Three numbers representing the ratio of Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium are indicated on the bag. The timely application of the appropriate ratios of fertilizer is crucial to the balance of root growth vs. top growth. High nitrogen rates in the spring and summer force an unwanted top growth surge at the expense of rootgrowth, therefore, low nitrogen rates are recommended. High nitrogen rates in the late fall promote excellent root growth and early spring greening.
Nitrogen Timing is Critical – Highlights from Cornell Cooperative Extension Turfgrass Fertilization Guidelines It is obvious that the timing of nitrogen applications Path_Way1is critical to a healthy turf with maximum stress tolerance.
A lot of “good root growth growing time” can be lost in the spring by heavy nitrogen applications. Heavy nitrogen fertilization during the spring and summer is undesirable for cool-season turfgrass. Lush, succulent growth is produced from heavy nitrogen in the spring, taking the turfgrass into the summer in a soft growth condition in which it is more vulnerable to disease, insects and drought. To avoid this condition, the “late-season” fertilization concept has been adopted. Late-season fertilization is designed to apply nitrogen during that period of the year [late fall] that will favor root growth over shoot growth. For the “late-season” concept to work successfully, low-nitrogen applications must be made during the late spring and summer. Research has shown a significant increase in both root growth rates and root numbers from late-season nitrogen fertilization, as well as extending the greening of the turf later into the fall and winter. Spring green-up will usually occur earlier. Typically, spring color of late-season fertilized turf remains quite good until late May or early June. Spring application of low-nitrogen should be delayed until the late-season fertility response dissipates.
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