Our Insights | Plant Nutrition
October 02, 2019

Nutrient Solutions for Fall Turfgrass Establishment

Fall represents the best time to establish cool season turfgrasses in the transition zone, northern tie, and areas of the south where over-seeding occurs.  Before planting, ensure soil nutrient concentrations (extractable Mehlich-3) are sufficient and apply pre-plant fertilizers, if necessary. Once seeds have germinated and turfgrass plants have reached the 3-5 tiller stage or when plants are mature enough to use a spray rig, it’s time to apply a soluble and efficient nutrient source. The GRIGG Proven Foliar® product line has been tested for efficiency with tremendous results (Figure 1). Speed to establishment means more mature turfgrass headed into the winter, which will increase its survivability.

Figure 1

Did you know species selection and seeding/sprigging rate are critically important first decisions that must be made when preparing to establish or over-seed turfgrasses? Prioritize desirable traits and consult the National Turfgrass Evaluation Program (NTEP) information to make the best turfgrass selection decision (www.ntep.org). Always select certified seed and follow rate recommendations made by the breeder or on the label.

Adding novel technologies to the liquid fertilizer can further improve establishment vigor compared to nitrogen (N) applications alone. BRANDT iHammer Upplause Plus (10-0-0) (0.04 lbs N/1000 ft2) provided an equivalent speed to establishment as 0.2 lbs. N/1000 ft2) applied alone as ammonium sulfate (Figure 2).  This means it enhanced biomass production, thus establishment, by improving soil nutrient acquisition and increased photosynthate (carbon) productivity.

Figure 2. Percent (%) ground cover over time after sequential treatment of Upplause Plus and ammonium sulfate. Work conducted at the University of Georgia (Henry, 2016).