Fertilizing my lawn for initial spring application

wxman1

Well-Known Member
Jul 2, 2008
14,317
7,848
113
Cedar Rapids
I've heard others talk about millorganite. Is this just fertilizer or is there a weed killing component?
Milorganite is an organic fertilizer only. No weed killing

 
  • Agree
Reactions: cycloner29

DSMCy

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Feb 1, 2013
3,123
2,920
113
West Des Moines
I'd do it before the Sunday/Monday warm-up. Expect a lot of weeds since you are seeding in the spring. Also, you can't put down an pre-emergent weed killers as that will prohibit the seedlings from germinating.

Expect to water heavily through the summer heat but you can do a spring seeding
Yah the window is short in the spring for sure. Soil temp above 50 is recommended and we're not quite there yet in central Iowa.
I think I'll put it down Saturday and hope for the best.
 

CYEATHAWK

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2007
4,669
2,558
113
I have recently been using Millorganite with decent results. I moved into a new house late last fall and don't know what the fertilization history has been. My new yard is quite a bit bigger (about twice the size). I have a handheld spreader to save on garage space. Now I will have to use 4-5 bags of Millorganite per application. I could get by with less if I go with a synthetic fertilizer like Scotts. Would going to a synthetic fertilizer be beneficial or should I stick with Millorganite?
I just did it twice in the last week a day before each rain. I also do it in the fall with over seeding. The only time I used synthetic is when I weed n feed in April. So far so good. The milorganite is great stuff.
 

mkadl

Well-Known Member
Mar 17, 2006
1,432
275
83
Cornfield
I found a site for soil temp. I was going to put my crabgrass prevention down today but looks like I'll wait a few days until the soil temp gets around 55. Getting close but a bit of time to go.

Look for the forsythia to bloom. Just look as you drive in older neighborhoods you will see the yellow.

Forsythia blooms when the soil temperature is high enough for a long enough period of time to trigger the plant's circadian rhythms
 

statsaholic

Active Member
May 17, 2006
357
62
28
Sloan, Iowa
This is 4 inches deep. Syngenta has a website that has surface temps. No need to put down pre-emergent herbicide until daily surface soil temps average 55 degrees.
4 inch soil temps are for a reason.. Especially in the spring, surface soil temps can swing wildly so the 4 inch depth is used as a standard for the rhizosphere. WHen they say 50 degree soil temps that means 50 degrees at 10 am at 4 inch depth for reccomendations.
 

statsaholic

Active Member
May 17, 2006
357
62
28
Sloan, Iowa
Milorganite is an organic fertilizer only. No weed killing

But milorganite (originally based from sewage sludge from Milwaukee) does tend to contain some heavy metals, so watch it with vegetable production.
 

wxman1

Well-Known Member
Jul 2, 2008
14,317
7,848
113
Cedar Rapids
But milorganite (originally based from sewage sludge from Milwaukee) does tend to contain some heavy metals, so watch it with vegetable production.
Not disputing your claim but directly from their website

" All fertilizers, organic and synthetic, contain some metals, including Milorganite. Metals such as lead, cadmium, copper, and zinc naturally occur in the environment. Several metals are actually needed by plants in small amounts—micronutrients—to grow and reproduce properly. We test Milorganite daily and confirm the average level of metals meets (or is less than) the EPA limits. Milorganite complies with federal and state standards for the protection of public health and the environment."

 

Rods79

Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2006
2,999
619
113
Des Moines
I have recently been using Millorganite with decent results. I moved into a new house late last fall and don't know what the fertilization history has been. My new yard is quite a bit bigger (about twice the size). I have a handheld spreader to save on garage space. Now I will have to use 4-5 bags of Millorganite per application. I could get by with less if I go with a synthetic fertilizer like Scotts. Would going to a synthetic fertilizer be beneficial or should I stick with Millorganite?
If you haven’t gotten a soil test yet, I’d recommend it now. I do one at the start of each season in the Spring before anything gets put down.


Milorgranite is great, but it can creep up your phosphorus levels and it isn’t cheap by any means. By only using that product, you might be slowly building up detrimental nutrient levels that could lead to soil health issues down the road, although I think it would take an extremely high P level to have a huge effect on anything. Regardless, the soil test will tell you what your lawn needs so you can find the right product at the right price.
 

thisISnextyear

Active Member
Aug 29, 2007
992
143
43
Ames
If you haven’t gotten a soil test yet, I’d recommend it now. I do one at the start of each season in the Spring before anything gets put down.


