MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Warm season grasses like Bermuda, Zoysia, St. Augustine, Centipede & Paspalum
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MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Mightyquinn »

I have gotten a few questions about how and what I was going to do this year with spraying ALL my fertilizer apps this year so I figured I would post it here so if anyone else has any questions or suggestions they can put them here.

A little back story, towards the end of last year I was really wanting to do this as I already have a good Sprayer and I already apply stuff at least twice a month. My current stash of fertilizer was getting low and I knew I was going to be needing to stock up again for the coming year. The current fertilizer I was using was a Lebanon NX-PRO Fairway grade fertilizer and was a pretty good fertilizer as it was 22-0-16 and had a very small prill size of SGN 145 and also contained Iron and some Micros and was about 60% slow release. The great thing about this Lebanon fertilizer was that the prill was homogenous, which basically means that the slow release component is the same no matter if you cut or break up the prill, so the slow release isn't effected. But even at that small of a prill size, it still sat on top of my turf for a good week or two before it moved down into the soil, which for me was not good as I use my groomer and catch all my clippings so this really pushed me even more towards the liquid side.

Late last year I started doing some research on the whole topic to see what was actually feasible to do and whether it would be cost effective to actually spray instead of using a granular fertilizer. With my initial searching I was going to use already mixed liquid fertilizer that had a slow release component but that was not economically feasible as the prices were very expensive plus having to pay shipping on top of that, I even inquired at Site One and even though it was a little cheaper it still wasn't viable to go that route.

Enter cheap Urea(46-0-0) and Ammonium Sulfate(21-0-0), these two heavy hitters are both water soluble and provide a big bang for the buck as they can easily be melted down in tap water and sprayed easily, I will get back to these two in a moment. I did a little more research and found that these two can be sprayed fairly easily but require more carrier(water) to be safely applied. Everything I read said to apply with AT LEAST 2-3 gallons of water/K and not to apply more than 1 lb on Nitrogen/K per application as the salts in the fertilizer can dry out the leaf blade and cause temporary browning of the lawn. I also found that after 4 hours of the fertilizer sitting on the leaf it will absorb basically all it can in those 4 hours and then can be rinsed off and into the soil.

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I also stumbled across Nitrogen Stabilizers, which can be added to the mix to help the Urea from volatilization, denitrification and leaching. It basically allows the nitrogen to stay in the soil longer and give a "slow release" effect. This is also the same basic ingredient in UFLEXX and UMAXX fertilizers, if you have heard of them before. I will say that this stuff isn't cheap as you can only buy it in 25 lb buckets but you only need .20-.40 oz. per pound of fertilizer so this bucket will last me 10-15 years :D

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I also needed to add Potassium but I DO NOT need Phosphorus as my recent soil test states that I have plenty in my soil. So I wasn't able to find any Potassium Sulfate (0-0-53*) locally (but I didn't look too hard) but I was able to find it here at Greenway Biotech. It was a little more than what I wanted to pay but I needed it and will buy me some time to hunt some down locally or with in an hour or two drive. I did just recently find it at Image for a little cheaper and I may go this route if I can't source it locally but I would like to get it local to keep the costs down.

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The last component to my fertilizer is going to be Iron. I did some extensive research on this too as I wanted to get away from FAS(Ferrous Ammonium Sulfate) and was looking for some chelated iron that would give a more lasting effect in the lawn. I finally decided on DPTA Iron as this looks to be the most suitable chelated iron for my pH level. I may do another write up later about all different types of chelated iron there is and what is suitable for what. DPTA iron will stay stable in soil pH up to 7.0. These types of iron are a lot more expensive than Ferrous Sulfate but will also be more available to the grass for a longer period of time. This is more of a luxury additive and could be omitted if it becomes too cost prohibitive.

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Let me wrap this up for now and go over my plan and costs so everyone has a good idea of what's going on. I was going to wait until I actually started using all of this but why not get the info out there and let the great minds we have here go over this.

My plan going forward is to apply 1lb of Urea, AS and PS with 2-4 oz of Iron/1,000 sq/ft(67-0-53) which will give me a little over half a pound of Nitrogen and a half pound of Potassium and I will be adding this when I spray my PGR so every 3 weeks or so I will be applying this to the lawn. I will also be adding the Nitrogen Stabilizer to help lengthen the effects of the Nitrogen. This is all just my base plan and is subject to change depending on the outcomes of my spraying. The one great thing about this plan is I can basically add or subtract anything I want at anytime I want to adjust it to current growing conditions. I also plan to spray in the evenings and water it in the following morning to get at least 4 hours on the leaf surface and to reduce any chance of burning the turf.

