Time to Focus on Critical Nutrients

Newsletter, March 2020

The spring season is a great time of the year and serves as the transitional period for turf. This is a time of unpredictable weather that has the potential to be less than ideal for turf managers and LCOs (Lawn Care Operators). Although most of the cool weather is past us, sunlight intensity and limited root activity has the potential to hinder adequate turf growth and recovery.

Now is the time to focus on growing grass and ensuring that readily available nutrients are being provided for plant uptake. By this time, the plant has used most of the reserved carbohydrates and the leftovers are being used for growth initiation as temperatures consistently increase. Ideally, starting the season off by taking soil tests and tissue samples will give a good indication of what is actually present in the soil and being absorbed by the plant. Remember that soil samples should only be taken at a depth to reflect the area where the largest percentage of roots reside.

All nutrients are critical, but nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K) and Sulfur (S) drive growth and energy for fueling the plants' physiological activities. Because of limited root structure, reduced transpiration and cooler soils in the spring, mining these nutrients from the soil is normally limited. It is effective to supply these nutrients with products that provide nutrients in forms that are taken up by the plant and do not require conversion. Additionally, soil variation may affect availability of sources based on site-specific conditions. Understanding differences and limitations of fertilizer sources save time and money.

N is critical for growth and protein production within the plant. N is a major component in chlorophyll and contributing to carbohydrate production.

P is a key component of ATP and promotes root development, maturation, establishment and tillering. P is extremely immobile in soil and the plant typically has limited access when soil temperatures are cooler in the spring.

K key responsibility is water regulation within the plant. It greatly regulates the opening and closing of the stomata for allowing water to exit the plant during transpiration. Additionally, K helps maintain proper turgor pressure with cells and assists with the activation of critical enzymes.

S is used as a building block of chlorophyll and proteins, and nitrate metabolism.

When determining what products to apply, remember that major differences exist. Consult with your local distributor and agronomists on products. It is okay to ask if a liquid product is fully formulated or how much filler a blend may have. Remember that most fillers have limited to no nutritional value. However, a fertilizer product that contains homogeneous particles is a major attribute and capable of providing synergistic nutrient utilization for the plant versus non-homogenous materials. Additionally, homogeneous sources are important for proper product distribution and availability to the plant. Understanding the product’s physical and chemical properties will help save money and produce superior results.

The OptimumTurf portfolio includes everything to fulfill a comprehensive nutritional plan for ensuring a successful spring to summer transition. These products are developed to quickly correct nutrient deficiencies and maintain healthy turf, especially during peak growth periods.

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Neil Mayberry - Crop Manager, Turf & Ornamental


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