Select A Turf Program In South Florida That Enhances Wintertime Performance

12 Jan 2018

Posted in General by Curtis Williams

By Dale Miller, AmeriTurf Agronomist

Though it’s south Florida, it is still in the middle of winter, which means shorter day lengths, cooler temps, and lots of traffic.

This is the season when stress is at its peak due to all the above plus the emphasis on the highest quality playing conditions, which isn’t necessarily the best agronomic practice.

In effect, we have to make up for significant photosynthetic loss due to shorter days, lower sun angle and lower heights of cut and significantly higher traffic.

As the plant functions on photosynthesis as a major metabolic process, providing quality conditions during a time of difficult growing conditions is a challenge at best.

Focus has to be on how to account for the deficiencies due to natural and unnatural, man-made and self-induced stresses.

There are all kinds of cultural approaches that are in place currently but it is important not to over cultivate the plant at this point.

Consistency is still and will always be king.

From an input stand point, turf nutrition in a well-balanced program using Carbon-based products will stimulate photosynthesis and enhance response. Use products with Carbon, especially amino acids, while also increasing Magnesium and Potassium inputs with emphasis on Silicon with soluble Nitrogen from either Potassium Nitrate or Magnesium Nitrate. This approach to nutrition will be far superior to those requiring more microbial activity or processes to availability.

Look to products such as Rx Supreme, Comp Core, Ruckus, EPIC and Vibrant Red for excellent general purpose, well-balanced packages with appropriate Carbon sources.

These will provide for superior carbohydrate reserve management, color and appropriate metabolic response without excess.

Rx Si is without a doubt the best Silicon product in the industry and one of the few that is truly translocated in the plant, throughout the plant. Simple leaf absorption of Calcium and Silicon are inadequate this time of year and arguably any time of the year. For wear tolerance during periods of high traffic, there is no better input. As there is significant antioxidant production as well, the benefits in disease and general stress management are also a huge plus. Pennamin Si is another excellent Si alternative.

For K input, use of Potassium Nitrate plus products like Rx K+, Comp K, Perfect K will all be excellent in providing strong, readily available K in a Carbon-based package as well. This will improve the plant’s ability to translocate nutrients, manage internal moisture content and nutrient efficiency as well as generally hardening off the plant during cool months.

For those needing improved color beyond what is plant required, use of Rx Micro, Comp M, Krystal Clear Turf Mix provide excellent, well-balanced, residual micronutrient inputs. Rates can be increased or decreased based on color response. Don’t forget the Magnesium though when looking for color. Adding in a bit of Rx Mg or Pennamin Mg will be excellent options for a bit more Mg and chlorophyll production and support.

Make sure that applications are made when temperatures are above 50 degrees and timed for maximum benefit.

For the times when the plant is simply in need of a non-nutrient boost to help in stress from excess play or weather, use of OxyCal, Agra Rouse and KaPre Kelp Plus will be excellent, highly effective options.

The use of fungicides can’t be over stated as important this time of year but it is always better to emphasize proper, well-balanced, performance nutrient inputs before fungicides. The nutrient packages mentioned not only increase plant metabolism and enhance performance but also promote key enzyme stimulation responsible for disease resistance, wear tolerance and cool weather tolerance.

These products have proven benefits and will help provide excellent conditions in the less than optimal winter months in South Florida.

Please get with your AmeriTurf Sales Consultant or Agronomist for further information and support.