Saturday, November 10, 2007

Malathionman's Yard #2

On Monday MVCC will be back open for business. It has been 5 weeks since we closed for over seeding. In those five weeks we cut 150 acres of grass down to dirt, spread 48,000 lbs. of fertilizer, dropped about 110,000 lbs. of seed, and threw about 36 million gallons of water. Since I consider this golf course my yard, it seems like a good time for another edition of Malathionman’s Yard!

In this installment of Malathionman’s Yard I would like to share with you, The Malathionman Entourage, some information about fertilizer.

When talking fertilizer, you have to know the symbols N, P, and K. N is the elemental symbol for nitrogen, P is for phosphorus, and K is for potassium. These three elements are very important for good plant growth.

Nitrogen will promote fast growth and green foliage. Phosphorus will promote blooms on flowering plants and strong root development. Potassium works on both roots and foliage. So you could say N is for the top of the plant, P is for the bottom of the plant, and K is for all the entire plant. This is a very basic interpretation of what these elements do for the plant.

Now you may ask,” What do those 3 fricking numbers on the fertilizer bag mean?” Well I’m going to tell you.

41-0-0 is the fertilizer we threw before we dropped our perennial rye seed. Remember that fertilizer, it may come up in a later post. 41-0-0 represents the percentage of the elements N, P and K that are in the bag. This bag is 41% N, 0 % P, and 0% K. If the bag weighed 100 lbs, only 41 lbs of it would be N, the other 59 lbs would be filler. If the 100 lb. bag of fertilizer had 15-15-15 on it that would mean 15% of the bag was N, 15% was P, and 15% was K. That’s 15 lbs of each element, 45 lbs of actual N, P, and K, and 55 lbs of filler.

We went with a fertilizer high in nitrogen because we were trying to grow things as fast as possible.

Now I’m only going to add one more thing to this post, not everyone finds fertilizer as exciting as I do.

FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE BAG. Some fertilizers recommend mowing before application or not mowing before application. Maybe you are supposed to water before you apply, but usually you water in. Always use the recommended application rate, more is not always better. It is amazing how well things work if you just follow the directions.


Leucantha` said...

When I worked in a retail nursery we sold Ammonium Nitrate or 41-0-0 a lot. Although I didn't recommend it for the person unused to fertilizing as they usually did it wrong and burned the lawn. My favorite story of all time was this pain in the neck customer who wanted a green lush lawn with no maintenance, you know the type impossible to please. One day he came in looking for houseplants and was super picky, I need that kind but it needs to be 2" taller or short. Finally I got the story out of him, he was replacing his wifes houseplants, hopefully without her noticing. She had gone away and he decided her houseplants needed to be fertilized and dumped a bit of that on each one. He was shocked when they all died. Classic.....

Guinevere said...

Actually, this post comes at a good time. After moving into our new house, we have discovered that the previous owners have never done anything to take care of the lawn...hence ours is the only BROWN lawn in the neighborhood...and we've been watering. So, M is stepping up to do some fertilizing and seeding this year. We've never had to do that before, so I'm sure there's a learning curve involved. Luckily, M's pretty good about following directions on stuff like this...not so much on furniture and the whole putting-stuff-together category. ;o)

Malathionman said...

G-If you try fertilizing in the winter, be sure you have the right stuff. It may not be good until the soil temps are high enough. What happens is people keep applying it because they think it isn't working. Then in the spring when the temps get warmer all this nitrogen has banked in the soil and whammo they are bailing hey because there is too much fertilizer there. Ask for a winter fertilizer that has nitrogen that is readily available to the plant.