Tips on Turf and Soil Management: Part 3

Last but Certainly Not Least…Get to Know Your Micros

Here will we discuss micronutrients and how they can help deliver great results in the health of your turfgrass. The sufficiency ranges of micronutrients are measured in part per million (ppm), but nevertheless they are a very important part a balanced turf fertility program.

Micronutrients are sometimes overlooked as the primary nutrients usually take precedence and therefore; are the most well known and advertised in the fertilizer formulation. The main focus here will be on the micronutrients, the role they play in turf nutrition and how to spot a deficiency. The micronutrients below are in order from most to least required amounts in healthy plant tissue.

The Roles of Micronutrients

Iron (Fe) is a micronutrient that is commonly deficient in turfgrass, and one of the easier nutrient deficiencies to diagnosis. Iron plays a large part in chlorophyll production and transports oxygen. An Fe application is a great way to see a quick green up without a surge in growth or the risk of fungus under wet conditions.

Deficiencies are somewhat common in soils with high pH as it limits the availability. Symptoms include chlorosis because the grass isn’t able to produce enough chlorophyll from the deficiency. On closely mowed turf, such as golf greens it will affect the aesthetics. An Fe application will result in a quick green up.

Manganese (Mn) is important as it helps turf consume nitrogen and completes the process of photosynthesis. It is also believed that Manganese plays a role in helping to protect plants from disease.

Deficiencies usually occur in sandy soils with a high pH. A symptom to look for is spotted discoloration on leaves.

Zinc (Zn) is important for the synthesis of plant hormones including auxins that promote turf growth. Zinc also affects the plant’s ability to take up water from the soil.

Zinc deficiencies can result in stunted growth and a poorly developed root system. The leaves may have a rolled appearance, as if the turf is lacking moisture.

Boron(B) is important for the auxin hormone in root elongation and cell wall strength. Boron also assists in the utilization of calcium and phosphate. Correct ppm concentrations of boron influence phosphorus and potassium uptake.

Deficiencies are found in sandy soils with high pH levels. Since Boron is relatively immobile in the soil, plants depend on uniform distribution. Symptoms include thickening, curling and stunted growth.

Copper (Cu) is vital for cell wall strength and acts to speed up plant metabolism. Zinc and Copper functions in turfgrass are very closely related.

Deficiencies in Copper will appear as stunted growth, and the leaves will appear as a dark almost blue tint to them. Copper deficiency are seen in sandy soils with high pH levels and where N, P, Fe and Zn are abundant.

Molybdenum (Mo) – Although it is used in very small amounts, Molybdenum is required for the conversion process of nitrogen into amino acids and proteins. Unlike most nutrients Mo is more available under high pH conditions. Molybdenum deficiencies are quite rare but can be found when the use of nitrate-based fertilizers are used in excel. Turf deficient in molybdendum can resemble that of a nitrogen deficiency (yellow-green and stunted).

Chlorine (Cl) – Chloride moves with water in the soil and contributes to salinity of irrigation water. Toxicity can occur at low concentrations and reduce turf quality as Cl accumulate in the leaf tissue.
Deficiencies in Chloride are very rare.

Product Solutions

BioPro offers three liquid micronutrient packages solutions. Spectrum (8-0-0), Tuff Greens (0-0-13), and Nutrisolve with SeaXtra. Spectrum is designed to provide extended color without any surge in growth, while Tuff Greens promotes stress resistance, green-speed, and wear tolerance, which can be beneficial to Golf Course Superintendents and Sports Turf Managers.

Nutrisolve with SeaXtra is a great choice to correct or prevent a wide range of micronutrient deficiencies without added nitrogen and adds a cytokinin (hormone) element to promote rooting as well.

Please remember that it is recommended to start off with a soil test to determine soil pH and nutrient levels, which will ultimately determine nutrient availability. Soils test are typically offered by public universities for a small fee, I encourage you to reach out to your local cooperative extension for their offerings.

Many of these deficiencies typically occur in sandy soils and those with a high pH. The chart shown will help to visualize what nutrients are most available at the corresponding soil pH level. Keeping the right balance of micronutrients, which are sometimes overlooked, can give your stand of turfgrass the competitive edge it needs to thrive.