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What is Lawn Spraying and How Does it Work
by Rick Orr
Lawn spraying is spraying a liquid on the lawn, but what is it and how does it work? The lawn spray liquid is a mixture of water, fertilizer and insecticides and it works by sticking to the St Augustine leaf. The leaf becomes a “fertilizer coated leaf” and when mowed the fertilizer coated leaf falls into the canopy, and by a natural process is broken down into food for the lawn.
It all starts early in the morning before the first lawn is sprayed. The first step is to custom blend the “lawn spray” mixture. Each ingredient – the fertilizer, nutrients, insecticides, herbicides and the “sticker” are measured and added to the tank of water according to current weather, growth patterns and insect and weed activity.
Why Liquid is Superior to Granular Formulations
Liquid fertilizers can be custom blended every day whereas granular fertilizers are fixed formulation. Custom blending allows for the lawn spray company to be nimble and adjust for prevailing conditions. This is not possible with fixed granular formulations where the only adjustment is to vary the amount applied. But liquid applications, every ingredient can be finely tuned every day for maximum results.
Using the Leaf as the Fertilizer Carrier
The liquid spray contains a small amount of a sticker – usually a latex based ingredient that “sticks” the spray to the leaf. Then with regular mowing a small portion of the leaf is cut off and falls into the canopy of the lawn. This fertilizer coated leaf is then composted into plant food. The lawn is feed according to demand – faster growing lawns yield more fertilizer coated clippings to feed the lawn and vice versa.
Does Liquid Fertilizer Wash Away With the the Rains?
No, rains do not wash away liquid fertilizers! The best analogy is think of iron filings clinging to a magnet. The fertilizer is like the iron filings and the leaf and other organic matter is like the magnet. Once the liquid containing fertilizer comes in contact with the leaf, the fertilizer “clings” to the leaf using magnetic charges.
How Do I know the Rain Does Not Wash Away the Liquid Fertilizer?
You can observe this in your lawn: When it rains the lawn becomes dark green because the fertilizer is still there. Otherwise every time it rained the lawn would become light green. So rain does not wash away liquid fertilizers. But granular fertilizers that have not dissolved, are just laying around, they can easily be swept away with the first heavy rain.
ILoveTurf.com - April 12th, 2012
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