Proper Winter Nutrition Programs Are Critical For Your Turf

12 Dec 2016

Posted in General by Curtis Williams

Winter officially arrives next week, however depending on where you are in our territories, you are already seeing different levels of plant dormancy, semi-dormancy or generally slowed metabolic activity in your golf course turfgrass.

For those in complete dormancy, hopefully the plant went down in a fully carb-loaded and dormant state. Please remember to maintain a generally moist environment for the plant as desiccation is your biggest concern at this point.

If you have a POGO, use it daily to monitor the moisture level and don’t allow moisture to drop too low. It is easy to get fooled into not irrigating this time of year but moisture is very important to maintain hydration of the root zone, rhizomes and stolons.

Monitoring moisture levels will also help in cold weather management as water is much harder to cool than air.

For those in semi-dormant conditions where grasses move in and out of dormancy or near dormancy based on air temps and cold fronts, it is critical to ensure that you keep carbohydrate reserves full in the plant so it will have adequate energy to recover fully from the cold snaps that turn it off for short periods.

The warm periods following will require significant carbohydrate burns and loss of carbohydrates from reserves. Use of products like Rx Supreme, Rx K, Rx Mg, Component Core, Component K, Component M, Nutrol, Pennamin Perfect K, Vibrant Red will be excellent for carbohydrate and nutrient management. Magnesium Nitrate based materials like Component N or Fairway N will be excellent sources of Nitrogen during winter months as well as Potassium Nitrate.

Use of products like Rx OxyCal and Agra Rouse will be good when the plant has recovered following a cold snap to stimulate a bit of growth where recovery is needed.

For those in the far southern regions that don’t go dormant and where play is very high, it is important to maintain carbohydrates as the semi-dormant courses do, but more focus on stimulation with OxyCal and Agra Rouse will be beneficial, as well as a slightly higher rate and frequency of Nitrogen from Magnesium Nitrate or Potassium Nitrate. For continual Potassium nutrition through the winter months, consider Protene 0-0-7 on a monthly basis.

As the plant is in a slowed metabolic state and its defenses are low, make sure that disease prevention and management is addressed. Use of Amino Acid based products as Carbon sources will be best as they will be readily utilized in cooler temperatures.

Products like Civitas, PronTech, Turf Screen and a variety of general purpose fungicides will be very beneficial for Curvularia, Pythium and other patch diseases can be an issue.

As is always the case, if or when you do your spraying is as important as the products themselves.

Early morning spraying when temps are below 50 degrees is of little or no value. The plant is in a chilled state and will not absorb nutrient readily. Roots are even less apt to absorb nutrients in cooler weather so spraying during warm spurts or slightly higher temperatures above 50 degrees will be critical to effective programs in the winter months.

Do not hesitate to discuss and optimum program with your AmeriTurf Sales consultant or Agronomist to confirm applications and get advice during the winter months.

Technology these days will allow for much more activity and response in the winter months than ever before.

As demands continue to increase, keeping the plant healthy and active in cool weather through a solid turf nutrition plan is paramount to annual turf performance.