Moving Slowly Through the Dog Days of Summer
Posted by Ben Pease, Agronomist, PhD on May 30, 2023
The summer months are a critical time for turfgrass growth and health, and the right fertilization program can make all the difference.
Best management practices direct us to only fertilize as necessary during the warmer summer months, when (cool-season) turfgrass growth slows because of reduced photosynthetic energy production and increased use of energy due to respiration. Thus the recommendation is to apply minimal and consistent amounts of nitrogen to support turfgrass health but not overstimulate growth during stressful weather.
When considering a granular slow-release fertilizer for summer turfgrass fertility, it's important to utilize one that provides extended feeding, promotes a strong root structure, and avoids burning.
The Andersons recently introduced a new granular slow-release fertility product called Poly-Coated Humic Coated Urea, or PCHCU™. Featuring patented CarbonCoat™ Technology, PCHCU (40-0-0) combines a urea core, a potassium humate coating, and a polymer coating to extend nutrient release.
Let’s explore some of the benefits of using PCHCU as a granular slow-release fertility option for summer feeding.
PCHCU provides a consistent release of nutrients over an extended period, up to 10 weeks of feeding. This can help ensure that your turfgrass is getting the nutrients it needs to sustain necessary growth to withstand the stress of summer while avoiding the risk of disease outbreaks often associated with excessive summer nitrogen application.
Maintaining roots during summer is another important agronomic practice. The slow-release and humic components of PCHCU promote development of healthy root systems that are better able to withstand drought and other stresses. University research has shown that PCHCU increases overall rooting response of Kentucky bluegrass by 40% over standard urea (see below). The humic component also helps promote soil biological activity.
Slow-release fertilizers have a reduced risk of burn, which can be a challenge with certain nitrogen sources in the warmer summer months. PCHCU releases, on average, only 20% of its nitrogen in the first 4 weeks after application, preventing the risk of turfgrass burn while also minimizing the chance of promoting rapid growth, which also can cause turfgrass quality to decline (see below).
PCHCU is a versatile, season-long choice for consistent fertility, particularly during the summer months. Application timing prior to nutrient black-out periods is also effective in sustaining turfgrass quality while reducing the likelihood of nutrient leaching.
PCHCU is available as a standalone product and within select fertilizer blends. To learn more about PCHCU and the rest of the CarbonCoat family of products, click here.
Ben Pease is the Agronomist for The Andersons Turf & Specialty business, responsible for research, service, and technical support. Ben received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin, and earned his doctorate degree from Iowa State University. Ben has also served as the Assistant Superintendent for Cherokee Country Club (Madison, WI) and Whistling Straits Golf Courses (Sheboygan, WI). To contact Ben, click here.
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