Scotts Lawn Fertilizer Question??


Hi,
I am hoping that someone can explain this to me. Is there something up with "Home Depot" and the "Scotts Company" with false bag weight contents or something??
Here is whats going on. Our house is on 0.11 acres of land, which is what about 4,700 square feet? This does not include the city owned treebelt in front of our house, which is about 50 feet long and 6 feet wide, or the grassy island with a telephone/utility pole, between our driveway and our neighbors driveway, which is about 6 feet long and 6 feet wide. So including all that, there is probably roughly 5.000 square feet or so.
Anyway, last year, when we put down the "Scotts Turf Builder Lawn Fertilizer with Plus 2 Weed Control", that we bought from "Home Depot", it took 2 bags ( 14.29 pounds each according to the bag ). with the spreader setting on 5 1/2 like the bag says, to do our entire lawn.
Well this year, we bought a 5,000 square foot bag of "Scotts LawnPro SUPER Turf Builder Lawn Fertilizer with Plus 2 Weed Control", and this bag was 17.24 pounds ( according to the bag ), and we had enough to do the entire lawn with the 1 bag!!
We bought the "Super Turf Builder" at our local hardware store, because #1 our local hardware store is only like 10 minutes away, compared to driving 25+ minutes to our closest "Home Depot", and #2 after the mail-in rebate, they were the same price.
"Home Depot" has the "Regular" Turf Builder for $14.99 a bag, and the "Super" Turf Builder at the hardware store was $17.99 a bag, with a $3 dollar mail-in rebate.
So my question is, why is it that with the drop spreader setting both set at 5 and 1/2 both this year and last year, and doing the exact same areas, why is it that last year we used 2 bags that were 14.29 pounds each, of the "Regular" Turf Builder to do our lawn, but this year, it only took 1 bag of the "Super" Turf Builder, which was 17.24 pounds.
At first I thought that maybe the "Super" Turf Builder has bigger granules, and so it comes out at a slower rate?? But they look the same size as last year??
Could it be because the the "Super" Turf Builder is 29-2-3, and the "Regular" Turf Builder is 28-1-4. Does that have to do with how big the granules are, and how much comes out??
Or is "Home Depot" and "Scotts" in cohoots together or something, and lying about the weight of the bags, so that customers have to spend more money and buy more!?
The "Scotts" bags from "Home Depot say the weight of the bag is 14.29 pounds, but maybe it's really only 8 pounds or something!?
Because why is it that last year it took 2 bags of the "Regular" Turf Builder 14 pound bags, which is over 28 pounds to do our entire lawn, but this year 1 bag of the 17.24 pound "Super" Turf Builder, from the hardware store was enough??
Thanks!
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On Jun 8, 10:08 am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

I never pay attention to spreader settings and adjust as I go along plus I do not use expensive Scott products. You made two mistakes ;)
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Frank wrote:

Ditto that-- I use triple 8, triple 10, or triple 12, etc.-- whichever is on sale at HD or Wally's and adjust spreader flow accordingly on my north Georgia tall fescue.
Weeds get a light spray of Ortho weed killer-- I mix my own as needed, not the pre-mix diluted stuff. Sometimes I keep the same jug of concentrate for three years-- just upping the dose a little to compensate for deterioration. I often use two half-strength applications 10 days apart instead of blasting it all at once.
It ain't rocket science and for the 31 years we've lived here, new neighbors stop to ask me which landscape tends to my lawn or what magic products I use.
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<stuff snipped>