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COSTS

Urea $15 for 50 lbs @ SiteOne
Ammonium Sulfate $22.55 for 50 lbs @ SiteOne
Potassium Sulfate $45 for 25 lbs @ GreenwayBiotech.com
DPTA Iron $50 for 5 lbs @ Pestrong.com
U-Plus Nitrogen Stabilizer $193* for 25 lbs @ SiteOne

* When I inquired about this product there, they had never heard of it and didn't know exactly what it was and I didn't know exactly how much a bucket of it was going for. After they punched in the item number and brought it up, the guy was like "Is this stuff made of gold!!!" :lol: He said it goes for $300 but said to hang on and did some things on the computer and came back with the price quoted above which was WAY better. I think he gave me the contractors pricing on it which was greatly appreciated :thumbup:

I have enough Nitrogen to last me a good 2-3 years, the only thing I will need to buy more of is the Potassium Sulfate and Iron so my fertilizer budget is greatly reduced and if I can find the Potassium Sulfate locally it will even bring my cost of application down even more.

Cost per application over 8K of lawn

Urea=$2.40
Ammonium Sulfate=$3.61
Potassium Sulfate=$14.40
Iron=$10.00
U-Plus=$1.53

TOTAL=$31.94

This is the first time I have actually added everything up and it seems a little high but it's still way cheaper than going with pre packaged liquids and If I can source my Potassium Sulfate locally it will dramatically cut down on the costs and as you can see also is that even with the initial high cost of the U-Plus, it's price per application is relatively low. I understand that what I am doing is not for everyone but I am always willing to try something new that may give me an edge and take it to the next level.

I'm sure I left something out or forgot to mention something but If I remember I will just add it to the thread :thumbup:
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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Mightyquinn »

I also updated what I did to my sprayer HERE
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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by raldridge2315 »

Great write-up. Thanks for the input. I intend to use urea and potassium sulfate plus Blade Iron this year. I used Milo last year, but that just gets too expensive. I was able to buy Potassium Sulfate (they kept calling it Potash) at a local farm supply (feed and fert) last year for about $15 /50 lb. I think the County Coop has it also.

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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by gene_stl »

Very nice write up! Thank you. :thumbup:

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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Fishnugget »

Looks promising MQ, looks like you did your research. I will be following to see your results!

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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Mightyquinn »

raldridge2315 wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:06 pm
Great write-up. Thanks for the input. I intend to use urea and potassium sulfate plus Blade Iron this year. I used Milo last year, but that just gets too expensive. I was able to buy Potassium Sulfate (they kept calling it Potash) at a local farm supply (feed and fert) last year for about $15 /50 lb. I think the County Coop has it also.
Yeah, I need to check there as we do have some Crop Production Services around here. Yeah, I get the same "Potash" around here too, they like to call it Sulfate of Potash. :D
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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Ridgerunner »

Great thread!
@Mightyquinn How did you determine the application rate for the iron chelate (0.2 oz/M correct?)?

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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Mightyquinn »

Ridgerunner wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:00 pm
Great thread!
@Mightyquinn How did you determine the application rate for the iron chelate (0.2 oz/M correct?)?
It's recommended on the label to apply 2-4 oz. per K

Thanks :thumbup:
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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Ridgerunner »

Label, huh? Novel idea. I guess I should pay more attention to them. :dumb: :oops:

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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by SGrabs33 »

Very nice! Looking forward to seeing your results :thumbup:

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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by gijoe4500 »

Great info on your plan. I'd be interested in reading your potential future chelated iron post. I've got a PH around 7.5, and I know that causes issues with iron in the soil.

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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by SimonR »

I adopted a hybrid granular- foliar program this season and one thing I found is the rate for foliar apps is way way less than a granular app.

I use a 16-0-0 8%Fe with Stabilised N and the label rate is 250-500ml per 100m2. What I found was a very magrinal difference at the high rate compared to the lower end rate. Even at 500ml (roughly 80g actual N) there was some observed leaf tip burn. My advice would be to start really low and build up as I feel there is probably a tipping point at which the leaf can only absorb so much nutrients before it becomes a waste and increases burn potential.

Also always ensure there is water available to the plant before you apply. I would water the day of application and then a quick wash off after 6 hours.

I understand your premise to then wash off the excess into the soil for root uptake, but thats where I think having a granular there as a slow burn and to supply your trace elements as well.

Good luck, I think foliar feeding is such a better way to go but you do need a bit more cautious to ensure that you meet the plant demands with the application rate.

Simon

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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Iriasj2009 »

Thanks for sharing mighty! I will be on a liquid fert program myself.

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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Movingshrub »

Is your ammonium sulfate *actually* ammonium sulfate? The Site One label I saw for site one said 21% Urea Nitrogen, derived from Ammonium Sulfate. I am making the assumption that urea nitrogen derived from ammonium sulfate and ammonium sulfate aren't the same thing; if they are the same, someone please clarify.

