Nitrogen Efficiency and Turf Management

January 25, 2022

Golf course superintendents are under constant pressure from many fronts. When it comes to fertility, it is paramount to be environmentally and economically sound to produce positive results. Nitrogen is a key source in turf management when it comes to stronger plants and quality playing surfaces, but it also comes at a higher cost than ever before.

A recent report by Lebanon Turf explained that granular urea nitrogen is up 174% per ton. So, maximizing nitrogen efficiency in our plant and soil systems is more critical than ever before.

Urea nitrogen is still the overwhelming driver of the price you pay for a bag of turf fertilizer. A sizeable portion of urea used in the U.S. is imported from other countries and we are at the mercy of how much they will export.

Another troublesome reason that is pushing fertilizer prices higher is natural gas prices. Urea is synthetically produced, and natural gas is the key ingredient in making it.

The takeaway is that the price of fertilizer is not going back down to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon.

The Challenge

Nitrogen inputs in turf grass provide many benefits and challenges, especially on greens. It doesn’t matter whether the variety is Bent, Poa, Bermuda, or Ultra dwarf. However, less optimum management on nitrogen can lead to excess vegetative growth, weak plants, increased abiotic stress, slower ball speed, and increased use rates of PGR’s.

Solutions

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The addition of TurfRx C-85 to a nitrogen nutrition program can give superintendents the upper hand in nitrogen efficiency and reduce the harmful effects of nitrogen leaching.

The ionic charge of soil is a critical element in both plant nutrient uptake and nutrient leaching. All soil carries a negative charge, regardless of its composition or where it is located.

Nitrate-nitrogen (N03-N) the form of nitrogen most typically used by plants, also carries a negative charge. Most of the nitrogen in fertilizers is converted in the soil to nitrate-nitrogen.

Why Does This Matter?

Like the negative ends of two magnets, the soil and nitrate-nitrogen are repelled, causing the nitrogen to be pushed through and out of the soil. This is evident as nutrient leaching leads to nitrogen entering the ecosystem in a potentially harmful manner.

The solution is applying TurfRx C-85 that allows for less nitrogen inputs and complexing of nitrogen in the root system for maximizing plant uptake.

Complex Carbon Chains

Complex carbon chains provide essential benefits related to nitrogen efficiency. The introduction of soluble complex carbon chains provides “microbial food” enhancing microbial activity in the soil and releasing plant ready nitrogen already present in the soil.

Perhaps more importantly, microbes “sequester” free nitrate into their metabolic processes. Put another way, microbes consume the nitrogen, “holding” the nutrient within the root zone until they die, at which point it becomes available to the plant, in a form and location for plant use.

Additionally, complex carbon chains also provide nutrient complexing, interacting directly with applied chemical nitrogen to prevent the loss of nitrogen into surface and ground water, as well as mitigating movement of nitrogen away from the root zone, where it is needed for plant development.

The Science of Redox

TurfRx C-85 by Redox, is the most effective solution for improving metabolic activity, nutrient availability, and soil structure. It is composed of an effective mixture of soluble carbon complex that results in immediate plant, soil, and microbial benefits.

Nitrogen maybe the most important nutrient because it is a component of every plant cell. While plants assimilate nitrogen, key metabolic processes in the plant must occur efficiently for the plant to optimize the value of the nitrogen content. It is not difficult to promote assimilation of nitrogen in turfgrass, but it is often a key limiting factor to achieving optimum conditions, especially when it comes to managing nitrogen inputs on putting greens.

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One of the main benefits of nitrogen is amino acid production that is then converted to protein production in plants.

The chemistry in TurfRx Supreme is specific to the conversion of nitrate nitrogen to amino acids and proteins, creating a healthier plant metabolism. This is one of the most important functions in plants.

The ability of TurfRx Supreme to target and enhance this conversion process makes this material critical to the success of any agronomic turf program.

From a golf course superintendents’ standpoint, the main concern is how to maintain consistent ball speed, while holding good color and plant health. There is an old saying among some superintendents, “I keep them lean and mean”. Just because it rhymes doesn’t mean it is a good agronomic plan.

We all know too much nitrogen can be a problem, and too little causes issues as well. So, this fine line of spoon-feeding nitrogen became the norm. Trying to work this program all season was not perfect, but it began to make sense and better results started to show. But there was room to improve.

Soil types, sand based, push up greens, low organic matter, low CEC, water quality issues, all make a difference when nitrogen fertility is concerned.

But the main factor we misunderstood, is nitrogen metabolism. Plants take up nitrogen, either soil applied through the roots or foliar applied. For the nitrogen to be converted to amino acids and proteins, it needs to have specific soluble carbon molecules and or carbon compounds to do so.

If the plant is weak, under stress, or lacking these specific soluble carbon molecules the plant will store the nitrate nitrogen in what is called the plant vacuole. Once stored, the plant must account for this, and it does so by putting off excess vegetative growth. This vegetative growth creates excess clippings, reduces ball speed, and creates weak cell walls and increased pest and pathogen pressure.

With the addition of TurfRx Supreme in your program, it is designed to move nitrate nitrogen to amino acids and proteins without the excess vegetative growth. TurfRx Supreme is the #1 selling product for Redox in greens programs worldwide.

When it comes to nitrogen efficiency, Redox gives you two products to make the nitrogen you apply much more effective and efficient. Whether it be TurfRx C-85, TurfRx Supreme or both in the same tank, you can manage nitrogen efficiency better than ever.

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