There are a lot of factors that can effect the true "rate of spread per square foot" - the granularity, which you've mentioned, the speed at which you walk the spreader - which should remain constant but might not be. There are all sort of properties of the fertilizer that might not show upon casual inspection: Do the grains cling together more in one type? Is the spreader functioning correctly? Are the wheels and mechanicals turning freely? Was the the humidity higher this year than last?
You may also be running into a pyschological factor. If you know you have to cover X with one bag you may subconciously speed up or slow down your gait to adjust what you are spreading to make it last. I know when I am approaching the bottom of the last can of paint, I will try to stretch it to avoid buying another can and having most of it sit around.
If you still had the old stuff, you could test it by filling something like empty soda bottles with each type to see which emptied faster just by gravity. Any sort of clumping will seriously but perhaps imperceptibly slow down the rate of application in a spreader but you should be able to see it in a side-by-side test of the two substances.
I would send a note to Scott. Might get you a coupon for $'s off on the next round.
-- Bobby G.
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On 6/8/2010 9:08 AM, MICHELLE H. wrote:

There are many potential variables that can affect the spreading rate of fertilizer. The company manufactures a product that they've designed to cover a specific area, but due to factors beyond their control, actual coverage can and usually will vary.
Factors affecting coverage include: the physical formulation of the product; the condition of the lawn (flat/hilly, bumpy/smooth, soggy/dry); the individual's stride/walking speed; the amount of overlap between passes; whether the spreader is properly calibrated; the condition of the spreader (if it's allowed to get rusty, the gate lever may not correctly open or close); for drop spreaders, the length and dampness of the grass can also affect dispersal (damp grass wetting the bottom of the spreader can cause granules to bunch up at the opening); whether the specific fertilizer has an actual spreader setting for your specific brand/model of spreader on the bag. (Contrary to common belief, there is no universal standard for spreader settings. One model's '5' may be another model's '3.5' or '7'.) So if your model isn't on the bag, you've gotta guess.
Thus, there's no sure way to tell how your particular spreader is going to apply a product until you try it yourself. It is prudent to use a lower setting the first time and see how it works, and note the results. I've learned with the spreader and products _I_ usually use, and my length of stride, that a setting that opens the gate about 1/3 usually works out for the best for _me_. But, just as with cars, YMMV.

The numbers refer to the percentage of the three primary nutrients contained in the fertilizer. It is always listed as a percentage of weight in the following order: Nitrogen (N); Phosphors (P); Potassium (K). For established lawns, nitrogen is the major nutrient that greens the grass and stimulates blade growth. In short, nitrogen makes the grass grow and makes you mow. Phosphorus stimulates the production of roots, runners, and stolons, to multiply grass plants and make a denser turf. Potassium also works on root development as well as winter hardiness. Nitrogen tends not to persist in the soil; it will move downward or run off, and cheaper forms of nitrogen will oxidize to a degree into the atmosphere if it is not watered in soon after application. Over-application of nitrogen can also result in burning the turf. Phosphorus and potassium are much more stable elements that move slowly through the soil, so they usually don't need to be applied at anywhere near the same rate as nitrogen.
Nitrogen is the element used by the industry to calculate coverage for any particular fertilizer product. For the typical lawn, the average rate of application is 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet, though the rate can vary between 1/2 pound and 1 pound depending on the manufacturer's specifications. But the rule of thumb for the homeowner is: 1 lb/1000 square feet.
So - to determine the minimum recommended coverage of any bag of lawn fertilizer, you just need to figure out how many pounds of nitrogen are in the bag. It's easy. Multiply the percentage of nitrogen by the weight of the bag. The "Super" Turf Builder analysis 29-2-3, and the weight is 17.24 pounds. 17.24 times 29 percent is 4.9996, so there's basically 5 pounds of nitrogen in that bag; thus, the minimum (and in this case, recommended) coverage is 5000 square feet.
The 'Regular' Turf Builder was a 14.29 pound bag with an analysis of 28-1-4. 14.29 times 28 percent is 4, meaning there's four pounds of nitrogen in that bag, so the minimum coverage is 4000 square feet. But in this case, the manufacturer decided to declare the bag covered 5000 square feet, just by deciding to apply less nitrogen than the standard guidelines. They can do that, and a comparison of the two products means an application of regular Turf Builder supplies 25% percent less nitrogen than the Super Turf Builder. If you wanted to go by the standard 1 lb N/1000 square feet guideline, you could just apply the Regular Turf Builder at a somewhat heavier rate than the manufacturer's suggestion. Just be careful not to apply too heavily, or you risk burning the lawn. And never forget to water it in well within 24-36 hours after application. That not only reduces the risk of burning, but it ensures that the maximum amount of nitrogen goes into the soil, instead of oxidizing into the atmosphere. You paid for all of it, so water it all in.

