Fertilizer response at planting

I wondered what would happen if I added P and K and dolomite, or withheld those elements, from some turf I planted recently at ATC南店.

tifeagle after 28 days Tifeagle 28 days after planting in coconut coir as 3 cm diameter plugs. Fertilizer was applied at planting, 10 days after planting, and 18 days after planting.

manilagrass after 28 days Greens-type manilagrass 28 days after planting in coconut coir as 3 cm diameter plugs. Fertilizer was applied at planting, 10 days after planting, and 18 days after planting.

One can draw three general conclusions from the condition of these grasses 28 days after planting.

  1. It seems that the bermudagrass responds to added P and K.
  2. It seems that the Tifeagle (it really is, but this is heavy shade so the appearance is like a common type) establishes more rapidly than this variety of manilagrass.
  3. The fertilizer applications to the manilagrass over the first 28 days after planting had little effect on the turf.

I’ll do an update about this in the future if anything interesting happens. I’m especially interested to see what happens with the manilagrass once it starts showing aboveground growth. I expect that to happen pretty extensively in the next two weeks.

For all that I hear about fertilizer not being required or not having a benefit when establishing turf, I think it makes sense to consider how much is in the soil, and where the root system is.

Here’s some Penn A-1 I grew in a calcareous sand with 6 ppm Mehlich 3 P. Soon after germination it showed clear signs of P deficiency.

P deficient A-1 at Cornell Penn A-1 bentgrass grown from seed in a sand with 6 ppm Mehlich 3 P and no P added as fertilizer.

When there isn’t a root system—grass grown from seed, for example, or grown from sprigs—then there better be enough nutrients in the soil right where the roots are. If there aren’t enough nutrients, the grass won’t establish as well as it would if those nutrients were supplied.

Drew’s 1975 article about localised nutrient supply and the effect on barley roots is interesting reading about this. Root proliferation is expected, especially where P is readily available.

Micah Woods
Micah Woods

Scientist, author, consultant, and founder of the Asian Turfgrass Center

Next
Previous

Related