Spring is around the corner and pretty soon the grass and landscapes will be greening up. Prepay letters are going out and plans are being made for which products to use and when for the upcoming season. We will spend a lot of time talking about the benefits of fertilizer with our customers. However, at the end of the day, even I have to stop and ask these questions, “Why do we do all of this? What exactly does fertilizer do?”

We know fertilizer has nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium contained it in, and there is usually some slow release nitrogen of some form in it. Iron or other nutritional benefits may be in it as well. We like to say that we are feeding the turf, but are we? What exactly are we doing?

It may surprise you to know that if you dry down grass clippings and analyze them, only about 6% of the plant’s dry weight is made up of what we spread and spray. So, what makes up the rest? 94% of a plant is carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. We all know that plants make their own sugar, but did you know they also make their own amino acids? That is where the nitrogen from the fertilizer comes into play.

Plants feed on carbon dioxide from the air. They use sunlight to combine the carbon dioxide with the water they take in through their roots and form glucose. Glucose is the foundation they need to grow and be healthy. When we fertilize, the nitrogen we apply is combined with the glucose the plant made to form amino acids. These amino acids are used to make proteins and these proteins are used to make cell tissue and other components, like chlorophyll – you know, the green stuff! The proteins will also help with growth, self-defense, health, strength, and vigor of the plant. Our ultimate desire with using nitrogen and fertilizer is to improve the plant’s ability to manage all of these things and hope for healthy, lush, and problem-free growth (We know that in the real world this isn’t always the case).

Some of the greatest untold stories within Advanced Turf Solutions are happening with our Foliar-Pak line. Recently, I was able to see some of the revolutionary innovation in our pipeline and it is truly amazing! Starting this year, we hope to fortify many of our stocking fertilizer SKU’s with our Armament technology. This technology unlocks the tied-up nutrients that already exist in the soil, turning them into plant usable nutrition. Even better, every particle in the bag will carry this technology.

But we haven’t stopped there. What if we could supply the plant with the specific amino acids it needs, so that it can spend more time doing the things it needs to instead of wasting time and energy making amino acids itself? We are getting back to the science of understanding exactly what happens inside the plant, and unlike any other supplier or manufacturer, we are using what we have learned through the science we have funded to do just that! So keep an eye to the horizon, because from what I have seen, there will be some pretty cool things happening at Advanced Turf Solutions that I hope will revolutionize the role we play in our customer’s lives every day.