As noted above, but this time short and sweet: many, many variables affect the spreading rate. You ended up over-applying last year's product, but you properly applied this year's product. Now that you know how to calculate bag coverage, and know that spreader settings are a crapshoot, use a low setting next year, buy only enough to cover the area, and pay attention while spreading. If it's dispersing too quickly, make the spreader's gate opening smaller to slow it down.
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Hell Toupee wrote:

Well, I haven't ever seen it stated so clearly or thoroughly before. Several years ago, when my hubby was the building manager in our condo, we did the fertilizing. We used a Scott's spreader and we had instructions for calibrating it...long ago forgotten, but probably in their user manual or website. Just to mention...product can get wet and cake around the outlet. Might even happen if the grass or the spreader are dewy when applying...that could account for the difference in distribution.
Slow release nitrogen is good. Avoid fert. if the lawn is stressed by hot, dry weather, even if you plan to water as HT advised....if you do so, then you are increasing the lawn's demand for water since you are "telling" it to grow faster. If you see a bag of Scott's and a bag of Brand X with the same numbers and weight, Brand X is almost always less expensive. We did our weed control separately, Florida lawn.
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On Jun 8, 9:08 am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

What I notice is HD didnt have the 50lb bags and the small ones are priced way high. Just because the setting is the same spreaders do go out of adjustment, Ive reset mine but I forgot the exact procedure, call Scotts they will answer your question and tell you how to calibrate the spreader, or google it.
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MICHELLE H. wrote:

Did you re-adjust the setting as called for on each different product bag for your spreader.
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Both the bag of "Regular", as well as "Super" Turf Builder BOTH say to set my "Scotts Drop Spreader" to 5 and 1/2, and so thats what number it was on both last year, and this year as well.
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On Jun 8, 1:51 pm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

In the heat of summer I usualy set 1 or more number less, fast growth is not good at the hottest times of the year it stresses the lawn, even high nitrogen fertiliser stresses it more than a lower nitrogen count. You really have to judge how it comes out yourself, Scotts businees is selling fertiliser, I dont believe you need 1/4 of what they say unless you have bad dirt.
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MICHELLE H. wrote:

I use the bag number as a starting point, and readjust as I see how fast it's going. There is no precision here.
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On Tue, 8 Jun 2010 10:08:11 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

...
Actually, plants dont know the difference between different fertilizer brands. I like to use the poly-coated slow-release granules. Scotts is a good brand but Vigero or K-Mart is just as good, as long as it is kept dry. It will go a long way if you test your lawn soil, at least yearly (NPK and pH). The test results will tell you exactly what and how much fertilizer (and/or lime) to use. Mulching blades will provide a slow release of nitrogen to help keep your lawn green. The weight of a bag of fertilzer doesn't mean too much but following the directions carefully is very important. Fill your spreader when it is off the grass to prevent a spill that is sure to spot-burn your grass.
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I'd say the weight of a bag of fertilizer means a lot. Together with the NPK numbers it tells you exactly how much of the three nutrients you have in that bag. That way, you can compare the cost of that bag to other alternatives. Also testing once a year is a good idea, but it isn't going to tell you how much fertilizer to put down over the course of a growing season. Much of the purpose of fertilizer is to supply nitrogen and with any fertilizer you put down today, in 2 months or less, the nitrogen from it is gone. For nitrogen, you need to determine what kind of grass you have, how much nitrogen it needs per season, and then decide how to divide up that amount and when to apply it.
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