Reprinted from Agronomy Journal, Volume 76, Issue 6, November 1, 1984, pages 934-938.
Publisher website: http://www.agronomy.org
Journal website: http://agron.scijournals.org
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author David J. Wehner was affiliated with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Currently, March 2008, he is Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo.
The goal of the professional lawn care industry is to provide the homeowner with a dark green weed-free lawn. Members of this industry are interested in techniques to enhance the color of a turfgrass stand in lieu of excessive N fertilization. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the use of foliar applications of Fe alone or in combination with N on the color response of Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.). Iron sulfate or an iron chelate was applied at the rate of 1.1, 2.2, or 4.5 kg Fe ha–1 in combination with either 0, 25, or 49 kg N ha–1 to a mixed ‘Columbia’/‘Touchdown’ Kentucky bluegrass turf growing on a Catlin silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, mesic Typic Argiudoll). Color ratings and clipping weights were determined on a weekly basis until treatment effects were no longer significant. In a separate experiment, both sources of Fe were applied at rates of 1.1 to 72.4 kg Fe ha–1 to Kentucky bluegrass to evaluate phytotoxicity. The color enhancement due to Fe applications without N lasted from several weeks to several months depending on the weather following application. Use of Fe during cool wet periods enhanced turf color for only 2 to 3 weeks and therefore, was considered of limited value. Iron applications during cool dry periods enhanced turf color for several months. The treatment of 2.2 kg ha–1 of Fe from iron chelate was judged to be the most effective Fe treatment because the color enhancement was usually equal to that provided by a 4.5 kg rate of either source but it did not result in any discoloration as was found with the 4.5 kg rate. Combining Fe with the 25 kg ha–1 rate of N resulted in color enhancement equal to that caused by applying 49 kg ha–1 of N alone. The results of the study indicate that combining Fe with N can result in acceptable turfgrass color with lower rates of N. No permanent damage was caused to turfs receiving Fe at rates up to 72.2 kg ha–1 although foliar phytotoxicity was observed.
Agronomy and Crop Sciences