Ten years ago, when I was a graduate student at Cornell University, I noticed something surprising when the snow melted from the research green. The previous year, I had applied the same amount of nitrogen (N), but different amounts of potassium (K), to this plot of L-93 creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera). The study was designed to investigate different soil testing methods. The surprising thing I saw in the spring of 2003 was the increase in snow mold (Typhula spp.) damage where K had been applied the previous year.
When it comes to fertilizer, more is not always better. What makes sense is to apply the right amount of nutrients. Based on more than ten years of my own research and in collaboration with PACE Turf, I have recently written two documents that explain a systematic way for turfgrass managers growing any grass, in any climate, to estimate just what the right amount of nutrients may be.
The second is What Fertilizer Should I Use? and makes a case study for ultradwarf bermudagrass at Bangkok but again, using the growth potential, and one’s own choice of how much nitrogen to apply, the method can be applied anywhere.
This method makes use of the minimum levels for sustainable nutrition (MLSN) guidelines which have been developed jointly by ATC and PACE Turf and was explained at the Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia conference, held earlier this month in Thailand.
In addition to the aforementioned documents on nutrient requirements, the presentation slides on that topic, and in fact the presentation slides and handouts from all the education material at the conference, are available for download here.
The conference this year had a record attendance of 242 people, from 20 different countries. It is organized by the Thai GCSA on behalf of the Thailand Golf Association. If you ever have a chance to attend, I think you will find it one of the best turfgrass conferences anywhere. There really aren’t many places more salubrious than one of Thailand’s most popular resort towns in March.