Fertigation is the introduction of liquid nutrients into an irrigation system at the source or main line enabling liquid nutrients to mix with the irrigation water. Fertigation is not a new concept. It has been used in agriculture for over 30 years on all types of crops. Farmers use fertigation through center pivots, sprinkler, and drip irrigation systems across the country. Fertigation was first used on golf courses over 20 years ago by Dr. Max Brown in south Florida. It is now widely used throughout the region and has been accepted and used by superintendents across the country and overseas.
In the early days of fertigation, the superintendent would inject (apply) once or twice a month and apply liquid nutrients like dry fertilizers. This seemed to work well but still produced excessive growth typical of dry application. Now superintendents have proportional injection systems spoon-feed very lightly with each irrigation cycle. This "spoon-feeding" principle is also called Micro-Dosing.
Micro-Dosing is the principle of constant spoon-feeding very light application rates of injected nutrients. Micro-Dosing now enables a superintendent to control the nutrient application rates to plants. He doesn't rely on moisture, or temperature to activate nutrient release. He can increase, decrease, or stop the nutrient application rate. He now is able to feed for color and plant health while limiting and controlling plant growth.
Turf Feeding Systems' line of nutrient injectors are proportional and can have multiple heads to apply different customized nutrients. This is an additional element to the nutrient management program. This patented principle enables a superintendent to dedicate one head to, for example, a nitrogen nutrient and the other one or two heads to other nutrients. This enables him to adjust his (N) rate up or down independent of his other nutrients, and feed for color and health while holding his top growth down.
- Proportional Injection
Proportional Injection is controlled by a flow sensor installed in the irrigation system main line. This will increase or decrease the injection rate based on irrigation flow rate. It will maintain a constant nutrient to water ratio (PPM) throughout the irrigation cycle.
- Micro-Dosing Nutrients
Micro-Dosing Nutrients offer many advantages:
- Controlled growth - reducing labor and equipment use
- Reduced fertilizer use - less leaching, less runoff, less cost
- Reduced succulent growth - fewer clippings and a healthier plant
- Integrated Turf Management
Integrated Turf Management is the tool of the future for landscape managers. Micro-Dosing by injection, when combined with tissue-testing, gives the turf manager the ability to determine the plant's nutrient needs and the method to dial in the nutrient ratio and set the application rate on the injector. It is a benefit to all types of installations, including golf courses�from daily-fee public courses to the prestigious private country club. The public course that never closes has the problem of when to fertilize to maintain turf quality with high player traffic. The private club is concerned with consistent quality of play without excessive growth or disease problems.
Micro-Dosing injection, organic nutrients, and tissue testing are a complete management program for the turf manager.
- New Golf Course Grow-In
One of the greatest advantages of nutrient injection is realized during new golf course grow-in. This method has proven to be the fastest way to establish turf on new courses. Fertigation can shorten the grow-in time by four to six weeks and reduce damage to the newly shaped course. During grow-in, plant growth can be pushed for quick coverage to reduce erosion and runoff damage. After coverage the plant can be hardened by increasing potassium levels and other important nutrients. All this can be done without getting out on the muddy new course with heavy dry fertilizer spreaders which can rut and damage the course. Nutrient injection has become the new tool for grow-ins.