|To apply this little fert safely you need to know what and when to apply it. It's all about timing.|
If you read closely on my blog you will learn that the huge reductions in fertilizer on my course have been the result of using soluble source fertilizers, halving my nitrogen rates all across my course, and simply withholding nutrients on my fairways as a Park Grass Experiment inspired experiment. The lack of fertilizer on my fw has nothing to do with the MLSN.
For the first year or two of using the MLSN I applied very little potassium but quickly had to bring the K back into my fertilizer applications as it is one of the nutrients used the most second only to nitrogen in the plant. It also leaches readily which is a big deal in a wet climate such as the one I'm in on the West Coast of Canada.
Yes the MLSN has helped me reduce or entirely eliminate the applications of calcium, phosphorus, and most micronutrients. This has saved me a few dollars here and there but I highly doubt that a significant portion of any fertilizer budget is for these nutrients. If it is I think you should take another look at your fertilizer inputs and needs on your course. By far the biggest fertilizer costs on any golf course will more than likely be nitrogen and potassium, both things that I apply to my greens and tees. The largest area of any course is probably the fairways so any reduction you can make there will have huge impacts on your fertilizer budget. As I said before, I'm only applying nitrogen to my fairways so the savings from the potassium I used to apply are huge.
|Not bad for only nitrogen and wetting agents for inputs on fairways.|
If anything the MLSN has taught me that we don't need as much fertilizer or nutrients as we used to think we needed. It has also helped me understand things such as the park grass experiment. I have been purposely withholding potassium from my native soil fairways for 3 years now. We return the clippings so the losses of potassium from the soil should be minimal on these high CEC soils. I will be testing them this year to make sure.
The reason I'm doing this is to see what effect, if any, this will have on weed populations on my fairways. We haven't used a herbicide on our fairways in at least 15 years and for the most part they are weed free. I guess that all depends on your definition of a weed but overall they are a visually appealing surface that is ideal for golfing on.
Some might see the low overall rate of nitrogen I have been applying to my course as "starving" my turfgrass. The reason I can safely go so low with my nitrogen rates is that I am using the growth potential formula as a guide to help me get into the ballpark for nitrogen rates and timing based on the average air temperatures each week or month. I then use my eyes to adjust based on growth rates and amount of play we are receiving (we have had our busiest winter ever and I've never applied less nitrogen through the winter and the greens have handled the traffic with no issues). The following table shows the average temps for each month and the very rough nitrogen rates I apply.
|Month||Average Temperature||Growing Potential||N requirements (g/m²)|
|Total N requirements per year||11.15|
|Fuzzy grass in the winter despite receiving no fertilizer applications|
|Does this grass look starving?|
|Not starving despite receiving only 2.25# N/1000 sq ft (12g N/m2) per season|