I hope you enjoy my blog on liquid fertiliser v granular fertiliser.
One questions l am often asked are what are the benefits of liquid feeding in comparison to granular feeding, so l thought l would put a few thoughts together.
Based on a brief survey l did l have also answered a few questions from our community below.
Pros for Liquid Usage
More even coverage
Less top growth
Less scorch potential (lower salt)
Little or no washing in required
Easily accessible to the plant, as liquid goes in via leaf stomata.
Rapid response (within 24 hours)
Can be tank mixed with other products ie seaweed, turf tonics.
Less stress on the plant, in nutrient uptake
Product doesn’t interfere with playing surfaces
Can be used to enhance turf colour prior to an important match or tournament
The knapsack/sprayer can also be used to apply herbicides and worm control products (acidifiers), assuming the operator has the relevant spraying qualifications when required
Often used prior to an application of weed control on a football pitch, to assist in the applications success.
Versatile application methods, from ultra low rates (spoon feeding) to recommended label rates
Cons for Liquid
Needs regular applications or effects do not last as long as granular options
More expensive and you may need to own your spraying equipment and the budget to upkeep
Doesn’t always give you the flush of growth, you need in recovering sports surfaces after wear
Higher costs to apply, compared to granular
More time consuming in terms of regular applications needed
Pros for Granular
Applications can last up to 6-8 weeks, for conventional fertilisers and up to 6 months for slow releases products.
Gives the plant more nutrients and contributes better towards the yearly nitrogen requirements of the plant.
Better way of helping the plant recover from turf stress and pitch use i.e. high phosphorus application
Often used ahead of weed control applications on football, to improve the results of the weed control application
Cons for Granular
It takes a lot of watering in, to reach the roots and the plant has to be more active to take up nutrients (1-2 weeks)
Can be leached easier, especially conventional types of fertilisers and especially on sandy rootzones
More potential for plant damage, if spilt or over application
Needs washing in, so ideally applied prior to rainfall, otherwise there is a possibility of temporary scorch.
Poor application practice, missed areas more apparent and harder to mask
A helpful way of thinking about the difference between a liquid and a granular is, a granular is a meal for the plant, where a liquid is a snack and will need a higher input of snacks to make a meal.
Most of the plants feeding requirements should be met, during the peak growing season.
Questions From our Community
Answered by Mark Wilton
Does a 35.0.0 liquid fertiliser mean it’s higher in nitrogen than a 12.0.0 granular ??
(mid range application)
Supplies the plant 20 kg of nitrogen per 10,000(ha)square metres
The granular supplies the plant with 42 kg of nitrogen per hectare.
In summary the granular though appears lower in nitrogen, actually supplies more nitrogen to the plant and will do so over a longer period .
It’s important to remember we tend to use granular fertilisers at around 35g per m2, the strength of a liquid application depends on how much we dilute it.
So the numbers on the bag are not as it may first appear .
Do you need to water liquid fertiliser in, as you do occasionally with granular products ?
Do we need to water in – this is dependent on climatic conditions. It is good practice to only apply fertilisers on a overcast days when the temperature is not to excessive.
So in the above case it would be NO, for a straight nitrogen fertiliser in cool overcast conditions.
You should NOT be looking to apply liquid fertiliser in hot conditions on a stressed plant.
The higher the concentration of liquid fertiliser the stronger the effects, keep to the label and if adding other products ensure you read the label ahead of use, as some may need watering in.
More Question from our Community
Answered by Mark Wilton
Best Conditions to apply a fertiliser?
I would signpost you to the label on this, all the information should be avaible on the bag or at worst on the supplier’s website.
Can you get slow release liquid fertiliser and how long can this last for?
The answer is yes you can.
Slow release liquid nitrogen feeds are available , and the longevity is dependent on the application rate used, i.e the higher the dose rate, the longer the product will stay in the soil.
As a rule of thumb, a SRN product will last up to 6-8 weeks, where conventional liquid feeds are active from 2-4 weeks.
What is Zeolite and how is this useful in liquid/granular feeding?
Zeolite is a natural soil conditioner containing a useful source of slow release plant nutrients.
As zeolite is a basaltic volcanic ash which naturally has a high cation exchange capacity (CEC) which helps prevent leaching by way of holding onto nutrients that the plant roots can access.
The other benefit of using zeolite is it also improves rooting, oxygen exchange and water retention during dry periods.
How do you calibrate a sprayer?
This is really on a club by club basis, based on your on avaible resources in terms of time, budget, application windows and much more.
Cricket (my experience)
When the grass on the square is not as actively growing in mid/late season, liquid is easier to apply and there’s not the same need to water in and l feel confident l won’t scorch the grass.
Time is also precious in mid/late season with fixtures coming fast, when l do get a small window l need something that responds quick, so l reach for liquid.
During spring/autumn/winter when the square is more open to the weather l mostly use granular.
I am full time, l have a budget so l have the choice, but l am aware this maybe not be the case for all clubs.
Most winter sports clubs, don’t have the funds to apply liquids on a regular basis, other than the odd liquid/seaweed treatment but l hope there’s still something in this blog for you.
This blog is to just explore the pros and cons and l hope if nothing else l have just given you/me some very basic knowledge on the pros and cons of liquid and granular feeding.
Liquid Fertiliser V Granular Fertiliser was written by Brian Sandalls with the assistance of Mark Wilton of MWTurfcare- http://mwturfcare.com/contact-us/
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