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I used to avoid high nitrogen fertilizer... but was I wrong?

I used to avoid high nitrogen fertilizer... but was I wrong?


Old 11-02-16, 02:18 PM
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I used to avoid high nitrogen fertilizer... but was I wrong?

YEARS ago (30+ years ago?), I was at a hardware store getting fertilizer and a guy there explained the 3 numbers for fertilizer as top, down, all around for what they were good for.

I left there thinking that those scotts turfbuilder and others with really high nitrogen and low / zero phosphorous and potassium were just window dressing - the nitrogen makes the grass green but not much else. With that thinking for all these years, I would opt for lower nitrogen fertilizer. thinking I want a healthy lawn / build the roots and keep out weeds. I've never been happy with how the lawn looks, despite fertilizing, liming, lots of water, etc.

I recently put down a bag of high nitogren feritlizer and it really greened up and 'looks' better. Is that just the window dressing or is high nitrogen good for the lawn overall?
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Old 11-02-16, 04:26 PM
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Farmers sometimes apply nothing but nitrogen so going high nitrogen is not so odd. The best way to tell what your lawn needs is to have a soil test performed. You can get the sample collection box from your local agricultural extension office. Take the sample and fill out the form and you'll get a report back saying exactly what you need. But in general turfgrass likes a higher nitrogen content. It's not producing a fruit or seed so you're mainly after green growth. Other nutrients are needed but that lush green growth is what most people consider desirable.

I did an experiment this year and used 10-10-10 on one area and 13-0-4 on another. The 13-0-4 looked slightly better. I think because I applied the same poundage per acre and the 13-0-4 had 30% more nitrogen. If I had corrected for the nitrogen and applied the same amount of nitrogen to both areas I think they would have been hard to tell apart.
Old 11-03-16, 06:15 AM
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You can apply too much nitrogen but it is essential so it's possible you've needed more than you applied all these years.
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