August 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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www.spor 11 August 2017 // When to apply Many agronomists agree that late fall fer- tilization of cool-season turfgrasses should take place when foliar growth slows to the point that turf no longer needs to be mowed, grass is still green, and before the soil freezes. In the northern US, this period usually occurs sometime in November. Ap- plication timing may vary from year to year depending on weather conditions. In recent years, the practice of apply- ing nitrogen and/or phosphorus fertilizer to turfgrass during late fall has been ques- tioned by environmental groups, govern- ment agencies, and some agronomists because of the increased potential for nutrient runoff and leaching during cold weather. In response to these concerns, sev- eral states in the northern US have placed date restrictions on turfgrass fertilizer appli- cations during late fall and winter. Because of the new date restrictions in these states, sports turf managers must apply fertilizer before the cut-off date (mid-November in most cases), or wait until the following spring to fertilize. Fertilizer sources and rates Most late fall fertilization programs include moderate amounts of nitrogen. Rates of <1 lb. of mostly slow-release nitrogen/1000 sq. ft. are suggested over higher rates to avoid excessive growth in spring and nitrogen leaching or runoff during the winter. In some cases, slightly higher rates of certain slow release nitrogen sources are used, such as polymer-coated products that release ni- trogen at higher temperatures over a long time period. Slow or controlled-release nitrogen sources are a better choice than soluble sources on sandy soils because of reduced potential for leaching. Nitrogen fertilizer should never be applied to frozen soil due to the increased chance of nutrient runoff. Although fertilizer application timing is not as critical with phosphorus and potas- sium as it is with nitrogen, these nutrients can sometimes benefi t turf when applied in late fall. Phosphorus is important for root growth and maturation of turfgrasses and application rates should be determined according to soil test recommendations. There is no need to apply phosphorus if it is present in soil at suffi cient levels. Potas- sium should also be applied according to soil test recommendations. At appropriate concentrations, this nutrient can enhance cold-hardiness of turfgrasses. /ST/ Peter Landschoot, PhD, is a Professor of Turfgrass Science and the Director of Graduate Studies in Agronomy at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park. Unmatched Sideline Turf Protection FieldSaver ® Features: • Durable-stands up to cleated football shoes • Breathable-allows water and air passage • Grommets at 3' intervals on all sides for stake down TuffPrint TM CUSTOMIZATION Blanket Style ArmorMesh Style Make your sideline look as good as the end zone. For price quotes, sizes, fabric specs and samples, visit • 800-445-6680 We make covers for all athletic surfaces: Rain Covers, Growth Covers, EnviroSafe Stadium Padding 2012 ACC Championship Game used FieldSaver ® Sideline Tarps from CoverSports ® !

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