has sprung and the grass will soon be too. It's time!

Fertilize after you mowed actual growing grass in early spring. April? May? - the grass will tell you when.

June, July and early August - Milorganite is fine. It's very gentle - but this is optional. If you see that the grass needs a little something - something, the gentle nitrogen and iron will darken things up slowly.

PreM again in late summer. I'd think end of August would be fine for Seattle. Products like Dimension last 120 to 180 days, so timing the drop for "not too early" isn't a concern. - This says Nov 17 is your average first frost.

So the same thing, Labor Day, mid October feed it. Fall is the most important time to fed your lawn. If a person could only feed once a year - mid fall would be the one to choose.

Mid November / Thanksgiving, (again, the grass will tell you. When the grass stops growing and you're only mowing air) put it to bed after a nice shorter haircut and some nitrogen and call it a season. Come spring, you'll be pleasantly surprised AND actually have less work too, because you picked all those leaves with the mower around Thanksgiving :-)

Lawn care isn't an exact science - rocket science is!
There are too many variables for someone to say "exactly on this date - apply exactly this" Perfect example of variables is - didn't you get bombed with snow in Seatle this winter? Unusual, no? Made this spring wetter than normal.
It's a living, breathing, growing thing. Feed it, water it, groom it and protect it (weeds & fungus)
It's really no different than being a parent in my eyes. And like with kids ... every year is different! LOL!

RE: ?milorganite

Thank you VERY much Gary! I could not have hoped for a more useful and helpful post! I am copying and pasting your directions to a word document and printing that bad boy out right now! I will put it on the fridge and adhere to it like the Bible.

great stuff! thanks again.


Gary, great plan. But the GrubX is way too early. Grubs are turning into beetles at that time and the GrubX won't effect them too much. Best time in the life cycle is when the new eggs are hatching. Last of July or beginning of August is when GrubX works best.

RE: ?milorganite

> "Gary, great plan. But the GrubX is way too early. Grubs are turning into beetles at that time and the GrubX won't effect them too much. Best time in the life cycle is when the new eggs are hatching. Last of July or beginning of August is when GrubX works best."


That is why I wrote -

"Adjust accordingly for LI. but I'm close"
"change the time frames slightly due to climate"

in both my posts.

But I'd like you and others read the link below from Michigan State U. for a better understanding of grub damage prevention. It's the Japanese beetle larva that damage lawns, not the adult beetles. When reading this article, key in on the curatives V's preventatives and their timing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Lawn Grub Control Products - MSU Department of Entomology

RE: ?milorganite

Gary, that is the only article I've seen mentioning treating grubs in the Spring. Spring is not the time to treat grubs for many reasons (or even early Summer [June as was suggested]).

Here are a couple of articles from Cornell (the treatment article goes along with pretty much every other article you'll find about treating grubs):

A Grub's Life - Egg to Beetle

Treat in the Fall - If At All

RE: milorganite

"It's the Japanese beetle larva that damage lawns, not the adult beetles."

Which is exactly why you don't treat in the Spring, or any time before late July.

RE: ?milorganite

Hi skizot

In the first link -

"B. In July, female beetles spend 23 weeks laying up to 60 eggs in the soil. Depending on soil moisture and temperature, eggs hatch about 2 weeks later. These first-stage ("first-instar ") grubs feed on grass roots for most of August."

Hmmmm, in July, but where - Long Island, Seattle, Chicago or Kansas?

And if we apply GrubX around July 4 (give or take as I mention) and the larva hatch in July and then begin feeding in August - you wouldn't want protection beforehand?

What if the larva start feeding the last week of July? I've had grub damage by mid August already before.


"C. From late August through October (depending on your climate), grubs molt into a second and then a third stage"

... depending on your climate? Isn't that what I've been saying, more or less?
I know I said adjust accordingly (meaning locale) LOL!


In the second link that say "treat" an awful lot, but never say how.
Do they mean preventative, like GrubX or curative, such as Dylox?


