Well, here we are entering the typically second hottest month of the year and coming off some of the most severe heat and drought periods on record. Our cool season grasses are doing all they can to kick themselves into survival mode and merely exist. Because of the climatic conditions that present themselves to us here in the heart of the transition zone, we have been taught for years to cut back on the amount of nitrogen applied in our cool season turf areas.
Some of these climatic and self-inflicted conditions include:
1. Relentless disease pressure (brought on by excessive nitrogen and warm night time temperatures),
2. Lack of adequate precipitation
3. Insect pressure and wear damage from numerous sporting activities.
These conditions along with many of the plant processes automatically shutting down in order to survive, take their toll on the overall health of the turf grass plant, and also deplete the “life” right out of our soils. For these reasons, we at Dickens Supply believe in feeding the “over-worked and under-fed” soil with our organic based fertilizers, providing many beneficial microbes and replenishing numerous sustainable minerals. Two of our more popular analysis are: Replenish 10-2-5 and our 9-1-5 with sul-po-mag. Applying heavy laden urea based products at this time of year, can do much more harm than good for our cool season grasses. Our motto here at Dickens Supply is “feed the soil and let the soil feed the plant”, after all, that is the way mother-nature intended it to be.
On the other hand, things couldn’t be better for our Bermuda grasses. Some folks are saying “finally” we have a real Bermuda growing summer. “The hotter the better” , I believe would be a resounding comment if the Bermuda grass plant could talk. Contradictory to the cool season nutritional practices listed above, the one thing that both warm and cool season grasses have in common would be the desire of a biologically, physically and chemically balanced soil. This again can only be accomplished by applying some of the well balanced, mineral enhanced organic fertilizers like our Replenish 5-4-5 worked into the soil profile. This process is best performed by aeration followed by top-dressing with a good quality sand. One of the biggest differences between the two types of grasses, would be the desire of nitrogen that Bermuda requires this time of year. The hearty nitrogen requirements for these warm season grasses are best accomplished by our polymer/epoxy coated fertilizers that release nitrogen strictly based upon air temperatures only. This means excessive microbial activity, rain or irrigation will not dictate the possible release of large amounts of nitrogen over a short period of time, therefore slowly releasing nitrogen at a precise metered amount just as mother nature intended.
A few of my recommendations are our 30-0-15 with 80% XRT (extended release technology…3 month release) and our 30-0-15 with 100% Surfcoat (4 month release).
The strengths of these fertilizers are:
1) as the temperatures get hotter, the nutrient requirements from the Bermuda gets larger, the more these coated materials release nitrogen, therefore feeding the plant when they desire the most nutrient.
2) because of their extended release technology, “feed it and forget it” apply one time for season long residual.
Phosphorus, one of the two other major nutrients, is often overlooked this time of year. Although this important nutrient is not used as much as nitrogen and potassium it plays a vital role in the scheme of things and should not be so easily discounted. This can be found as the middle number in the analysis on a bag of fertilizer. Bermuda grasses tend to have quite an appetite for this major nutrient during this time of year as well. The Replenish line of organic fertilizers contain both “hard” and “soft” rock phosphates for readily available forms of this nutrient as well as long term sustainable forms.
As always, before starting any nutrient program, we strongly suggest running soil samples through the fine folks at Soil First Consulting and Logan Labs so that we may provide you with the most accurate and proper nutrient and soil amendment suggestions.