As we enter a period of limited to no plant growth, evaluating turf nutritional programs and planning ahead will help ensure a successful transition to spring.
In the cooler regions, where most turf is in a dormant state, nutritional inputs are not needed until spring arrives. However, this time of the year serves as a great opportunity to plan for the spring. Applying the right plant nutritional products at the right time, rate and place are critical as the plant initiates growth in the spring. Soil temperatures and light will still be limiting and must be considered when selecting products; this means that only readily available nutrients should be considered for maximizing uptake. Yara’s OptimumTurf products are ideal for supplying nutrients that are rapidly available.
Cool-Season Turf Growth Calendar
The warmer regions pose a different set of challenges during the winter-to-spring period. The cool down that we had in November certainly slowed growth but was not enough to cause the turf to go dormant. It is typical to have cool fronts followed by warming during the winter months in the extreme south, thus limiting the potential for turf to go completely dormant. This can be incredibly challenging, especially when it comes to determining nutritional inputs. If conditions are favorable for growth, nutritional inputs should be considered; however, a balance approach is always recommended. It is important to remember that excessive amounts of nitrogen should be avoided during times when growth potential is at a minimal, only apply what is needed to sustain adequate plant health.
Seasonal Shoot and Root Gowth of War Season Turfgrasses (Turgeon 2002)
For more information on products for winter fertilization and planning for the spring, check the OptimumTurf webpages for dialing in the right nutritional strategy. Also, the OptimumTurf Calculator can be easily accessed on the webpage and serves as a great tool for building programs and tweaking rates for providing the exact nutrients needed for ensuring a healthy plant.
Neil Mayberry - Crop Manager, Turf & Ornamental