June 2017

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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8 SportsTurf | June 2017 FIELD SCIENCE Essential Mineral Nutrients. The soil supplies bermudagrasses with essential mineral nutrients. In order to be considered an essential mineral nutrient 1) A plant must be unable to complete its life cycle when the nutrient is not available; 2) The function of the nutrient cannot be replaceable by another nutrient; and 3) The nutrient must be part of an essential plant constituent or directly involved in the physical and chemical events of photosynthesis, respiration, and/or the production and breakdown of organic compounds. Essential mineral nutrients are classified as macronutrients or micronutrients according to their concentration in plant tissue. The concentration of a macronutrient in dry turfgrass tissue must be greater than 1,000 parts per million (ppm), while the concentration of many micronutrients in dry turfgrass tissue seldom exceeds 100 ppm. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S) are classified as macronutrients. Of these, N, P and K are primary essential nutrients. Calcium, Mg and S are secondary essential nutrients. Although the amount required by bermudagrasses varies among these six macronutrients, each is equally important. The amount of each primary essential nutrient found in turfgrass tissue in ■ BY DR. TOM SAMPLES & DR. JOHN SOROCHAN W hen establishing a wear-resistant and well-rooted bermudagrass sports field from sprigs or seed, timely fertilization and balanced mineral nutrition are just as important as light, water, and appropriate air temperatures. Photosynthesis. Thanks to chlorophyll contained in chloroplasts in some plant cells (not roots), once leaves emerge from seed or nodes on sprigs, they begin capturing light energy and use it to create compounds that provide energy or are stored in reserve for use by the plant at a later date. Bermudagrasses produce carbohydrates through photosynthesis, the combination of carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) from carbon dioxide and water in the presence of light. Carbon, H and O make up about 90 to 95 percent of the dry weight of a bermudagrass plant. These three macronutrients are not deficient in bermudagrasses. Bermudagrasses obtain carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide. Carbon, a component of amino acids, proteins, sugars and starch, is also found in the walls of plant cells. Water provides bermudagrasses with both H and O. In addition to C, organic compounds including carbohydrates, fats, proteins, enzymes and hormones also contain H and O. MAINTAINING NUTRITION DURING BERMUDAGRASS "GROW IN" Once leaves emerge from nodes on sprigs.

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