'FERTIGATION' USED IN CITY PARKS FOR TURF GROWTH.
SANTA CLARITA -- Grassy play fields need three things to stay lush: The sunlight's easy to come by, sprinklers provide the water, but spreading fertilizer over acres and acres can take all day.
The solution? "Fertigation."
Santa Clarita parks crews retrofitted irrigation systems in the fall at several city parks, including Central Park, so a small amount of fertilizer can be applied through the water sprinklers, parks superintendent Wayne Weber said.
Now they're ready to start documenting results.
"We think it's a good program; we're excited about giving it a try," Weber said. "We're trying to keep up with the latest technology to keep the parks looking as good as they can. They get tremendous use."
With winter over, the fertigation systems are in action. The expectation is that the turf will be better fertilized because adding nutrients to the irrigation systems promises a steady spread as often as necessary. Another advantage is the fertilizer is instantly absorbed, unlike dry nutrients that can blow away.
"It's generally a more productive way of applying fertilizer in that you apply smaller amounts on a more regular basis," Weber said. "You end up with healthier turf."
Weber noted that city parks are watered overnight so the risk that a child will drink from a sprinkler fitted to spread fertilizer is limited.
"Parks are irrigated after they close, and the grass is dry by morning," he said.
The city Parks and Recreation Department is looking at the need for signs to warn the public from drinking the water. The irrigation systems, he added, are separate from other water supplies, such as park drinking fountains.
The system is expected to be economical, though Weber did not have comparative costs broken down. He did say, however, that a groundskeeper can spend a full day fertilizing the 130-acre Central Park with a commercial spreader.
Fertigation has proved effective in city parks in Colorado Springs, Colo., and in Houston, which began using the process three years ago. Parks maintenance crews in Houston found fertigated grass on sports fields held up better in heavy use than when fertilizer was applied by spreader.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Apr 7, 2007|
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