I'd like to take a quick break from the water quality thing to share a recent experience from the field. Everybody tank mixes fertility products. In some form or another, you put stuff in the spray tank and expect that it will come out whatever nozzles you have and do the intended job. That's not rocket science. It's part of Turfhead life. So when I was called this week to help a Turfhead straighten out a spray mix, I was pretty excited to see what said Turf Monkey was hitting the tank with and why it was an issue. Because what I was told was going into the tank didn't seem like it would be all that much of a problem.
As it turns out, it was the mixing order that was the issue and when we took a look at his technique and changed a few things, problem solved. Plus, at the end of the day, we probably built a fertility spray that we know to be a bit more bomb proof.Here's my tank mixing order. There may be other's like it, but this one is mine, Joker.
- Nitrogen. Whatever N source you are using, add it to as much virgin water as possible.
- Mineral. Potassium, Calcium, whatever. Add your mineral dominant materials next.
- Metallics. I'm thinking Iron here mostly, but Manganese, Zinc, etc. also fit into this area. Again, look at the dominant ingredient to classify.
Carbon. Here's where I see a lot of people make a mistake. What we are trying to do is to stabilize and complex (a big word for "surround with good stuff") the materials above. Kind of an Amish way to chelation. For some reason, a lot of people like to put these materials in the spray tank first and then add the other stuff. The usual result isn't bad, but now and then the whole thing turns to a gelatinous goo. Bad.
So that's it. There's the tank mix order that often works to save folks some effort and makes a fertility spray stable and often preserves the energy in the whole thing. I'll get to the Spray Solution Energy discussion one day, but that's not for now.
Yes, I know. You put other things in your tank, like chemicals and growth regulators and stuff like that. I guess I have to take the safe road first and tell you to really read the label, and always jar test. But having said that, in most cases we start with those materials and then progress to the others.
Since Earthworks is one of my blog sponsors (thank you) and Joel Simmons is one of my good friends (thank you, again, because that's much more expensive), let's look at one of Joel's popular program combos and apply the thinking above: Their 5-5-5 program combines 5 oz. each of CalVantage, Protein Plus and Trilogy. This one is pretty simple.
- The only product in the trio that has N is the Protein Plus, so in the tank it goes first. Yes, I know, it has a bunch of other stuff in there, but there's a significant amount of N (14%), so it goes first.
- Next, the CalVantage. Mineral, Baby.
- Last, the Trilogy with the molasses, fish emulsion, kelp extract and humic acid. This is the Complexing agent left to last to surround everyone with carbon goodness.
So there it is, a tip for a starting place for better tank mixes. I hope this helps!