The Groundsman

March 2013

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26 TECHNICAL UPDATE the Groundsman March 2013 Spring into fertilising action Establishing early Spring recovery can be a lottery, especially on sports areas that have taken a battering over the winter. The inconsistent UK weather patterns mean that turf managers have to be able to adapt to the changing conditions and know how to get the best out of renovations and treatments. Adrian Masters of Headland Amenity gives some advice Author: Adrian Masters here are many benefits of applying a balanced nutritional approach to Spring establishment and renovation. Seed germination is stimulated, while increased shoot and root growth leads to improved plant vigour and resistance to disease. These are often coupled with improved grass colour. Fertilisers can be supplied in granular or liquid forms, but over-dosing, or applying granular fertilisers in the absence of soil moisture, may result in the grass becoming scorched, culminating in scarring or death of the grass plant. Fertiliser application can only be truly effective if when you ensure a consistent and uniform coverage. T Which fertiliser? However, our often extreme climatic conditions may mean that sometimes a granular application isn't feasible. Many areas don't have early season irrigation systems and therefore if the granules can't dissolve their nutrients will not become available to the plant. The climate plays a large part in choosing the correct type of fertiliser to apply. It's easy to think that applying a general feed as soon as growth starts is all that is required, but one of the key questions will be 'which fertiliser'? The problem is that the numbers on a bag or can do not tell us everything you need to know to understand how it might affect your turf. They do indicate the amounts Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions of nutrients in the bag, but sadly, don't suggest how quickly grass will respond, how long any response may last, or whether it will be effective at all in the cooler soil temperatures of springtime. With cold nights and wet soils, some forms of nitrogen don't work well. In lower temperatures, products containing urea or organic nitrogen sources require the interaction of soil microbes before they can become plant-available, and this is severely limited in colder soils. However, those containing ammonium and nitrate nitrogen will be effective as they are immediately available to the plant when in the soil solution. Too much nitrogen though, from products applied early in the season, can cause problems.

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