Soon after the summer stress periods end, most turfgrass managers stop soil surfactant applications on fine turfgrass areas. However, there are many reasons to apply soil surfactant in the late fall before the ground freezes. Here are 7 of the top reasons. 

  1. Enhanced rooting. Cool-season grasses grow roots in the spring and fall, and root development needs soil moisture. Late fall surfactant applications will help retain soil moisture and, thus, aid in better and deeper root development.
  2. Prevent desiccation. Wind and cold temps can often stress the open turf canopy with desiccation. Adequate soil moisture with the help of a late fall application will help to hydrate the turf and keep it healthier.
  3. Avoid crown hydration. Soil surfactants will help move water off the surface, thus reducing ice formation at the soil surface and the potential of hyper-cold water from rupturing the crowns of the grass.
  4. Longer residual activity. Late fall applications last longer due to colder temperatures. Soil microbial activity with lower temperatures is less, so soil surfactants will not break down as quickly. Often, applications of stronger soil surfactants will still show residual effects into April and early May.
  5. Firmer soil surface. Some courses stay open, and maintaining a firm putting surface is essential. A late fall application will continue to move water off the surface and provide better playing conditions into the early spring.
  6. Spring green-up is enhanced. Research has shown that late fall applications provide better-growing conditions, have demonstrated earlier greenup, and create a healthier plant in spring.
  7. Aids in localized dry spot control throughout the winter season. Localized dry spot (LDS) often goes undetected in the late fall as symptoms do not always appear on the surface of fine turfgrass areas. Late fall surfactant applications help reduce localized dry spots by maintaining soil moisture at the proper levels.

Applications should be made just before blowing out irrigation for winter, as soil surfactants need to be moved into the profile to perform best. Reach out to your Advanced Turf rep for more information on surfactants.