October 2013

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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FieldScience | By Dr. Elizabeth Guertal FORM, FUNCTION, FIT: which nitrogen source is right for you? I t's time to pick a nitrogen fertilizer source for your sports field. How do you make that decision? Advertisements frequently tout nitrogen (N) fertilizer as the "slowest release," "the quickest greenup," or "the most available." Add technical terms such as methylene urea, ureaformaldehyde and controlled-release polymer, and the topic of nitrogen fertilizers starts to get com- 8 SportsTurf | October 2013 plicated indeed. But, it's really not. The basic chemistries and manufacturing processes behind most of our commonly available N sources fall into five to six major groups, and you can sort out the ones you should use (and when to use them) from there. Let's discuss the groups: soluble sources of n that are manufactured from inorganic (no carbon in the source) n sources. Sources of water-soluble N include potassium nitrate (13-0-44, this and all other analyses are always expressed as percent N-P2O5-K2O), ammonium sulfate (21-0-0), and, if you can still find it, ammonium nitrate (34-0-0). [Note: Since people are used to buying the analysis '340-0', some fertilizer dealers now sell a product with a '34-0-0' analysis that is actually created from urea, or it may be a blend of ammonium sulfate and urea. This is not an issue, it is simply a way to provide an analysis (34-0-0) that people are familiar with without having to deal with the legal complexities now associated with the sale of ammonium nitrate.] Any time you need a rapid turfgrass response, be it greening or growth, a soluble material should be in your spreader or spray tank. Soluble fertilizers provide quick turf green-up, which may

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