Dormant Fertilizer

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Late fall fertilizer or dormant fertilizer is being applied this week at both Victoria Park Valley and East. Usually around the last week of October or first week of November. Some of you have asked me if we are doing it earlier this year. The answer is yes by about a week. I have taken advantage of the cold weather. The fertilizer we use is agricultural grade and can be “hot” if the temperature is above 10 Celsius, which means it can burn the turf.  The theory is to apply the fertilizer when the turf slows down or stops growing. The nitrogen (which is the main element for turfgrass growth) is absorbed by the plant. The plant does not use the nitrogen for leaf growth or shoot growth as it does in the summer. Instead it uses it for root growth and as stored carbohydrates. This makes the plant hardy for winter dormancy and allows the plant to green up in the spring. By doing this we can avoid an early spring fertilization which can result in too lush surge of growth. This practice is good for all cool season turf home lawns. There have been some environmental concerns regarding the possibility of leaching and run off. Always apply fertilizer with this in mind. Be careful of getting close to waterways and hard surfaces (asphalt) which will travel off site into storm sewers. You should also not apply more nitrogen than the plant can absorb. We never apply more than 1lb of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet.
Until next time… David

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