How Can Turf Benefit From Foliar Nutrition

Newsletter, June 2019

When we think of foliar nutrition, the first thing that comes to mind is liquid products designed for spray applications. However, it is important to understand that liquid products are not all the same; the main difference is that some are fully formulated and some are not.

Unformulated products hinder the ability of the plant to uptake the product and the effectiveness of nutrient utilization. True foliar products are formulated for maximum absorption by the plant leaf.

Fully formulated products have added co-formulants to ensure nutrients are in a form that easily enters the leaf cuticle and have the potential for maximum utilization during plant physiological processes. Importantly, foliar-applied products allow for the delivery of nutrients in a very efficient and effective way that maximizes the chances for balanced nutrition on turf through a precise spoon-feeding process, while minimizing waste into the environment.

However, a lot of turf fertilizers are soil-applied. Sometimes this is not the most efficient delivery of nutrients due to soil variability at some locations. Soil variability consists of many factors that affect nutrient uptake, the most notable are pH and nutrient imbalances. Additionally, irrigation water quality is a major influencer when it comes to overall soil dynamics and turf health. Water used for irrigation that is too high in pH, bicarbonates, salts, and sodium poses a threat to overall turf health. In these situations, roots may be restricted and not able to absorb an adequate supply of nutrients needed to keep up with the growth potential, thus increasing the need for foliar applications.

Take manganese uptake and soil pH for example. High soil pH can limit Mn uptake, while a low pH allows for Mn to become more available. Foliar-applied Mn will allow the nutrient to be absorbed directly into the leaf even if the pH of the soil is high.

The illustration below clearly demonstrates how easily nutrients are affected by pH variances. Notice how Mn availability decreases as pH values rise above 5.5, and for each unit increase, it becomes 100 times less available. Even though soil reports may show adequate levels of certain nutrients, they may be restricted and not in a soluble form that is available for plant uptake.

influence of soil ph on nutrient availability_fig3.PNG

Foliar nutrition allows a turf manager to provide what the plant needs while avoiding the complexities of soil variability. Nutrients need moisture to remain in solution within the soil and adequate root mass to allow for normal absorption by the roots; this is not including other variables that restrict availability such as cooler soil temperatures. Foliar products allow for site-specific programs to be developed for supplying the exact nutrients to any turf situation. It is generally easy to mix foliar nutritional products with most commonly used pesticides and plant protectants, especially with YaraVita. You can get mixability information by visiting the Yara Tankmix website at

Any time a sprayer goes onto turf for an application, remember to add nutrients; this saves time and boosts the health of the plant.

The OptimumTurf YaraVita lineup allows a turf manager to create a solution that will provide success for a particular situation. YaraVita products are fully formulated and are enhanced with adjuvants to ensure efficient plant uptake and utilization. Furthermore, these additives significantly improve the shelf-life by preventing product from settling out in the container. Only the best quality raw materials are selected, and most are pharmaceutical grade. YaraVita OptimumTurf products allow turf managers to apply products that will provide the right nutrients at the right rate, time and place.

For more information, visit the YaraVita OptimumTurf New Products page and check out the calculator specifically designed to help turf managers build programs to address specific site conditions.

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