Much Fertilizer is Enough?
21, 2007 -- Issue 20
Fields for Better Play
a part of a
good turf maintenance program. But a question you should
ask is, "how much fertilizer is enough and how often?"
To start answering
those questions, let's start with another question. What
exactly does fertilizer do to grass?
Other an making
it green or burning it, just what is happening when you fertilize?
Think about it
like this. Fertilizer is to grass like food is to us
How should we
eat in the winter to stay healthy? How should we eat in the morning
compared to the evening? Is a midnight snack OK? And how
about this... how should we eat when we are sick? What kinds
of food make up a well rounded meal?
Should we pig-out
or space out our eating? What happens if I gorge myself several
times during the holidays?
You get the picture.
What and how we eat does matter. What and how we fertilize matters
to the grass. Grass has roots and blades. The blades need
sun. The roots need water and nutrients.
soils need a boost. The nutrients are not balanced or are missing.
For example, in
the western US many soils are lacking in iron. So, fertilizers
with iron help "green" up the grass in the western US. Many
soils in arid climates lack sulfur. So, you find fertilizers with
sulfur added for those areas.
labeled using three numbers. A good example is 16-8-8.
The first number indicates nitrogen for green turf. The second
number is the phosphate for healthy blades. And the third number
is the potash for the roots.
is like vitamins or food. More is not necessarily better.
application more frequently is better. Growth is more
even during the growing period. Consistent growth means consistent
Large doses actually
push the grass hard and can make it more susceptible to fungus and
bugs. Even the recommended dosage during late fall when it is much
cooler can push the grass to hard.
You want firm,
solid blades of grass. Pushing it too fast grows blades that
are tender and not as resistant.
The bottom line:
the answer to the question, "how much fertilizer is enough?"
is this: "generally follow the dosage suggestions, but you
are better off to lightly fertilize your turf frequently (monthly).
Especially during the cooler early spring and late fall.
Consider how us
humans work. We are better off with a good, hot breakfast with complex
carbohydrates. This gives us energy for the day. By evening
we are better off with a meal with lots of protein to help rebuild
the muscles while we sleep.
Grass is like
that too. Here's the recommended TurfGro fertilizer program:
Feb-Nov (new seed or sod)
Pro Prills 12-8-16
Oct-Nov (repair tore up turf)
This link will
give you guidance about how
to spread fertilizer for best results on your baseball field turf
once you know how much fertilizer is enough.
Yours for better
play more often,
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
Baseball Field Renovation Guide