What does dormancy really mean? We know that the plant is still active. Even if the leaves are not growing or have lost their green color, many cycles are still active and growth can still be taking place.
With cool-season turf, such as bluegrasses and ryegrasses, foliar growth slows with decreasing temperatures. When the air temperature is below the mid 50’s, top growth basically does not occur. Root growth will also slow with decreasing soil temperature, but growth still occurs as long as the soil is not frozen and there is adequate soil moisture.
Fall fertility has been practiced by sports turf managers since the early 70’s. The use of high nitrogen fertilizer increases stored carbohydrates and with the reduction of top growth, root growth increases dramatically. At this time of year, any practice that increases roots also increases the turf’s potential to survive next year’s stresses.
Fall is an ideal time to use biostimulants. Focus® and Launch® contain plant hormones such as cytokinnins which increase the plant’s potential to develop roots. the use of biostimulants in conjunction with fall and dormant fertility programs allows the turf to increase it’s root system. These same hormones have also been shown to increase potential for photosynthesis. The amount of light that is absorbed by the plant and used to produce carbohydrates increases with the applications of hormones derived from sea kelp extracts.
Fall applications of biostimulants will accent the plants natural ability to store carbohydrates and develop the root mass that the turf will need during next year’s play.