ILCA September 12, 2014 Joe Ernst, E C Grow Director of Professional Products Fertilizers for Dummies Hey, what’s in the Bag? What Do you See? Hung up By the Numbers? Maybe You See Green Grass? How’s it made? Slinging Sh….t Like Making A Cake Not Just a little Cake Making Big Cakes Mixers No Recipe Books Automated Production Many Raw Materials Available • • • • • Nitrogens: Green Grass>>>>Up Phosphorous: Roots>>>>Down Potassium: Vitamin>>>>All Around Fillers: No nutritional benefit Spray-Ons, Bio-stimulants, Humates, What do you want to Accomplish????? Factors In Determining Analysis • • • • • • • Results industry. Job is to provide green, healthy grass. Green Grass---No Weeds, PGA-TV turf. Determine annual NPK requirements; Phosphorous or not. Determine number of applications, when applying. Product used in April may not be the product of choice if applied in May. Determine NPK requirements per application Determine pre emerge, if needed & at what rates. Determine insecticide timing Look at product options that fit your needs, what are you trying to accomplish? Don’t price shop, let your salesman meet your needs, within your budget, with a product that works for you. The price you pay for fertilizer is not the deciding factor to your company’s success. Weather conditions should determine product, not the calendar. Size Guide Number (SGN) • Definition: A measure of the average particle size of materials in a given lot. • Description: The relationship is: SGN = (Median particle diameter, mm) x 100 • For example, in a granular fertilizer with an SGN of 220, the median particle diameter would be 220/100 = 2.2 millimeters. Half the weight of the fertilizer batch would have particle diameter greater than 2.2 millimeters, and half would have diameter smaller than 2.2 millimeters. Uniformity Index (UI) •90-100 •150 •220 Let’s Get Started. Choosing a Nitrogen Source Nitrogen (N) First number of the analysis. The most important element in a successful fertilization program. Nitrogen is the element to which turf is the most responsive. Nitrogen is the most important element in the soil system as it’s concentration is constantly changing, usually decreasing. Thus, Nitrogen must be routinely added to maintain a sufficient level of growth. Nitrogen Sources, What are They? How They Used? What They Do. •Urea •Ammonium Sulfate •Polymer Coated Sulfur Coated Urea (PCSCU) •Urea Reaction Nitrogen •Ureaform (UF)-Nitroform •Methylene Urea (MU)-Nutralene •Polymer Coated Urea •XRT •PCU -Duration •Stabilized Nitrogen •Uflexx •Umaxx •Organic Nitrogen •Milorganite •Enhanced Nitrogens •Nutrisphere •Regain •NZone Keeping It Green • Nitrogen products that can keep the grass green for 2 weeks, others for up to 6 months. • Longer the length of green, the more the product costs; BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT, the fewer applications needed. • Thus possibly reducing your fertility applications, it can free up more time for other more profitable services. Considerations • • • • • Frequency of applications Soil requirements Turf Species Weather/timing What Do You want to Accomplish? Application Rates • Figuring # of material / 1000 sq ft so you can determine number of bags needed. • # of material /acre • # Nitrogen /1000 sq ft • Coverage per 50# bag Example 20-0-5 25% PCSCU • To apply 1# Nitrogen/M – 5# of product 1 divided by .20 – 220#/acre……5 X 43.56 --10,000 sq ft coverage……50# divided by 5 To apply .75# Nitrogen/M .75# divided by .20 = 3.75#/M 165#/acre 13,300 coverage/bag Fast Release Fertilizer • Nutrients move through soil too fast and can’t be taken up by the roots. Urea 46-0-0 Fast Release Ammonium Sulfate • 21-0-0 • 24% Sulfur • Fast Release Soluble N Sources • Urea • Ammonium Sulfate Strengths • Cost • Quick response Soluble N Sources Weaknesses • Volatility and leaching • Longevity • Flush of growth • Inefficient • Burn potential, High salt index. Slow Release Fertilizer • Fertilizer stays in root zone, long enough for plant to take up Polymer Coated Sulfur Coated Urea (PCSCU-XCU) Manufacturing Process • Pre-heated Urea granules are sprayed with Molten Sulfur. • Polymer sealant applied to fill holes in coating to prevent premature release of nitrogen. • Durable coating resists breakage • Final result is a 43% nitrogen product. Polymer Coated Sulfur Coated Urea (PCSCU-XCU) Release Mechanism • Two Release Methods 1. Holes in polymer coating. 