Did you consider ammonium nitrate? Actually, does anywhere still sell ammonium nitrate?
Mightyquinn wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:22 pm
I may do another write up later about all different types of chelated iron there is and what is suitable for what
This question may play into the type of iron decision. Did you consider any kind of multi-micro mix that includes iron?
There are a few soluble micro nutrient products from Brexil/Axilo; one contains Mg, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, and Z while the other contains Mg, B, Fe, Mn, and Zn. I'm still trying to get a handle on the concept of how the soil can contain all the necessary nutrients, be at the correct pH for the type of turf grass your planting, and potentially not be able to get to the nutrients either due to a lack of mobility of those nutrients or due to the elements being tied up as unavailable compounds in the soil.

I would be interested in reading that write up regarding iron type per application. I have been trying to figure out what goes into developing a fertilizer plan.

I was looking at screaming green, as an example, and trying to figure out which mixture of urea, ammonium sulfate, and milorganite, would be involved to produce a comparable product, at lower cost per pound of nitrogen.

Regarding the nitrogen stabilizer, what benefit are you looking to get considering you will be applying a fast release product every three weeks? I wouldn't think you would have any color drop off from lack of N over a three week period. Trying to smooth out peaks and valleys of nitrogen in the soil? If I understand, you are applying one pound of urea and one pound if ammonium sulfate for 0.68 pounds of N per 1,000 square feet. My understanding is that Bermuda generally calls for between 1-1.5lb of N per 1ks/sqft. So, I take it your goal of the stabilizer is to get away with a reduced overall input of nitrogen, although not that much of a reduction.

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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Mightyquinn »

SimonR wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:48 am
I adopted a hybrid granular- foliar program this season and one thing I found is the rate for foliar apps is way way less than a granular app.

I use a 16-0-0 8%Fe with Stabilised N and the label rate is 250-500ml per 100m2. What I found was a very magrinal difference at the high rate compared to the lower end rate. Even at 500ml (roughly 80g actual N) there was some observed leaf tip burn. My advice would be to start really low and build up as I feel there is probably a tipping point at which the leaf can only absorb so much nutrients before it becomes a waste and increases burn potential.

Also always ensure there is water available to the plant before you apply. I would water the day of application and then a quick wash off after 6 hours.

I understand your premise to then wash off the excess into the soil for root uptake, but thats where I think having a granular there as a slow burn and to supply your trace elements as well.

Good luck, I think foliar feeding is such a better way to go but you do need a bit more cautious to ensure that you meet the plant demands with the application rate.

Simon
Very good info Simon and I was thinking along the same lines but I know going into this there will be some trial and error. I plan on spraying in the evening here right before sunset so there will be minimal sun exposure and we also get a lot of dew forming at night too which I'm hoping will hold it over until the early morning when the irrigation goes off to water it in. I am curious at what your dilution rate is on the fertilizer you are using? How much water are you using per 100m2?
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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Mightyquinn »

Movingshrub wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:21 am
Is your ammonium sulfate *actually* ammonium sulfate? The Site One label I saw for site one said 21% Urea Nitrogen, derived from Ammonium Sulfate. I am making the assumption that urea nitrogen derived from ammonium sulfate and ammonium sulfate aren't the same thing; if they are the same, someone please clarify.

Did you consider ammonium nitrate? Actually, does anywhere still sell ammonium nitrate?
Mightyquinn wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:22 pm
I may do another write up later about all different types of chelated iron there is and what is suitable for what
This question may play into the type of iron decision. Did you consider any kind of multi-micro mix that includes iron?
There are a few soluble micro nutrient products from Brexil/Axilo; one contains Mg, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, and Z while the other contains Mg, B, Fe, Mn, and Zn. I'm still trying to get a handle on the concept of how the soil can contain all the necessary nutrients, be at the correct pH for the type of turf grass your planting, and potentially not be able to get to the nutrients either due to a lack of mobility of those nutrients or due to the elements being tied up as unavailable compounds in the soil.

I would be interested in reading that write up regarding iron type per application. I have been trying to figure out what goes into developing a fertilizer plan.

I was looking at screaming green, as an example, and trying to figure out which mixture of urea, ammonium sulfate, and milorganite, would be involved to produce a comparable product, at lower cost per pound of nitrogen.

