• Fertilizer Application

  • Clearly, plants grow in the wild without any help from humans. However, we have learned that plants respond to some fertilizers in ways which we may consider desirable, such as by growing faster or improving appearance. The usefulness of these fertilization outcomes is subjective. For example, faster growth may be desired in one circumstance but may lead to unwanted pruning in another. Improved appearance is important to some and unimportant to others.

    Thus the reason for fertilizing plants should be to supply nutrients to achieve a clearly defined objective, such as:

    • increasing shoot growth, root growth, flowering, or fruiting

    • establishing newly planted trees and shrubs
    • enhancing foliage color and plant appearance • correcting or preventing nutrient deficiencies

    Fertilizer - "Fertilizer" means any substance that contains one or more recognized plant nutrients.

    "Slow or controlled-release fertilizer" means a fertilizer containing a plant nutrient in a form which delays its availability for plant uptake and use after application, or which extends its availability to the plant significantly longer than a reference "rapidly available nutrient fertilizer," such as ammonium nitrate or urea, ammonium phosphate, or potassium chloride. 

     

    • Nitrogen (N) is an essential element in plants and a component of chlorophyll.  Chlorophyll is where photosynthesis happens, thus creating energy for the plant.  When nitrogen is abundant photosynthesis occurs at higher rates, resulting in vigorous plant growth and dark green leaves.
    • Phosphorus (P) is key in root formation, along with setting good flowers and fruit development.  It also increases disease resistance in plants.  On a cellular level, phosphorus helps with energy transfer reactions, and protein synthesis.
    • Potassium (K) plays a key role in the guard cells that regulate the opening and closing of leaf stomata, which is extremely important for water regulation in plants.  This element improves winter hardiness, the rigidity of young stems, and increases disease resistance. 
    • Iron (Fe) Although required by plants in small amounts, Fe is involved in many important compounds and physiological processes in plants. Iron is involved in the manufacturing process of chlorophyll, and it is required for certain enzyme functions. Fe’s involvement in chlorophyll synthesis is the reason for the chlorosis (yellowing) associated with Fe deficiency.
    • Manganese (Mn) is similar to iron in many ways, and manganese deficiency or toxicity is often mistaken for iron deficiency or toxicity. Function: Manganese is used in plants as a major contributor to various biological systems including photosynthesis, respiration, and nitrogen assimilation.

     

    Proper Management 

    The first and best method of weed control begins with proper management practices that encourage a dense, thriving turf. Healthy turf shades the soil so sunlight can’t reach weed seeds ready to germinate. A thick turf also minimizes the physical space available for weeds to become established. Several management practices promote a healthy, dense grass and help reduce the cost of weed control while maintaining the aesthetics of the lawn.

    Proper Cultural Practices

    Proper fertilization, watering, mowing, and pest control are required to produce a dense turf that can prevent weed infestation. If turf is over- or underwatered, over- or underfertilized, or mowed too low or too infrequently, the turf is weakened and the weeds move in. Sharpening the mower blades can reduce turf damage and the chances for weed invasion. It is very important to understand that weeds don’t create a void; they fill a void.