If the thinking is that I am recommending an application that is too early, we would need a study that shows the residual of GrubX not extending far enough, no?

Lawn care - a thinking man's hobby, eh?
Nothing is written in stone and we must adjust for it to be personal.

RE: ?milorganite

Good points there, Gary.

RE: ?milorganite

Yes, good point on the Grubx. I shoot for when those little buggers hatch which is early August. I figure if you don't get them at that stage then you're screwed as the grubX doesn't phase them next spring when they're large. I also use the 24 hour stuff such as bayer or other that kills em right away. Put it down before some rain.

RE: ?milorganite

I've seen them already - my wife and I dug out a part of the lawn and low and behold, there they are! Now, I don't know if these suckers are hatching from the fall's eggs or what, but I'm taking no chances - I am thinking to apply a first grub-x application this coming week (near the 4th as gary had suggested) AND then a second application around August 1st. Does anyone see a problem with doing it this way? Applying two rounds of stuff??

RE: ?milorganite

> "I've seen them already - my wife and I dug out a part of the lawn and low and behold, there they are! Now, I don't know if these suckers are hatching from the fall's eggs or what, but I'm taking no chances - I am thinking to apply a first grub-x application this coming week (near the 4th as gary had suggested) AND then a second application around August 1st. Does anyone see a problem with doing it this way? Applying two rounds of stuff??"

And here's what some will say - if you see a couple / few in 1 square foot, that's OK and normal. More than 10 / dozen, you'll have problems.

I dunno .... I don't like bugs PERIOD!
And like you, I don't like the chances either, LOL!
Sorry, but I ask - if 2 or 3 per square foot is OK, why do I need or want them, if it's OK?
In my world, they're right up there with misquotes! Good for s**t !!!!!!!!

I've had grub damage, so I'm gun shy!!!
Plonk, right out of the tree they fall to bury their eggs and look what happens .... when you forget your drop GrubX !!!!

All my fault - *I* forgot, as simple as that.


But to your reply about applying GrubX now - PLEASE, PLEASE read this link here.

(seriously, I can't stress this link enough! There is a wealth of information in there, actually calling out specific names and products that we all see and can fall for on the marketing hype and advertisement)

When reading this you'll note that GrubX is a preventative, which means it does NOTHING for those grubs you see now!
It ONLY prevents those in the future.
For those right now, you need a curative, such as Merritt or Bayer 24 hour Grub killer with Dylox.

NOTE: Bayer makes two different grub products. Take notice to the active ingredient - Dylox, which is in the "24 hour" product.

And FWIW - Lowes carries many/most/more Bayer products.

RE: ?milorganite

For aphids:

Here is a link that might be useful: Ladybugs

Milorganite - Class A sludge 'biosolids'

Between 2007 and 2009, Milwaukee Class A sludge has been contaminated with toxic PCBs and lead.

Exposure to Class A sludge "biosolids" has caused serious adverse health effects:
Sewage sludge "biosolids" contain hazardous industrial chemicals, drugs, radioactivity, landfill and superfund leachates and virulent antibiotic resistant microbes.
Class A sludge "compost" (Milorganite) is promoted as being virtually pathogen-free". It is not. All sludge - both Class B AND CLASS A - may contain infectious human and animal prions which cause always fatal transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs)
In a September 2008 report, the US EPA lists prions eight times as one of the emerging contaminants of concern in sludge biosolids.

Scientists have found
prions can become 680 times more infectious in certain soils and survive for years. Human prions are 100,000 times more infectious than animal prions.

Prion researcher Dr. Joel Pedersen, Univ. of Wisconsin:
" Our results suggest that if prions were to enter municipal wastewater treatment systems, most of the agent would partition to activated sludge solids, survive mesophilic anaerobic digestion, and be present in
treated biosolids. Land application of biosolids containing prions could represent a route for their unintentional introduction into the environment. Our results argue for excluding inputs of prions to municipal wastewater treatment."