2. Microbial Oxidation of sulfur coat. 6-8 Week Performance PCSCU-XCU Strengths & Weaknesses Strengths • Low Cost • Up to Two Month Performance • Contains Sulfur for Sulfur Deficient Soils Weaknesses • High Upfront Release (Turf Burn) • Release is Un-Predictable • Coating is Susceptible to Damage (Nitrogen Loss) PCSCU-XCU Markets Professional Lawn Care Golf Course Landscaping/Ornamental Sports Turf Sod Production Retail Urea Reaction Nitrogen Manufacturing • Ureaform (UF)-Nitroform 38-0-0 • 4.5% Urea, 6.9% SAWSN, 26.6% WIN • Methylene Urea (MU)-Nutralene 40-0-0 • 5.0% Urea, 20.5% SAWSN, 14.5% WIN – URN’s are made by chemically reacting Urea with an Aldehyde. Urea Reaction Nitrogen Release Mechanism • Release is determined by Soil Microbes and the Length of Polymers of the INSOLUBLE forms of Nitrogen,(WIN) and Hydrolysis (Moisture). – UF typically has a Longer Polymer Chain and will last longer than MU. – UF lasts 14 Weeks to 1 Year. – MU normally lasts 10-16 weeks. URN Strengths & Weaknesses Strengths • Both have Low Burn Potential (Low Salt Index) • Mid to long term release=less applications per year • Small Particle Size – Soil ph- Flourishing Microbes=Neutral ph (7.0) – Relatively Costly URN Strengths & Weaknesses Weaknesses • Because Microbial Conversion is Required Factors that Affect Microbe Activity also Affect Nitrogen Release. – Soil Temperature-Warm Temps=High Populations – Soil Moisture-High Moisture=High Active Microbes – Soil Organic Matter-Carbon Rich O/M=Quick Conversion URN Markets • Golf Courses – Greens – Tees – Fairways • Nursery – Container Stock – Field Stock – Tree and Shrub Fertilization – Greenhouse • Sports Turf • Landscaping – Established Turf and Groundcovers Polymer Coated Urea (Duration & XRT) Manufacturing • Heated Urea is placed into a Reactor. • An over-the-top, continuous layer of Polymer is applied to each individual granule. • A “Protective Coating” is applied inside the Reactor. • The finished product is cooled and placed into storage. • 41-0-0, 43-0-0. 44-0-0 • PCU can Last from 2 - 6 Months, depending on the coating thickness. Polymer Coated Urea (PCU - Duration) Release Mechanism • Soil moisture passes thru the polymer membrane (diffusion) and dissolves the urea inside. • Liquid urea solution encapsulated by the membrane passes thru the membrane as soil temperature heats the soil. • Nitrogen is “metered” out to the turf based on the demand of the turf and Soil Temperature. Effect of Moisture Soil moisture required Initiates the release Saturation process Rainfall/Irrigation needed PCU Strengths & Weaknesses Strengths • Minimal growth flushes • Soil Temperature is only environmental factor that determines release. • Low Burn Potential at High Rates. Weaknesses • Relatively costly • High nitrogen rates dissuade usage on Golf Courses (high salt index) and makes it too costly for Lawn Care Companies. • Subject to mower and traffic damage Stabilized Nitrogen™ Manufacturing UMAXX 46-0-0 UFLEXX 46-0-0 • A liquid mixture of urea (ammonia + carbon dioxide) is modified by adding a “urease inhibitor” and a “nitrification inhibitor”. • Then dried and granulated to a 46-0-0. • UMAXX contains twice the amount of “nitrification inhibitor” than UFLEXX. Stabilized Nitrogen™ Release Mechanism • Urea reacts with moisture (hydrolysis) and the urease enzyme. • Urease converts the urea to Ammonia gas (NH3) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2). As much as 30% of the applied nitrogen can be lost in a 72 hour period. • As urea moves into the soil thru irrigation, it is converted by microbes that oxidize the Ammonium (NH4+) form of nitrogen, first to Nitrite (NO2-), then Nitrates (NO3-). This process is called NITRIFICATION. • Plants utilize nitrogen in the stable ammonium form, as well as the unstable nitrate form. Stabilized Nitrogen™ UMAXX and UFLEXX Improves Nitrogen Efficiency by: • Reducing Volatilization up to 14 days • Retarding the Nitrification process for 6-8 weeks (UFLEXX) and 12-16 weeks (UMAXX) UMAXX and UFLEXX Strengths & Weaknesses Strengths • Versatile nitrogen source used in granular blends or as a soluble source for liquid applications with same results • Reduced nitrogen loss from volatilization, leaching and de-nitrification • 100% released nitrogen versus other slow or controlled release nitrogen's • Less Tip-Burn potential UMAXX and UFLEXX Strengths and Weaknesses Weaknesses • Conditioners need to be used in blends during periods of high humidity. Very Hydroscopic. • Needs irrigation when applied to lowcut turf. • Limited Shelf Life For Combinations Products – Control Products UMAXX and UFLEXX Markets UMAXX • • • • Golf Courses Retail Landscape Nursery UFLEXX • • • • • • • Lawn Care Golf Courses Sports Turf Hydro seeding Sod Production Retail Landscape Milorganite. 6-2-0-4 (Fe) • • • • • • • • • High Iron For Deep Green Adds Organic Matter Non Burning Great In Drought Conditions Slow Release, Long Feeding, 5.25% WIN Aid In Root Development Environmentally Friendly – Resists Leaching Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer; No heavy metals Product of Milwaukee, WI Milorganite Strengths and Weaknesses Strengths • Non-Burning • Works well in sandy soils due to high organic matter (75%). Less leaching. • Gradual feeding = no flush growth = less mowing. Weaknesses • Low nutrient value means excessive usage per acre. • Highly odoriferous. • Expensive compared to like slow release nitrogen on a cost per acre basis. Phosphorus • Diammonium Phosphate – DAP 18-46-0 • Monoammonium Phosphate - MAP 11-52-0 Potash or Potassium Muriate of Potash 0-0-60 Potash or Potassium Sulfate of Potash 0-0-50 17% Sulfur Micro Nutrients • Iron (Fe) – Integral Part In Chlorophyll Production – Gives Turf A Dark Green Color • Sulfur – Important For Making Amino Acids – Gives Turf A Dark Green Color Fillers • Most part, no nutritional benefit • In the “flour in the cake” fills up the bag • Want as little filler as possible to get the bang for your buck. IE, 10-10-10 has approx. 1000# of filler. Homogenous vs. Blend • Scott’s Promotes Its “All In One Granule” • Facts – Homogenous vs. Blend – Nutrients Must Go Into Solution For The Roots To Take Them Up – University Trials Show No Difference In Results – Scotts Sell Blended Fertilizers in its “No Phosphorus” Products – Scotts Lawn Care Uses Blends for Their Applications Enhanced Nitrogens • • • • • • Alternative sources of nitrogen Inexpensive Stable pricing, resin costs rarely changes. Weakness: Not identified by AFCO Neither a Slow release or stabilized nitrogen. • Regulatory issues RISE • Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment. • Vision Statement: Industry Free to Create Inspiring & Healthy Places Where We Live, Work & Play. • Pre-emption in some Counties Fertilizers for Dummies Summary Considerations • • • • • Frequency of applications Soil requirements Turf Species Weather/timing What Do You want to Accomplish? Application Rates • Figuring # of material / 1000 sq ft so you can determine number of bags needed. • # of material /acre • # Nitrogen /1000 sq ft • Coverage per 50# bag Spreading Techniques Drop Spreader Broadcast Spreader Application Errors Always Hidden Obstacles No Need to Panic Like Most Things, We’ll All Find a Way! The End Questions, Ideas, Or Concerns?