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Nutrient Management Research

Good cultural practices such as mowing, aeration, vertical mowing, and topdressing associated with turfgrass maintenance all play a part in turfgrass health. When well managed, turfgrasses grow deep, dense root systems that are better able to handle rough environmental conditions such as drought, shade, temperature extremes, and other adverse conditions. Healthier plants stand up to these stresses and they will have fewer issues with weeds, insects, and diseases resulting in fewer chemical inputs. With fewer inputs applied, there will be less potential for leaching or runoff of fertilizers or pesticides in these areas due to the healthier turf.

Cultural management practices are often species and cultivar dependent and go hand-in-hand with irrigation and nutrient management. When turf is not managed from a holistic approach, pest problems are magnified resulting in more pesticide use. Those who maintain turf — gardening enthusiasts to professionals — need to be properly educated on integrated turf management practices so that they can adopt the best management practices that result in healthier turf.

If fertilizer is applied incorrectly it can harm the environment. Applying too much fertilizer can cause leaching of fertilizer through the soil and into the groundwater supplies. The fertilizer can also run off into surface water. Applying too little fertilizer can result in a lawn without enough root and shoot density, a problem that may allow for leaching or runoff to occur more easily.