Milorgranite is great, but it can creep up your phosphorus levels and it isn’t cheap by any means. By only using that product, you might be slowly building up detrimental nutrient levels that could lead to soil health issues down the road, although I think it would take an extremely high P level to have a huge effect on anything. Regardless, the soil test will tell you what your lawn needs so you can find the right product at the right price.
Based on what I've read other places(Not sure why I went anywhere other than CF for my lawncare tips) it feels like we are a few weeks away from suggested Milorganite application. Anytime before then feels like a waste of $. Thoughts???
 

Rods79

Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2006
2,999
619
113
Des Moines
Based on what I've read other places(Not sure why I went anywhere other than CF for my lawncare tips) it feels like we are a few weeks away from suggested Milorganite application. Anytime before then feels like a waste of $. Thoughts???
I’d say it’s still early for fert, even with a slow-release like Milorgranite, but it’s not as big of a deal this close to the season start when we’re talking about a fertilizer application. You can throw a lighter app down now if you want, the grass will use it when it’s ready to. I typically use a lower nitrogen fertilizer or a lighter application to help wake up the yard in mid April, something that doesn’t push a lot of growth right out of the gate (assuming you’re not trying a spring seeding though, because in that case you want to push growth on the new seed to get it established and healthy before summer, and for that you’d probably want a starter fert of 12-12-12 or around that).

Pre-emergent though, that has an effective time limit...you put that down and you’ve started the clock on how long your coverage will last and therefore how effective the pre-emergent will be. Its protection is good for about 90 days from the application (give or take), so if you put it down when nothing is growing you’re wasting product and effective time, so people keep a close eye on soil temps to get the timing right for the maximum benefit.
 

nocsious3

Well-Known Member
Aug 23, 2013
790
694
93
4 inch soil temps are for a reason.. Especially in the spring, surface soil temps can swing wildly so the 4 inch depth is used as a standard for the rhizosphere. WHen they say 50 degree soil temps that means 50 degrees at 10 am at 4 inch depth for reccomendations.
Please go pull up my post history from previous lawn care threads to understand my level of expertise on this subject. I literally have turf grass textbooks in my office. We ain't planting corn or beans here. Of course you look at the average temp and not the "surface soil temp". Crabgrass doesn't germinate until about a 55 degree average soil temp and doesn't really get much germinating activity until 65.

I don't mean to be mean, but when someone calls me out on something that I'm nearly an expert on I take it personally.

Are you familiar with Syngenta Greecast? It's literally a commercial company dedicated to golf/sports turf management products for professionals. The iastate tool is ag focused.
 

nocsious3

Well-Known Member
Aug 23, 2013
790
694
93
Let's talk Milorganite or as the industry generally terms them "bio-solids". I like organic type fertilizer, but my biggest problem with Milorganite is the cost. It's literally one of the most expensive sources of nitrogen you can buy when calculating pounds of Nitrogen per 1,000 sq/ft. Also, as previously mentioned, it can raise phosphorus levels. If your soil isn't deficient in phosphorus (soil test), you really should avoid it for environmental reasons. Applying right now won't give your lawn a boost based on temperature. Most of the Nitrogen isn't immediately bio-available to the plant and needs microbial action to release it. That process is much more efficient once we get 70 degree soil temps. Lately the cult following has lead to shortages of Miloganite and generally much higher prices. It does work well in certain circumstances, however it's slower than a synthetic nitrogen source. It's nearly impossible to burn a lawn with it so that's a plus for somebody not used to spreading fertilizer I guess. I tend to think most people can read the package and apply synthetic fertilizer.
 

nocsious3

Well-Known Member
Aug 23, 2013
790
694
93
Springlawncare and seeding notes:

Can you put down grass seed now? Probably, but if it germinates and then we get a freeze it will likely die. If Spring seeding, I tend to put it out around the time of my average last frost date. For my zip code that's April 14th. Lot's of online websites will tell your your average last frost date. Most Spring seeding ends in grass not making it through summer. Your results may vary.

Unless you're willing to go through some very specific extra steps, you can't use pre-emergent herbicide and seed in the Spring. You can spray weeds prior to seeding, however most 3-way type herbicides (Weed-b-gone) says wait about 2 weeks after application before seeding. In practice, a few days is really all that's necessary, but you definitely want to wait to spray new grass until after you've mowed at least once and twice would be better.

