The Roundup -

Fertilize Lawns Now

A Little Bit Country


A frequent question this time of year is, “Should I fertilize my lawn in the fall?” The answer is yes. All lawns whether they are high maintenance (Kentucky Bluegrass) or low maintenance (Crested Wheatgrass) will benefit from a fall application, especially the high maintenance usually found in town where they receive supplemental water during the growing season. Fertilizing now will promote vigorous blade growth and stronger root systems.

The amount to apply is around one pound of actual nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. Nitrogen is the most important nutrition for grasses although phosphorus has value in promoting plant health. Because lawn fertilizers come in different formulations such as 10-10-10, it is impossible to make one recommendation for all formulations. The first number represents the percentage of nitrogen while the second and third numbers give the percentage of phosphorus and potassium. So, if the formulation available to you is 10-10-10, the application of 10 pounds of total product found in the bag would give you one pound of actual nitrogen (10 pounds X 10% = 1 pound).

The application of one pound of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. should be done three times per year. Ron Smith, NDSU Extension Horticulturist (now retired), always suggested applications around three holidays – Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day. Applying nitrogen three times during the growing season means the lawn will have a more consistent supply of nitrogen throughout the growing season. Applying the entire growing season requirement in the spring will likely cause a loss of nitrogen due to leaching beyond the root system. Nitrogen is water soluble and some of the supplemental water and nitrogen will gravitate below the root system.

Low Quality Wheat A Disappointment

Even though wheat yields including durum are exceptionally good, reports on quality are disappointing. The quarterly discounts are bringing wheat values equal to corn prices and sometimes lower. With so much low quality durum one has to wonder where the milling industry will find enough of the high quality stuff. However, that is not the point of this article. I question what the market will do with the low quality durum in light of abundant corn supplies and less cattle on feed.

Fed cattle in this region are fed rations with high grain content as are those animals confined in feed lots further south. But, many producers of the area do retain ownership of spring born calves after weaning until the calves reach 700-900 pounds. Those cattlemen who do this might consider wheat, especially if corn is not readily available or its price is not competitive. However, feeding wheat requires some diligent management. Wheat ferments very rapidly which can easily create digestive problems and high death rates.

There are some general recommendations when feeding wheat. They are: 1) Limit spring wheat to 40 percent and durum to 30 percent or less of the ration in backgrounding and finishing diets; 2) Gradually adapt cattle to wheat based diets. Start with low levels (10 to 15 percent) and then gradually increase the levels to the above recommended rate; 3) Wheat should be coarsely rolled or cracked but not finely ground for optimum performance; and 4) Neither wheat nor durum should be fed in self feeders. Such practices will only please the coyotes.

Although the protein levels of feed grade wheats are likely below normal, this protein will still be higher than corn which has a very slight advantage in energy.

National 4-H Week

In a couple of weeks 6 million young people along with their families and adult leaders across our great nation will celebration National 4-H Week (Oct. 5-11).

4-H members of Williams County will be celebrating the week by giving back to a supportive community through the “Helping Hands” project which is designed to focus on hunger in hopes of raising a great awareness of food insecurity. Each 4-H family will have two bags having the 4-H and Helping Hands logo on them. The family is asked to fill one bag and ask a friend, neighbor or relative to fill the other with needed food. These foods will be given to the Williston Council for the Aging. The mission statement of this effort is, “To provide meals to all the needy seniors in the tri-county area”.

The County 4-H Council feels that as the community grows and with the high cost of rent and food, our seniors are struggling more and more trying to meet their needs.

I congratulate the 4-H Council and its families for eagerly accepting this project.


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