As summer draws to the end and the days grow shorter it is important to turn attention to preparing your turfgrass for cold weather. As daylight hours decrease, turfgrass naturally undergoes a process called hardening off. It’s the plant’s way to defend against winter damage and build tolerance to cold temperatures. A big part of hardening off is the process of storing carbohydrates in cells of the crown and root tissues, increasing cell solute concentration, accumulating proteins and strengthening cell wall structures. The right nutritional program can dramatically improve these processes.

Why does this program work?

A. Better photosynthetic efficiency. The plant builds carbohydrates through the process of photosynthesis, but as daylight length and sunlight intensity decrease, there is less opportunity for the plant to photosynthesize. Foliar-Pak Foundation Forty props up photosynthesis by providing the plant with a generous portion of glutamic acid, which is the building block for constructing the chlorophyll molecule. Foliar-Pak Amperage works to support the process by providing iron and manganese, two nutrients with major responsibilities in terms of improving photosynthetic activity. Better photosynthesis leads to more plant carbohydrate production.

B. Storing/conserving carbohydrates. Amperage also delivers a load of sugars that the plant can absorb and use to support its bank of simple carbohydrates when weather conditions limit photosynthesis. These sugars are an additional supplement to what the plant is building on its own. In a tough winter, every little bit will help. The amino acids in Foundation Forty provide another kicker! They work to improve plant metabolic efficiencies, mainly helping the plant build proteins more efficiently. Helping the plant conserve energy in these processes results in less carbohydrate use and more storage of them. Foliar-Pak 1-0-15 provides the crucial nutrient, potassium, that allows the plant effectively transport and store carbohydrates for later use.

C. Increased solute concentration works as anti-freeze for plant cells. One of the roles of carbohydrates is to increase solute concentration. Additionally, the amino acids from Foundation Forty are rapidly converted to osmolytes and uploaded into the cell vacuoles helping regulate cell water status. And one of the primary functions of potassium is to regulate osmotic relations as well. By fortifying the plant with more organic osmolytes (amino acids), inorganic osmolytes (potassium) and carbohydrates the solute concentration in the cells is maintained so freezing and dehydration is less likely.

D. Strengthen cell wall structure. Foliar-Pak Calcium is a very efficient calcium source. One of the primary plant functions of calcium is stabilized cell walls and cell membranes. This is the first line of defense against disease infection and winter damage. Stronger cell walls and cuticles help the plant tolerate traffic and changing weather conditions more successfully.

Let Foliar-Pak put your turf to bed properly this year with a fall program consisting of Foundation Forty, Amperage, 1-0-15 and Calcium. Apply these products in tank mix solution at recommended label rates. Spray bi-weekly beginning early to mid-October through your snow mold spray. Since our amino acids will enhance uptake of systemic fungicides and PGR’s, you’ll see better performance from them.

Are you looking for a fall rooting program? Foliar-Pak discusses the importance of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium and how their fall rooting program helps roots gain those vital nutrients.