Another tip is don't dethatch or core-aerate after applying pre-emergent herbicide. Disturbing the soil breaks the vapor barrier created by the herbicide and puts holes in your protection.

If you had heavy crabgrass last year, I recommend a spit application of dithiopyr as your pre-emergent if you plan to seed in the fall. If you don't plan to seed in Fall, a split app of any pre-emergent is fine Look at the label as it's one of the three most commonly used pre-emergents and will be listed right on the front of the bag. A split application in April and again mid June will give you better control, and dithiopry will wear off by September when you want to seed.

I almost never recommend weed'n Feed type products. Most homeowners don't apply them right and get sub-par results on the weed killing part of it. If you have lots of weeds, just buy a cheap hose end spray weed killer and douse the yard when the weeds really get rocking. Best time to kill weeds is when they are actively growing.
 

statsaholic

Active Member
May 17, 2006
357
62
28
Sloan, Iowa
Not disputing your claim but directly from their website

" All fertilizers, organic and synthetic, contain some metals, including Milorganite. Metals such as lead, cadmium, copper, and zinc naturally occur in the environment. Several metals are actually needed by plants in small amounts—micronutrients—to grow and reproduce properly. We test Milorganite daily and confirm the average level of metals meets (or is less than) the EPA limits. Milorganite complies with federal and state standards for the protection of public health and the environment."

Sure they say that.. my understanding is that the heavy metal content is variable and has been and that generally it is not advised for use in gardens. The lawn isnt a garden.. But I hear you .
 

statsaholic

Active Member
May 17, 2006
357
62
28
Sloan, Iowa
Please go pull up my post history from previous lawn care threads to understand my level of expertise on this subject. I literally have turf grass textbooks in my office. We ain't planting corn or beans here. Of course you look at the average temp and not the "surface soil temp". Crabgrass doesn't germinate until about a 55 degree average soil temp and doesn't really get much germinating activity until 65.

I don't mean to be mean, but when someone calls me out on something that I'm nearly an expert on I take it personally.

Are you familiar with Syngenta Greecast? It's literally a commercial company dedicated to golf/sports turf management products for professionals. The iastate tool is ag focused.
Seems a bit prickly there.. I wasnt directly attacking you, but I guess I know nothing.. That is fine..
 

BCClone

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
Sep 4, 2011
36,121
28,014
113
North Iowa
The best thing people can do if they are concerned about their lawn is pull a couple soil sample tests. There are so many variables. Is the pH out of whack, is the sulfur to low, is cat ions not in proportion, do you need sulfur, is the P/K ratio wrong? Commercial fertilizer is quite often salt based and that can cause of of those problems.

Pulling 2 samples will cost you 20-30 bucks but will tell you what you have going on under the grass.
 

NWICY

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2012
15,180
10,235
113
We are considering seeding the ditches in front of our farmstead to a prairie mix. The ditches can be a pain to mow if wet, the prairie is prettier, and it provides good habitat for monarchs and such.
Patience will be your friend on that project, it'll finally look good in about yr 3. from my experiences with wild flower seeding. When it gets there it is pretty though.
 
  • Agree
Reactions: BCClone

farminclone

Well-Known Member
Nov 16, 2009
6,617
6,783
113
Patience will be your friend on that project, it'll finally look good in about yr 3. from my experiences with wild flower seeding. When it gets there it is pretty though.
Yeah, there is a little CRP around here and the first few years of it are always UGLY, but at year 3 or so if finally takes off.
 

BCClone

Well-Known Member
SuperFanatic
Sep 4, 2011
36,121
28,014
113
North Iowa
Yeah, there is a little CRP around here and the first few years of it are always UGLY, but at year 3 or so if finally takes off.
I would recommend going to professional seed houses and not a home improvement store to get them. The seed houses will know what works in your area and give pointers on getting it established properly.
 

wxman1

Well-Known Member
Jul 2, 2008
14,317
7,848
113
Cedar Rapids
Sure they say that.. my understanding is that the heavy metal content is variable and has been and that generally it is not advised for use in gardens. The lawn isnt a garden.. But I hear you .
Not disagreeing with you. It is very much marketing speak. That all being said I believe there was also a thread on here in recent months on heavy metals found in soil and in food that @ISUAgronomist had some good input on.