Regarding the nitrogen stabilizer, what benefit are you looking to get considering you will be applying a fast release product every three weeks? I wouldn't think you would have any color drop off from lack of N over a three week period. Trying to smooth out peaks and valleys of nitrogen in the soil? If I understand, you are applying one pound of urea and one pound if ammonium sulfate for 0.68 pounds of N per 1,000 square feet. My understanding is that Bermuda generally calls for between 1-1.5lb of N per 1ks/sqft. So, I take it your goal of the stabilizer is to get away with a reduced overall input of nitrogen, although not that much of a reduction.
Let's see if I can answer some of your questions MS? :D

The Ammonium Sulfate that I got came in a plastic lined paper bag (which I hate) so I transferred the 100lbs I bought to the Lowe's buckets. All the AS I have ever bought had a label similar to this Ammonium Sulfate. AS and Urea are two DIFFERENT types of Nitrogen. AS doesn't need to be broken down to be available to the plant and is immediately available while Urea needs to be broken down into a usable form first which is why you can loose some of it during that process.

I haven't every used UAN before and I don't think it's as readily available as the other two I am using and I haven't really done much research on it either so I'm not aware of it's strengths or shortcomings.

I did look into using a liquid Chelated Iron but once I did the math, it wasn't as cost effective and most of it is not as high quality as the stuff I will be trying out. I may eventually go to it depending on how it goes with what I have. As for the Micro's, I'm not really too concerned about those right now and I still have some of the "Micro Sulfate Powders" left over from my ATY days that I can add to my mix whenever I want if the need arises.

You could technically mix your own granular fertilizer and it's just some simple math but I'm not sure on what the cost saving would be. I'm not a big fan of Milorganite as I have used it in the past and never got the results others have had and it's terribly expensive down here in the South. I was applying it HEAVILY and the lawn still looked dull until I gave it some slow release nitrogen I had.

For the Nitrogen Stabilizer, yes, that is my goal is to get as much Nitrogen as I apply to the grass with as little waste as possible and to avoid any peaks and valleys. Like SimonR mentioned above, when spraying fertilizers you tend to get a more efficient use out of them so you will theoretically need less but getting the same or better results. Since I have very sandy soil most nutrients don't hang around really long so using a Stabilizer should help it hang in the soil longer and get used up by the grass. The .67 lbs/K that I am applying is just a starting point and I may adjust that up or down depending on the results and how frequently I am applying it as it will be in concert with the PGR which I will be following the GDD calendar for it.
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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Bunnysarefat »

Love the plan. Iron delivery is so complex but so critical to get your grass to really pop. It drives up the cost quick. I've been very satisfied with the results from this product
Grow More 7450 8-Ounce Organic Iron Chelate Concentrate

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004G1AON2/re ... QAb6PC7MSH
Which is on sale for $5 so I bought several just now :D

Probably not as cost effective as a home brew mix but the results were really satisfactory for me. I never used as much water as the label calls for when spraying, just watered it in in a similar fashion as you outlined.
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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by LawnNerd »

Nice write-up MQ!

Last fall when doing the cool season fall dance, i switched from granular to spraying Urea. It became way to cumbersome to try and sprinkle out 1/2# of Urea on 1K, and that tends to be a very uneven distribution of the N. I found that doubling the water (2gal / 1K) never gave me any burning, and since i was mentally calibrated to do 1gal / k i would spray 1gal walking N-S and then the 2nd gallon would walk E-W. You can't beat the evenness of the coverage. Tick more work, but the results speak man.

Also, i know it's a bit of a hike out here to GSO, but this is where i go for all my things turf. http://www.green-resource.com/

They sell to regular joe's, but i would call them to see what they have in stock. Their website is never updated.

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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by Mightyquinn »

LawnNerd wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:20 am
Nice write-up MQ!

Also, i know it's a bit of a hike out here to GSO, but this is where i go for all my things turf. http://www.green-resource.com/

They sell to regular joe's, but i would call them to see what they have in stock. Their website is never updated.
Thank you :thumbup:

Yeah, that place is a little bit of a drive about 2 hours away or more but I'm not opposed to making the trek if I can find some Potassium Sulfate "locally" I have a few other places I'm going to call when the time comes to get some more, I have bought fertilizer from Southern Seeds in Middlesex,NC before and they had a great assortment of products and were very helpful and are a little closer :D
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Re: MQ's Liquid Lawn Fertilizing Plan

Post by LawnNerd »

Mightyquinn wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:57 pm
LawnNerd wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:20 am
Nice write-up MQ!

Also, i know it's a bit of a hike out here to GSO, but this is where i go for all my things turf. http://www.green-resource.com/

They sell to regular joe's, but i would call them to see what they have in stock. Their website is never updated.
Thank you :thumbup:

Yeah, that place is a little bit of a drive about 2 hours away or more but I'm not opposed to making the trek if I can find some Potassium Sulfate "locally" I have a few other places I'm going to call when the time comes to get some more, I have bought fertilizer from Southern Seeds in Middlesex,NC before and they had a great assortment of products and were very helpful and are a little closer :D
Well when you come to install that Elay reel i'm going to win, you can swing by there on your way back! :lol:

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