Monday, October 27, 2008

Late Season Fertilization

Today we applied a dormant fertilizer to the rough that will provide nutrients for the turf to deal with the upcoming winter. If there is one single most important application of fertilizer made all year, this would be it.


The timing of the dormant fertilizer application is critical for the overall success of the nutrient uptake within the plant. An application made to early will force succulent growth, which increases the turfs susceptibility to winter disease and low temperature kill. An application made when the turf has already gone dormant will have not have any positive effects to the turf and essentially be a waste of money spent of the materials applied.

Principles of Late Season Fertilization

• Nitrogen uptake continues at the roots even though shoot growth has ended. In cooler temperatures root growth continues.
• Increased chlorophyll content means increased photosynthesis.
• Increased photosynthesis means increased sugars. Since turf is not growing at the time of the fertilizer application the sugars which are produced are not used for growth but stored to enhance winter survival and spring recovery.
• Late season nitrogen promotes deep rooting during fall. Plants go into spring and summer with deeper, healthier roots.
• Spring green up is early because the nitrogen stored in the roots is there ready when shoot growth resumes.

Benefits of Late Season Fertilizing:

• Increased winter hardiness
• Improved stress tolerance
• Early spring green up
• Reduced need for early spring fertilizer reducing the flush of spring growth