Root Development

March 10, 2022

In turf, one of the most critical key elements to achieving quality playing surfaces is a healthy functioning root system. Turf managers and golf course superintendents around the world know this, but often question how to achieve it.

There are several factors that contribute to producing and maintaining a healthy root system. These factors include soil types, plant species, thatch levels, and climatic conditions. The climatic conditions include soil temperatures, moisture levels, pest, pathogens, and sodium issues that all affect the development of a plants root system.

Considering all these variables when dealing with turf, strong root development is often overlooked. A healthy soil system is a crucial element when working in turf. Providing soil conditions with proper air and water pore spaces, adequate pH levels and controlling sodium levels is essential to promote healthy biology in your soil. Following this, a calcium and phosphate source in plant available form is critical to success.

As a former golf course superintendent, I trusted certain people and products as I developed within the business. Some of the products and programs that I used were very beneficial and others were not. Developing a fertility program is a very personal decision and change can be difficult. When evaluating the playing surfaces on my golf course I was managing I knew the conditions were okay, but I wanted to be doing more. Root systems were inadequate, disease pressure was high, and the turf would decline during periods of abiotic stress. I felt that based on my efforts and inputs the conditions of my golf course should have been better.

This is where Redox products come into play. There are many agronomic principles coupled with Redox products that can improve microbial activity and root development on your golf course.

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TurfRx C-85 is a soluble across a broad pH range, improving soluble carbon availability in all soil types. The availability of soluble carbon across a broad pH range increases soil microbial diversity and soil health.

When it comes to a healthy growing medium, native soil fairways or low CEC sand-based greens, microbial activity and soluble carbon are typically very low. Humic acid, fulvic acid and long chain carbon content complex can chelate metal ions, enhance plant metabolism, microbial activity, soil structure and aggregation. Beneficial soluble carbon is also mother nature’s way of improving soil moisture content.

All agronomic systems require soluble carbon. When nature cannot provide an adequate or consistent supply, TurfRx C-85 provides a steady source of soluble carbon.

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TurfRx Ca is made up of 20% ionic calcium. TurfRx Ca is specifically formulated to provide concentrated plant-available calcium for plant nutrition and soil structure. Redox microencapsulation allows for improved calcium uptake and movement within the plant.

The key part in this product is ionic calcium. When the calcium is applied in an ion form it is immediately plant available, therefore, the nutrient you are applying is not being tied up as a compound in the soil system. The complexing or chelation form of the calcium cation that you are paying for is what makes it plant available or not. In my experience the key to success is applying plant available calcium in ion form increases root development.

The micro-encapsulation technology developed by Redox gives you a calcium source that is complex, soil stable, and plant available in the root zone to enhance root development.

Amino acid technology can give you a calcium source that is protected to be foliar absorbed. However, to keep the calcium cation protected in the soil from tying up is a whole different issue. Chelation is not as powerful in the soil as complexed or micro encapsulated form.

Phosphorus is necessary for many plant functions including germination, photosynthesis, protein formation, ATP production, and almost all aspects of growth and metabolism in plants.

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TurfRx P+ is a high phosphorus fertilizer reacted with soluble carbon and specific L Amino acids to promote lateral root branching. The combination of carbon chelation and amino acids makes it extremely effective for root development in turf, especially on sand-based growing mediums like putting greens.

Like all elements, the complexing and chelation of phosphorus is critical to keep this important nutrient in plant available form. The divalent charge of phosphorus is no different, especially in sand-based greens with low organic matter content. Calcium is the one cation that typically gets tied up with phosphate, but in turf, iron is used far more frequently, and we see it in the soil test data. Phosphate not properly complexed will react or tie up with any positive charged cation in the soil.

In the past phosphate was typically applied once a year in the spring and that was it. Today, low rates of TurfRx P+ at 1 – 1.5 oz/1000 bi-weekly with a properly complexed source of phosphorus are applied throughout the growing season. Superintendents that are committed to this program are growing stronger and deeper root systems with more root hairs. This root development is being achieved through the summer months reducing summer decline and abiotic stress during the stress periods of summer.

Plants manufacture their own food through photosynthesis. However, when plants are under stress during the high heat periods of the season photosynthesis will slow down. Providing a constant supply of plant available phosphorus as part of your program is extremely beneficial. The addition of plant available phosphorus in your program throughout the growing season will protect those root systems and reduce the normal decline of your turf during the high abiotic stress periods during the long days of summer.

Plants burn energy to produce a root system and need calcium in the soil to produce these new cells that create root growth and development.

A healthy root system creates a healthy soil. During photosynthesis, some of the carbohydrates and sugars that are being developed for plant growth are excreted from the roots into the soil. These exudates feed the microbes, bacteria, and beneficial fungi in the soil. A stronger root system provides better uptake of water and nutrients from the soil and releases more carbohydrates and sugars back into the soil. With the use of TurfRx C-85, TurfRx Ca, and TurfRx P+, one will notice soil and root systems active and thriving. After consistently staying on Redox programs, a tremendous shift in overall soil and plant health will occur that will reduce plant stress, disease, and turf decline.

Superintendents who have committed to these simple inputs all say the same thing, “I am not sure what’s going on, but my greens are better.”

In conclusion, the use of TurfRx C-85, TurfRx Ca, and TurfRx P+ will fire up your soil biology. These Redox products will create a healthy root system, and superintendents everywhere will see a shift in both soil and plant health in their turf.

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