Applying fertilizer in the fall - too much nitrogen?

paulsiu(5a)October 12, 2010

After reading various articles, I figure that I should apply some fertilizer to the lawn. I looked around and notice that Ringer restore was recommended. I was debating whether to use corn gluten or Ringer Restore but figure Ringer Restore was probably more balanced.

The issue is that I get conflicting advice. One garden person advice feeding in the soil. The other thinks I should use a low nitrogen fertilizer, since the nitrogen will generate a lot of green shoot that will drop dead upon the first frost. The first garden thought that the Ringer or Corn Gluten should be OK. He pointed out that both has roughly only 10% nitrogen. If it was like Scott's 20%+ fertilizer, he would be worried.

What do you think?

Paul

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

At this time of year in our area of the world all perennial plants (grasses included) are starting to store nutrients in the root systems so those nutrients will be available next spring when growth starts anew. The only thing with using a high Nitrogen fertilizer is that any of the N not utilized by the plants will be washed out of the soil into the ground water causing pollution.
I use a relatively low Nitrogen (6 percent) on my grass in the fall on occassion and I see very good growth each year (almost more then I can keep mowed) with no additional "fertilizer" needed. I would look for something with a lower amount of N that costs less.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 8:17AM
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brandyanna(Idaho)

Apply lots of N now for good fall color and seasonal root growth. Since this is a organic forum and most organic sources are water insoluble leaching is a non issue as kimmsr alluded to. Current university cool season turf programs recommend at least 65% of annual N going down in the fall for cool season grass. Remember to water through the winter if you do not get moisture for a extended period.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 9:38AM
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paulsiu(5a)

Brandyanna and Kimmsr

Thanks for the info. I am actually wondering about the comment that organic fertilizer are water insolutable. Is that why it's slow release?

Paul

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 7:33PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Some organic "fertilizers" can have nutrients that are not easily soluble which is why things like compost usually test very low in nutrients. However, there are organic fertilizers with nutrients that are easily soluble, manures, blood meal, etc., and these can cause problems with pollution.
Simply pouring on a lot of something because it is supposed to be an organic fertilizer is no more environmentally responsible then is pouring on a synthetic fertilizer with a 36-0-20 label. Your soil can also determine whether you could contribute to pollution because as a general rule of thumb the more organic matter in the soil, to a point, the more of these nutrients your soil can store. However, too much organic matter in soil can be a source of pollution, too.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 7:17AM
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totsuka

I wonder is it ok to apply some alfalfa pellets and tea to my lawn now? I live in Orlando and it does not get cold for another month or so. Also, does anyone know if that alfalfa tea will stink very long? or just a few hours after you apply it? tks

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 4:45PM
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greengrass_grower

It is really important to make sure your fall/Autumn fertilizer contains a reasonable amount of potassium on any turf type. This will ensure the grass remains healthy throughout the winter and is quicker to recover from any adverse weather conditions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornwall Lawn Turf

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 12:30PM
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brandyanna(Idaho)

* Posted by kimmsr 4a/5b-MI (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 22, 10 at 7:17

"Some organic "fertilizers" can have nutrients that are not easily soluble which is why things like compost usually test very low in nutrients. However, there are organic fertilizers with nutrients that are easily soluble, manures, blood meal, etc., and these can cause problems with pollution.
Simply pouring on a lot of something because it is supposed to be an organic fertilizer is no more environmentally responsible then is pouring on a synthetic fertilizer with a 36-0-20 label. Your soil can also determine whether you could contribute to pollution because as a general rule of thumb the more organic matter in the soil, to a point, the more of these nutrients your soil can store. However, too much organic matter in soil can be a source of pollution, too."

Given laws require ingredient content and solubility on the label it will not take a genius to figure out a suitable fall fert. Tell me what counties in the continental U.S. have O.M. greater than 3.0% and at what percentage of O.M. does "organic matter in soil" become a threat of leaching or pollution. Please cite sources.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 1:15PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Just guessing brandyanna (we're not that big into citing sources on these forums - you might be confused with university forums) but, I would guess the hundreds of counties in the Pacific mountain ranges, the Rockies, the Appalachians, and the north east have OM greater than 3%. But what does that have to do with the question or anyone's reply to it? Usually we don't care what's going on in an entire county. We're more concerned with lawns.

Regarding pollution from organic matter: the most obvious issue is around feed lots where manure is piled up and allowed to drain when it rains. Most if not all feed lots have collection ponds for the runoff. It is not a matter of percentage of organic matter in the soil. It is more a matter of what the organic matter is. If it is microbes, then not a problem. If it is manure, then yes, problem.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 5:27PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

brandyanna, soil organic matter levels of about 6 to 8 percent are desireable while soil OM levels upwards of 20 percent can cause pollution problems. Look at swamps, fens, bogs, etc. Look at waterways downstream from big animal feeding operations which may have collection ponds but which also leak.
The USEAP and about every university has articles available about pollution form both synthetic and organic fertilizers.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 7:37AM
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