Here’s a blog l was invited to write on What l have learnt using liquid fertiliser, shifting from solely using granular.All from a grassroots groundsman point of view. I’m not an expert on fertiliser and I’m not an expert groundsman.
We’ve two squares at a cricket only club providing an intense programme of cricket six days a week all summer. We work to a tight budget, to punch way above our weight.
Weather patterns have changed, hot summers interspersed with heavy rain storms making our squares dry and coupled with poor irrigation, less responsive to granular fertiliser. The inadequacy of granules was illustrated when a good spell of rain failed to water in the feed, equalled the verticutter picking up a good batch of fertiliser that hadn’t been absorbed.
The squares were crying out for a good feed as the sun shone and we were working round the clock with our low water pressure to keep them healthy.
This led to listening to expert groundsmen, who voiced the benefits of liquid, and it became evident this could solve our problems and provide a richer, stronger sward. It persuaded me that we needed to buy a sprayer, cost in this year of difficult budgets was a challenge.
I shopped around and had to raise the bar from my original thinking was around £800, but I wanted to avoid compromising quality and performance. I ended up, thanks to Turfcareblog chat, getting a discount on a Turfguard Pro Plus Mk 2 from Collier Turf Care, this gives a 6ft wide spray and seems like a solid piece of kit with four wheels.
To decide upon the most suitable liquid fertiliser for our situation, I was pointed towards Mark Wilton at MW Turfcare. He advised me to test out the sprayer with water, to determine the spray width and then what area a tank would cover. (The calibration), by walking it across the squares.
Based on my test results and the other information I provided, he recommended a organic liquid fertiliser to apply every four weeks, filling the tank twice with two litres of feed each time. I soon learnt to align the spray nozzles directly down and to only travel with the breeze and not against it.
Measuring the transformation is a hard one, whether it was down to the feed or verticutting or a bit of both or something else, the poa died away soon after the first application. I also wondered whether it was the watering or the feed, the sward became denser.
Perhaps one element we find difficult with granular is dispensing it when the ground is exposed to the prevailing wind, especially during dry spells. Liquid feed is much more targeted with the jets honing in on the surface.
This week for the second time I carried out a liquid feed which I did after and before substantial rainfall, l doubt whether the rich growth is solely down to the rain. As well as the squares, the sprayer will enable us to apply other treatments and if we wish feed the outfield.
A benefit of liquid is that it’s not essential to water afterwards (if done in cool conditions) although it certainly helps, but with a granular you’ve no option summer time.
Cost wise the actual liquid is similar to what we were paying in granular, and where the granular results were a bit hit and miss because of ground conditions, liquid is proving a far better option in terms of both performance and value for money.
I undertook considerable research before progressing with the move to liquid, I was still a tad apprehensive. Now I’m convinced of the immense benefit it’s bringing to our squares,
the toughest aspect of the process of taking on liquid feeding was convincing our club of its value.
Unlike the improving growth, that’s a task I’m continuing to work upon!
What l have learnt using liquid fertiliser By Chris Johnson
If you have any experiences using liquid fertiliser as a grassroots groundsman, then please do leave any wisdom in the below comments box.
If you want to know more about liquid fertiliser vs granular fertiliser , take a look at this blog- https://turfcareblog.com/liquid-fertiliser-v-granular-fertiliser-on-sports-turf/
Please note the views and opinions of our bloggers are just that and for professional advice get in touch with The Grounds Management Association through there regional pitch advisers.