Foliar Fertility Strategies
Each year presents its own unique weather challenges. This spring many dealt with excessive rains and prolonged periods of excessive soil moisture. From a turfgrass management perspective, these spring weather conditions result in difficulties maintaining adequate rooting and carbohydrate reserves.
Extended periods of anaerobic soil conditions may cause limited root development or even loss of root mass during periods where turf generally builds upon its root system. Additionally, frequent heavy rains can result in rapid leaf growth and missed mowing opportunities. This usually leads to removal of excessive leaf tissue when mowing does occur. Then the plant must spend extra carbohydrates to regenerate the necessary leaf tissue. Finally, we must consider the effects of constant flushing rains on loss of soil applied nutrients.
Given these circumstances, I want to offer some foliar fertility strategies to help ensure a successful summer growing intensely maintained turfgrass.
1. Low dose / high frequency applications ensure that turfgrass with limited root mass uses a greater percentage of applied nutrients. Consistent Foliar-Pak applications will provide better results and a greater value than granular applications.
2. Utilize amino acids, seaweed extracts and humic acids to improve plant functioning, optimize photosynthesis, improve rooting, enhance uptake and generally give the plant every advantage possible. A simple program building around Foliar-Pak 14-2-4 and Promote provides a wonderful biostimulant program.
3. When the going gets tough lean on L-18 Activator. It will give the plant the extra edge to battle stress and conserve carbohydrates. It will also improve uptake of control products helping your turf battle dollar spot, brown patch, anthracnose and other pathogens.
4. Foliar-Pak 1-0-15 is a product to consider adding to your foliar rotation since it is likely that soil K reserves would be depleted.
5. Any time the weather is conducive to growing roots, consider a making a couple extra Foliar-Pak sprays to maximize root growth. Here is our suggested spray for this purpose:
- Foliar-Pak 1-0-15 Amino K – Potassium promotes extensive rooting, especially on sand base soils.
- Foliar-Pak 5-16-4 Ca/P – This combination of Ca and P helps push rooting and ensure cell wall strength.
- Foliar-Pak Bio Sea – provides balance biostimulant package that the plant needs for rooting but may not be able to produce through normal activities due to poor root system.
Many growers will even use this spray during cooler breaks in mid-summer to re-gain root mass lost to difficult summer stress.
I hope these ideas lead you to better turf health regardless of the type of spring you’ve encountered.