Controlled Release Nitrogen Fertility in Ornamentals by Dr. Henry
In the fall, nothing beats the assortment of bright flowers and foliage available from plants such as mums, pansies, and kale. Ornamental kales and other species are grown for their vibrant purple to pink leaf coloration. These colors are largely due to cooler temperatures, but nutrition can play a major roll too. Limiting phosphorus (P) is one way to enhance that leaf color. Similarly, pansy foliage will turn purple in the fall due to insufficient P, which is undesirable. Therefore, it is important to provide sufficient nutrient levels for each species being grown. To keep these plants looking good through the rest of the growing season, one should consider proper fertilization techniques.
With cooler soil temperatures comes a reduction in root absorption of N-P-K and other nutrients. It is essential to keep a constant supply of nutrients available for your fall color, but this can be challenging in many places, where soils tend to stay wet through the fall. The reduced rate of evapotranspiration during cooler weather can make it difficult to irrigate or fertigate without oversaturating the soil, which in turn makes it hard to supply the required fertilizer.
For these reasons, controlled release fertilizers (CRFs) are a great option for fertilizing your fall color beds and keeping plants vibrant and healthy. CRFs work by slowly diffusing nutrients out into the soil, and they only need to be applied once every several months. They come in numerous formulations that can last anywhere from a few months to over a year. We have partnered with Pursell Agri-Tech and are using their innovative coating technology to supply a wide range of CRFs that fit your needs.