"Prions could end up in wastewater treatment plants via slaughterhouse drains, hunted game cleaned in a sink, or humans with vCJD shedding prions in their urine or faeces, Pedersen says"
In the July 3, 2010 issue of VETERINARY RECORD, Dr. Pedersen stated: "Finally, the disposal of sludge was considered to represent the greatest risk of spreading (prion) infectivity to other premises."
Prion researcher, Dr. Claudio Soto, states: " Interestingly, (prions) present in urine maintains its infectious properties. Our data indicate that low quantities of infectious prions are excreted in the urine. These findings suggest that urine is a possible source of prion transmission."
The detailed characterization of uPrP reported here definitely proves the presence of PrP in human urine and will help determine the origin of prion infectivity in urine. Dr. Perluigi Gambetti, et al

Recently, researchers at UC Santa Cruz announced that Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a prion disease. Nobel Prize winner (for his prion research) Dr. Stanley Prusiner, UCSF, recently wrote that Parkinson's Disease may also be a prion disease (over 1 million US victims).
Thus, 6.3 million US Alzheimer's and Parkinson's victims may be shedding infectious prions in their urine and feces to public sewers. The wastewater treatment process does NOT inactivate prions, They are concentrated in the sewage sludge sludge.
Sludge topdressed on grazing lands, hay fields and dairy pastures poses risk of prion infections of wildlife and livestock. Class A sludge "biosolids" spread in public parks, playgrounds, and home gardens poses prion risks to humans, including "eat dirt' children, and family pets. An infective dose is so small, it is measured in molecules.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pathogenic prions in both Class A and Class B sludge

RE: ?milorganite

I put milorganite down approximately 1 month ago. To date, I do not see a greener lawn. I read that a large quantity should be applied. I don't think I applied a large enough quantity (lawn very small). Can I apply more? If so, how much now, since I have already applied an application. Can I also use a summer guard for weeds as well.

RE: ?milorganite

Hi Gary, Your post about how to fertilize the lawn was really helpful to me. I am going to print it out! I have never fertilized our lawn, or done anything to it, so it was really helpful. I am in zone 5 (Utah). My only question is, what is a PreM? I have seen "dimension" and "halts" but what product is it? If I were shopping at Home Depot, would it be a Scott's brand product, or something like that? Thanks!

RE: ?milorganite

I haven't seen Gary around that much lately, so I'll answer your question. "Pre-M" is a shorthand for "pre-emergent", of which there are many. Dimension and Halts are Pre-M's.

RE: ?milorganite

Hey Andy, Thanks for the response. I know this sounds really dumb, but is "Halts" or "Dimension" a product that you buy at Home Depot? Meaning, do you buy a bag of Dimension? Or, is it an ingredient inside another product that you use as a pre-emergent? What products at Home Depot are Pre-emergents? Sorry... LoL, I am just a bit confused with all of these lawn products, and am trying to learn it! Thanks!

RE: ?milorganite

"Halts" is generally sold in Scott's products to be a crabgrass preventer. "Dimension" is sold in some Lesco products at many HD stores. There is another Pre-M sold at some HD's by Scotts as a Pre-M that can be used when reseeding (most cannot).

Different Pre-M's have different periods of effectiveness, from 45 days up to six months. Some come mixed with fertilizers, some don't.

RE: ?milorganite

Thank you, Andy. I think I got it now!

RE: ?milorganite

I have read through this whole thread and it was very informative and I too will print this out to have handy.

I am wondering how do steps Gary mentioned above change for me since I just reseeded my lawn a week ago. I already have all my sprouts up and it is starting to look great. I will apply some more starter fertilizer after the second mowing to get these guys going but I guess what about after that?

Will this young grass handle the normal Pre-M care and heavy Nitrogen application in November of fast release nitrogen, 46-0-0 urea? Is there anything additional I should do between now and this winter give my new grass the best boost possible for the spring?

Thank you!

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