Ernst presentation - Illinois Professional Lawn Care Association

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
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
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
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)
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
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.
•Ammonium Sulfate
•Polymer Coated Sulfur Coated Urea (PCSCU)
•Urea Reaction Nitrogen
•Ureaform (UF)-Nitroform
•Methylene Urea (MU)-Nutralene
•Polymer Coated Urea
•PCU -Duration
•Stabilized Nitrogen
•Organic Nitrogen
•Enhanced Nitrogens
Keeping It Green
• Nitrogen products that can keep the grass
green for 2 weeks, others for up to 6
• 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.
Frequency of applications
Soil requirements
Turf Species
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
13,300 coverage/bag
Fast Release Fertilizer
• Nutrients move
through soil too
fast and can’t
be taken up by
the roots.
Fast Release
Ammonium Sulfate
• 21-0-0
• 24% Sulfur
• Fast Release
Soluble N Sources
• Urea
• Ammonium Sulfate
• Cost
• Quick response
Soluble N Sources
• 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
Manufacturing Process
• Pre-heated Urea granules are sprayed with
Molten Sulfur.
• Polymer sealant applied to fill holes in
coating to prevent premature release of
• Durable coating resists breakage
• Final result is a 43% nitrogen product.
Polymer Coated Sulfur Coated
Release Mechanism
• Two Release Methods
1. Holes in polymer coating.
2. Microbial Oxidation of sulfur
 6-8 Week Performance
PCSCU-XCU Strengths &
• Low Cost
• Up to Two Month Performance
• Contains Sulfur for Sulfur Deficient Soils
• High Upfront Release (Turf Burn)
• Release is Un-Predictable
• Coating is Susceptible to Damage
(Nitrogen Loss)
Professional Lawn Care
Golf Course
Sports Turf
Sod Production
Urea Reaction Nitrogen
• 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
• 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
• Because Microbial Conversion is
Required Factors that Affect Microbe
Activity also Affect Nitrogen Release.
– Soil Temperature-Warm Temps=High
– Soil Moisture-High Moisture=High Active
– 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)
• 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
• The finished product is cooled and placed into
• 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
Effect of Moisture
Soil moisture required
Initiates the release
Saturation process
Rainfall/Irrigation needed
PCU Strengths & Weaknesses
• Minimal growth flushes
• Soil Temperature is only environmental factor
that determines release.
• Low Burn Potential at High Rates.
• 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™
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
• 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™
Improves Nitrogen Efficiency by:
• Reducing Volatilization up to 14 days
• Retarding the Nitrification process for
6-8 weeks (UFLEXX) and 12-16 weeks
Strengths & Weaknesses
• 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
• 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
Golf Courses
Lawn Care
Golf Courses
Sports Turf
Hydro seeding
Sod Production
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
• Non-Burning
• Works well in sandy soils due to high organic
matter (75%). Less leaching.
• Gradual feeding = no flush growth = less mowing.
• Low nutrient value means excessive usage per
• Highly odoriferous.
• Expensive compared to like slow release nitrogen
on a cost per acre basis.
• Diammonium Phosphate –
DAP 18-46-0
• Monoammonium Phosphate
- MAP 11-52-0
Potash or Potassium
Muriate of Potash
Potash or Potassium
Sulfate of Potash
0-0-50 17%
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
• 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
• Facts – Homogenous vs. Blend
– Nutrients Must Go Into Solution For The Roots
To Take Them Up
– University Trials Show No Difference In
– Scotts Sell Blended Fertilizers in its “No
Phosphorus” Products
– Scotts Lawn Care Uses Blends for Their
Enhanced Nitrogens
Alternative sources of nitrogen
Stable pricing, resin costs rarely changes.
Not identified by AFCO
Neither a Slow release or stabilized
• Regulatory issues
• Responsible Industry for a Sound
• Vision Statement: Industry Free to Create
Inspiring & Healthy Places Where We
Live, Work & Play.
• Pre-emption in some Counties
Fertilizers for Dummies
Frequency of applications
Soil requirements
Turf Species
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

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