Dialing in the Right Nutrients for a Successful Start

Newsletter, April 2019

The spring season is an interesting time as most turf managers are ready to move past the unpredictable weather conditions that persisted during the winter. An end to all of the dramatic rain events and cool fronts is upon us now, hopefully. Whatever adversity you had to overcome this season, it is now time to concentrate on growing grass and making customers happy.

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Typical thinning after a long, extreme winter with many warming periods – a sign of weak turf.

Expectations remain high, especially for producing quality surfaces with minimal budgets. It is important to remember that some things are out of our control, especially when it comes to complaints that are weather-related. During times when extreme weather is taking place, it is important to remind ourselves of the things that we are able to control, like team management, communication with customers, and agronomics.

Additionally, budgets are capable of causing stress, and they have the potential to dictate how the turf is maintained. The quality of turf will suffer if expectations surpass the resources that are available. Consequently, turf managers must be extremely efficient in these situations and make smart decisions to produce quality conditions; these choices should consist of products that will provide readily available nutrients at low cost per nutrient without unnecessary fillers.

Ensuring proper nutrition for turf is something that is easy to control and should be handled meticulously by balancing growth potential and costs. A complete soil and tissue analysis provide a good indication of what is available to the plant; this only provides a baseline and other factors such as grass type and water quality should also be evaluated before building a fertility program.

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Nitrogen is typically the first nutrient that comes to mind when building a fertility program. This is the most important nutrient, but remember, every nutrient is important for sustaining proper plant health. If applied in excess, nitrogen can encourage disease activity, increase thatch, and reduce cold and drought tolerance. Only give the plant enough to match growth potential to avoid waste and excess growth. Additionally, phosphorus (P), calcium (Ca) and iron (Fe) are important nutrients to consider in the spring for plant health and may be restricted due to soil variability, deficient concentrations, less than desired temperatures, and low transpiration rates. These nutrients are easy to forget about, especially when soil tests show adequate amounts.

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.

Ca is responsible for proper cell division and assists in protecting new plant tissue. This is a key nutrient for cell wall integrity and working with potassium to strengthen cell walls. Ca is immobile in the plant and supply may be limiting due to low insolubility in the soil.

Fe is essential for chlorophyll formation, increasing color and shoot growth. Depending on the soil situation, Fe is easily precipitated out of solution and becomes unavailable fairly easy. A good source of Fe is critical during peak growth demands for enhancing photosynthesis.


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.

Remember, don’t waste valuable energy on things that are uncontrollable. There is more to gain by focusing on the things that are controllable, like decision making. It is important to choose the right products, right rates, right timing, and right areas to apply nutrients for maximizing turf health and for sustaining the highest quality turf for customers.

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Neil Mayberry
Neil Mayberry
Regional Market Development Manager